Billboard Magazine has been around just about as long as the music industry, and they don’t hold as unnaturally high an opinion of themselves as the dicks at Rolling Stone, so they got that going for them. Billboard’s most famous contribution to music might be their weekly Hot 100 chart, which uses sales, radioplay, streams, etc. to determine the most popular songs in the nation.
Today though, Billboard made headlines for another list: their picks for the Top 10 Greatest Rappers of All Time. Curious yet? Let’s take a look.
10. Lil Wayne
I like that Weezy is here. This sets the tone for the list and tells the “I only listen to real hip hop” crowd that it can go fuck itself.
No doubt he’ll be on this list in a few years, but this might be a little soon. Adding Kendrick to the list makes me think that Drake should probably be on here somewhere too.
Ghost is good, but is he really better that Method Man or ODB? I feel like this was just a lazy way of representing The Wu without getting into that whole separate debate.
7. Lauryn Hill
Okay, “Lost Ones” is a banger, but how many of her songs is Lauryn actually rapping on vs singing? Wait, is that why Drake isn’t included?
6. Andre 3000
Yeah, I’m with this one. “ATLiens” is still in a ton of my playlists
A safe choice. Illmatic legendary etc etc.
There’s a whole generation of music writers waiting quietly for me to speak on this so they can write a 2,000 word think piece about how the younger generation aren’t “students of the game” or whatever, but I don’t think Rakim’s music has really stood the test of time. I mean, I own Paid In Full but I can’t think of the last time I’ve actually listened to it. I’d move him down the list, but still keep him on it, for the simple reason that rap wasn’t nearly as good before he put his stamp on it.
One of the most technically skilled rappers of all time, and the most commercially successful. Those two things are enough to put him on this list, even if I’d outgrown most of his shit by the time I was no longer afraid to talk to girls.
2. Jay Z
I agree with Jay being on this list, but part of me thinks that Billboard was afraid that if they put him outside the top 3 he would just buy the magazine and fill every issue with family photos of of Blue Ivy
1. Notorious B.I.G.
Biggie stands the test of time. “Big Poppa” comes on at the bar and gets everyone feeling the same way it did back in ’95. Not including him would be like not including Tupa- Wait a minute….
I’m not sure what criteria they were using here in not including him, but I will give Billboard credit for having the balls to decisively say that Biggie is that much better than Pac. Even if you disagree, it’s better than the critics who just stick to the norm and ritualistically put them in adjacent spots. For that, Billboard, you get a +20 score boost. Now, back to never reading you.