I believe that Rick Ross would be among the G. O. A. T. emcees by now, had he not been a former corrections officer. Say what you want about “The Biggest Boss,” one thing you cannot deny is, he can rap. Rick Ross raps on a stratospheric level. From the quality of his body of work, he may eventually break into the conversation of G. O. A. T. emcees although the C. O. scandal has devastated his legitimacy. I think he is! Ross is street as hell. But, for reasons of argument, we will exclude him from the list. We will focus on J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and others.
Remember the guy that was still rocking Jhery Curls in the 90’s? Back when Hip Hop was sweeping Rock
A G. O. A. T. emcee list must be modified periodically even though passions fly whenever the topic comes up. At one point, the G. O. A. Ts, were: Grandmaster Flash, Kurtis Blow, Run DMC and L. L. Cool J. Another time the G. O. A. Ts. Were: Rakim, MC Lyte, Ice Cube, Queen Latifah, KRS One, Ice T., and Big Daddy Kane. They gave way to the Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Biggie, Scarface, Nas, Jay Z, Outkast, Lil Kim, Busta Rhymes, Foxy Brown, Wu-Tang, Lauren Hill, Def Squad era. Then came the Big Pun, DMX, Eminem, The LOX, Lil Wayne, Eve, Ludacris, Trina, Missy Elliott, 50 Cent and Fabolous era. Then came Jeezy, T.I., Kanye West, Gucci Mane, Kid Cudi, Rick Ross, etc.
Since then we’ve been skeptical at best, of new emcees. Today, things are different. We applaud when someone is trapped in the 90’s or 2000’s lifestyle. New Skool rappers and Hiphoppas in this mainstream are often said not to measure up to the sacred standards of Hip Hop Kulture. They are called derogatory names like, “the Internet generation,” with “Twitter fingers,” who get their information from Google. In this generation, it is not only cool for men to wear women’s clothing it’s okay for them to be openly gay.
This 2017 generation is continuously blamed for ruining the Kulture. The accusation is: 1) they don’t know their history; 2) they are disrespectful to the legends that preceded them; 3) go too far in remodeling the moral fabric of society; 4) have so low an attention span that they receive their news from Kulture outsiders like TMZ. Some even go on to call them soft, laugh at their talent, etc.
Who the G. O. A. Ts. are, will depend on the specific era that we decide to talk about.”
From Snap to Trap, many Hiphoppas from the Old Skool have said the New Skool should not even call what they do Hip-Hop. Where it would be cheesy to think, dress, or live in any past glory, today, it is a sign of being real. The older guy with the 90’s swagger who listens to Old Skool Hip Hop is not cheesy like the 60’s or 70’s guy who was still into Disco music in the 1990’s.
Our, the 1990s generation, discredited the style that existed before us and we are discrediting the ones that came after us. 1993 was 24 years ago, 1998 was 19 years ago. However, you’ll find that most still want Hiphoppas to rock by that code. But, excluding Ludacris, 50 Cent, Nelly, Gucci Mane, The Game, Jeezy, T.I. And some others, most of the rappers who arrived after the year 2000 are not even considered emcees.
Drake took a hit to his spit shine legacy when Meek Mill tried to prove that he may not be original. Now everyone is watching how many accents Drake speaks with. Up comers like Tory Lanes and XXXTentation have accused the 6 God of swagger, lyric or song jacking. And we also have a situation where there are many legends from the 90s who made their mark with a song or no more than two albums.
Nas became a legend with his “Illmatic” album. However, Tupac though he had hits like “Keep Your Head Up, ” did not come into his own until he released “Me Against The World.” Yet, a lot of Hiphoppas see his first two albums as classics. “Reasonable Doubt” became a classic much later in Jay-Z’s career, and Snoop Dogg set a new record with “Doggie Style.” Sadly, today, the people are divided. What older guys consider garbage is what young cats cannot get enough of. That’s why when Kendrick Lamar dropped an album like “Damn,” he is quickly solidified in the Top 10.*