The 10 most unappreciated emcees in hip hop

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 11-06-2011, 10:17 AM         #1
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s7venwords 
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The 10 most unappreciated emcees in hip hop
 

 

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In hip hop there is often talk of who the greatest rappers of all-time are. Unfortunately, that list isn’t gauged solely on skill. Rather, the so-called greatest rappers are shoved down our throats for a variety of things that have less to do with lyrical ability and more to do with commercial appeal. But then you have those emcees that are often forgotten about when the topic of great emcees comes up. These are rappers who have superb lyrical ability but for one reason or another are criminally slept on. So the good folks of TheWellVersed got together and we argued about who the most unappreciated lyricists are. We had a massive list of that we had to chop down to ten rappers. This isn’t a G.O.A.T. list so don’t ask questions about where Jay-Z is at. This list is all about those whose lyrical capability far too often goes unnoticed. And before you say “I’ve always thought such and such was dope, so how is he unappreciated,” remember that just because you like them doesn’t mean everyone else does too. In the case of emcees like Bun B and Redman, they don’t get enough credit for what they have accomplished on the mic. So, without further adieu, TWV presents The 10 Most Unappreciated Emcees in Hip Hop.

Black Thought

Helping to spearhead one of the most respected and praised groups not only in hip-hop, but in the music dominion alone, The Roots, Black Thought is a living legend amongst us mere, unworthy mortals. Never once compromising lyrical intricacy, imperative social and political content, or ingenious artistry, Thought is oftentimes skimmed over rather than awarded his more-than-appropriate accolades. You probably won’t hear him making “that mother-ucker Hammertime,” but he’ll do you one bar better; Got soul like afro-picks with black fists/Leave the crowd drippin’ like John the Baptist. Give that man his just due props. – Marissa Wallace

Pharoahe Monch

Who knows what commercial heights Pharoahe Monch might’ve tap-danced on if not for that sales-crippling label-conundrum that ensnared the Queens super-lyricist those eight years between 1999‘s critically acclaimed, Internal Affairs and 2007’s supremely underrated, Desire. Throughout his career, at his best, he arguably out bests the best, or at least beat the best to the punch. Monch’s complex, multi-syllabic rhyme schemes are littered all over 1991‘s Organized Konfusion (with mic partner, Prince Poetry), predating Eminem by half a decade. His masterful verse on “Stray Bullet” — where he improbably personifies the travels of a bullet — dropped two years before Nas‘ “I Gave You Power” and Pac’s “Me And My bi*ch,” introducing a fresh flip on the art of the extended metaphor. And Andre 3000‘s seemingly limitless array of styles and cadences just might be in a league of its own if not for Mr. “Get The fu*k Up!” Monch is one of few emcees that can seamlessly transition from Soul Train to Chinese High-Speed Rail Train; conscious to raucous; nostalgic to unimaginable — dismantling any backdrop, without ever sacrificing an inch of authenticity. If skills sold, Jay-Z said he would lyrically be Talib Kweli. If that’s the case, then Pharoahe Monch would be Warren Buffett. – The Company Man

Phonte

You’re probably wondering who’s sleeping on Phonte? And at first glance, we were too. After a trail of memorable lines that stretches a mile long and a Grammy nomination for his work with The Foreign Exchange, rapping Tigallo is still considered “too intelligent” for Black Embarrassment Television. To add insult to injury, singing Tigallo still can’t much love from the establishment. It’s cool for fans to have a best kept secret, but every now and then you find yourself rooting for an artist to succeed. Phonte is the guy we’re pulling for. – Anthony Springer Jr.

Ras Kass

Ras Kass just can’t catch a break. The beleaguered, embattled MC is sometimes so good that you can’t help but wonder how he never made it. On his 1996 debut, Soul On Ice, the Kass bared the whole of his soul spitting gems like, “In eighty – one I remember the night/ I covered myself with baby powder, so my black a.ss could be light/ Cause God is White and Bo Derek is a ten/ I hate my black skin/ It’s just a sin to be a n*gga.” But, rap was ripe then for fun, egocentric rap as the late 90′s saw some of Hip Hop’s greatest sales numbers. The insecurities that Ras Kass talked so deftly about though, there wasn’t an audience for at the time. If so, and sans the major label disputes that halted his third album, Ras Kass might be on raps de facto top 10 list. He’s still around though, making some of the best music you’ve never heard and almost 15 years after his debut he still spits incredible sh*t. Matter of fact, go to his bandcamp right here and get some help with some of those struggle raps y’all have been working on. – Andre Grant

Brother Ali

As part of the independent heavyweight label Rhymesayers, it should be no surprise that Brother Ali is a talent worth spotlighting. His voice and delivery is unique, filled with a soulful spirit, and overflowing with unique content of substance and value. Despite doing tracks alongside people who have a bit more mainstream appeal, such as Joell Ortiz and Freeway, Ali still hasn’t made it to “household name” status. He has certainly earned his respect throughout the underground, but with his obvious passion, lyricism, and subject matter worth listening to, it’s surprising Brother Ali’s name isn’t more widely recognized. – Amanda Bassa

Redman

“Just another blunt-talking emcee.” A comment I hear quite frequently whenever I make the notion of Reggie Noble cracking my top 10. I’d also be lying if I said that Redman is on some deeper-than-rap raps, but there’s something remarkably raw about this emcee that is unmatched by any other emcee. He turned heads with EPMD as he gave one of the most memorable guest verses of the early 90′s (“Head Banger” off of EPMD’s Business Never Personal). He has 3 classic albums, with his sophomore effort, Dare Iz A Darkside, being one of the best hip hop projects of 1994. Often, we find Red going shot-for-shot with his partner in crime, Method Man, and this also developed the more comically known persona that released Doc’s Da Name and Malpractice. It’s hard to say those LP’s lived up to what his first 3 did, but he developed different personalities (consistent with the theme of Whut? Thee Album and Dare Iz…) as his career took on other roles. So, how is he unappreciated? Fact is, many hip hop listeners fail to take Redman seriously. They see the How High or Method & Red actor and fail to pay attention to the fire-spitter on songs like “Noorotic” or “Da Goodness,” the genius storyteller behind the “Sooperman Luva” series, the creative mind behind “I See Dead People,” and the ghetto comedian on “I’ll Bee Dat” and “Let’s Get Dirty.” Throw in countless show-stealing guest appearances alongside EPMD, the Wu family, and Busta Rhymes, and you have an emcee that is certainly worthy of praise. – Sean Deezil

Big Boi

Very few artists can make you dance on one track and make you think on the next—and still be overlooked. Sure, nobody of sound mind will dispute OutKast’s place among hip hop’s elite—but it’s easy to forget about Daddy Fat Sacks when he’s next to the lyrical prowess and eclectic personality of Andre 3000. It was Andre’s single, “Hey Ya” that propelled Speakerboxxx/The Love Below to diamond status and it’s often Three Stacks who comes along with the show stealing verses. If you’ve heard Sir Luscious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty, you already know what we’re talking about. We’re just waiting on everybody else to catch up. – Anthony Springer Jr.

Cee-Lo

Cee-Lo has been getting mainstream praise for his singing voice in lieu of songs like “fu*k You” and “Crazy” with Gnarls Barkley, but the Soul Machine has his share of rhymes as well. The Goodie Mob co-founder often gives a melodic delivery to his bars, but his lyrics are undeniable. On the Goodie Mob LPs and his first two solo albums, Cee-Lo hops between braggadocio, spirituality, and relationships from song to song while making beats from the likes of Organized Noize, The Neptunes and Timbaland sound even better. Need further proof? Check “Evening News,” where he blesses an unconventional DJ Premier soundbed. – William E. Ketchum

Posdnous

You’re more likely to catch Posdnous with a prostitute than you are to find him on regularly published “Top 10 Emcees” lists. Within De La Soul’s often undervalued and massive discography are countless gems that not only display how underrated the group is, but how overlooked Posdnous (aka Plug One) is. Here’s the thing about Pos, you always know what you are going to get—quality product. In fact, he’s so good at constantly delivering top-notch emceeing that whenever he spits, it becomes something that we as hip hop listeners pretty much expect to be awesome. He has minimal flaws, if any, and though De La Soul started off with the Daisy Age mentality, Pos in particular became a lot more polished, technically sound, and lyrically focused touching both the bright highs and dark lows of life. A wordsmith spitting poetry to the masses, Pos displayed remarkable examples of emceeing in every stage his career. Whether it was “blunt” story-telling on “Say No Go” (alongside another criminally underrated emcee, Trugoy), an introspective biography of self on “I Am I Be,” societal outlook on “Trying People,” or even just flat-out amazing raps on “Rock Co.Kane Flow,” Pos has it all and does it all, but rarely gets noticed for it. It’s really never too late to pay closer attention, folks. – Sean Deezil

Bun B

Bun B is your favorite rapper’s favorite rapper, but for some reason the general population still doesn’t recognize him as a household name. Bun’s lyrical prowess has been slept on for years, especially during the UGK years when he rode shotgun with the charismatic Pimp C. While Pimp was the flash, Bun was the backbone; a skilled emcee who combined a trademark delivery with wordplay and a knack for story-telling. Bun can flat out rap his a.ss off, but it took a cosign from Jay-Z in the form of ‘ Big Pimpin’ for people to notice what he’d been doing for years. And yet he still isn’t appreciated as a lyricist and he should be. – Nene Wallace Reed

What unappreciated emcee should have made this list
Lupe Fiasco
Chino XL
MF Doom
Crooked I
Slug
Murs
Sean Price
Immortal Technique
J-Live
Jean Grae


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 [The Tens] The 10 Most Unappreciated Emcees In Hip Hop | The Well Versed

202 comments for "The 10 most unappreciated emcees in hip hop"

 6 years ago '09        #2
thegoldenhero 3 heat pts
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Masta Ace should have been added but that is a good list
 6 years ago '07        #3
KnicksLost 17 heat pts17
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Is mos def appreciated?
 11-06-2011, 10:23 AM         #4
s7venwords  OP
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 thegoldenhero said:
Masta Ace should have been added but that is a good list
Word, a big influence to Eminem.

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 6 years ago '07        #5
1LynguisticMind 177 heat pts177
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if were talking Industry Appreciated and Award show respected its TECH.

Brother Ali is a potentiol GOAT imo
 6 years ago '10        #6
Mocking Mind 2 heat pts
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No Masta Ace?
 11-06-2011, 10:30 AM         #7
Karamu  OP
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 thegoldenhero said:
Masta Ace should have been added but that is a good list
was just about to put this, Disposable Arts and Long Hot Summer are amazing
 11-06-2011, 10:31 AM         #8
Karamu  OP
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and great to see some Big Boi appreciation, 2 great solo albums and a classic catalog with Outkast
 11-06-2011, 10:33 AM         #9
BWS Soldier  OP
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Slug should definitely be number 1 on that list. Cage and Aesop Rock make it too.
 6 years ago '11        #10
Rotza 
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Nobody feels like AZ got snubbed? :wtf:
 11-06-2011, 10:53 AM         #11
big blak afrika  OP
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talib kweli he got 3 classics the blackstar album the 1st reflectIon eternal album and his solo debut quality. Plus he's never made a bad album.
 6 years ago '05        #12
sixmillion007 1 heat pts
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Definately would co sign Masta Ace, I like Cormega so he would always get a mention from me.
 6 years ago '09        #13
Arob 20 heat pts20
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Lmfao at bun b
 6 years ago '11        #14
Grizzab 11 heat pts11
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I was gonna come in here mentioning Big Boi.
 6 years ago '10        #15
Ant McQueen 16 heat pts16
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Not mad at this list at all.
 6 years ago '10        #16
Mocking Mind 2 heat pts
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 ballergenetics said:
I've never heard a masta ace album
 6 years ago '09        #17
thegoldenhero 3 heat pts
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 ballergenetics said:
I just downloaded disposable arts...
we can't hear everything bruh. we all sleep on a certain artists from time to time. their's too much music out there not to.

hold up i thought you was joking when you said you never heard Masta Ace...
 11-06-2011, 11:23 AM         #18
Cowboys All Day  OP
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Canibus and AZ???????????
 11-06-2011, 11:27 AM         #19
big blak afrika  OP
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e-40 is under appreciated.
 6 years ago '05        #20
THEINFAMOUS 19 heat pts19
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Cormega*
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