Within Hip Hop culture, determining one’s Top 5 is a debate that will seemingly continue forever. So, with that being said, I’ve asked artists to share and justify their Top 5 selections…
L Martin – Top 5 Rappers
“When I first started listening to Hip Hop music, it was the smooth lyrical delivery and smart play with words that made me fall in love with rap first. Jay Z was one of the first rappers I ever heard that actually had me listening word for word and not just singing along to the hook or nodding to the beat. People are used to it now that they just see it as the norm to hear a sick Jay Z verse, but the actual art he has mastered; of having a conversation, painting a visual image, using metaphors and double/triple entendres and all on a commercial/hit single is regularly overlooked.”
“Big Pun has one of the smoothest, sickest flows in history. I have always been amazed by how he put so many words together in one line and his overall rhyming schemes. He is always overlooked when people talk about the best lyricists to ever do it, but he is definitely in my top 5.”
The Notorious B.I.G.
“Biggie, along with Jay Z, was another major eye opener for me when listening to Hip Hop music when I was younger. He has a way of narrating a story through his own perspective, using the tightest flow that makes me feel like I understand everything he is talking about, even if I haven’t lived through it myself personally. He is also one of the main reasons I rap with no restrictions on any explicit language I use, and never care if I offend anyone, even people close to me. He always said it exactly how it was, but never unnecessarily, sometimes it just needs to be said exactly how it is. One of my favourite lyrics ever is in the song ‘Things Done Changed’ where he says, ‘Shit, my momma got cancer in the breast / Don’t ask me why I’m motherfuckin’ stressed, things done changed’.”
“As much as Jay Z will always be my original favourite rapper, Nas has to be the BEST storyteller there has ever been. My favourite thing about Nas is that if you follow his come up and read up on the old school rap or hood stories, everyone talks about him as a lyrical legend depicting tales and using words way ahead of his time. I feel like the fact he was never the biggest rapper commercially adds to his legendary status because in a way he has always remained part of the streets.”
“Every time I talk about Big L, I wonder what could’ve been. He had so much swag before we even knew what swag was. His flow was flawless but he added an element of humour into it as well, which taught me a lot about how to make people laugh with lyrics and not always be so serious. Big L was the truth, the real definition of a street rapper, from battle rapping to freestyles to songs.”