The hip-hop nerd strikes again. Here, he writes about the rappers who’ve influenced the game the most.
1. LL Cool J. Sex Symbol? check. Great MC in his time? Check. Top 40 ready? Check. The blueprint for the modern day hip-hop solo star started with the kid from Farmer’s Blvd. He was a sex symbol before Tupac and Biggie, and had hip-hop beefs before 50 Cent. The first potent blend of matinee idol and MC started with this guy.
2. Ice Cube. He was the FIRST rapper who WASN’T from New York to show that you could kill the game and not be from the Big Apple. Not just the benchmark for West Coast excellence, he’s the forefather of Snoop, Tupac, Big Boi, Andre 3000, T.I., Lil’ Wayne…anybody who raps and who’s not from the East Coast owes a a debt to ‘Cube.
3. Run (Run D.M.C). His animated, nimble rap style was the most amazing thing in Rap music from 1982 to 1986. His booming voice was an instrument that influenced possibly %90 of Gen-X hip hop heads to rap. We all were guests in Run’s House.
4. Tupac. It wasn’t his Thug image. N.W.A. did that. It wasn’t his sex symbol status. LL and Big Daddy Kane macked already. It was ‘Pac’s willingness to be the first MISUNDERSTOOD Rap hero. He actually lived to be…flawed. That’s what made Tupac special.
5. Notorious B.I.G. Let’s face it. New York in the early ’90’s needed a star. Bad. enter Biggie Smalls. His hustler image, combined with his charm, made him a huge star, but also created an archetype that…really hasn’t changed. The flossy Don still dominates hip hop (or hip POP) imagery and airwaves. (Rick Ross, Jay-Z, etc…..)
This article originally appeared at Examiner.com.
Photo – w:User:Hudgons/Wikimedia Commons