Dear Billboard ‘greatest’ is an overstatement when it comes to your list of ‘Greatest Rappers of All Time’. The release of this article made on, November 12, by writers, Steven Horowitz and Alexander Gale, left me not only seeking answers but justice as well; this is treason, I am convinced!
Billboard you had me at Biggie but definitely lost me at Lil’ Wayne making this list and not Tupac Shakur, who is one of the leading pioneers in hip-hop, and this is not opinion, these are cold hard facts. To start ‘greatest of all time’ should have given your writers a clue on the depth of those words and as to who it should have rightfully been reserved for. RSVP’s such as Tupac Shakur, Scarface, KR-S One, LL Cool J and Big Pun, and I can go on and on. All who, for some odd reason, did not measure up to Lil’ Wayne according to Horowitz and Gale. *Insert eye roll here*
Second to this, to include semi-fresh faces in the hip hop game such as Kendrick Lamar and not the icons he was initially inspired by adds to your treachery, and I love me some Kendrick! He has a long road to travel down before he can be RSVP’D- ahead of hip hop pioneers, as one of the greatest rappers of all time. Furthermore, to include Kendrick and not mention Drake or J. Cole, who have equally taken hip hop by storm, makes this list seem further uneducated.
I am curious to understand what angle or theory Horowitz and Gale were aiming for here; Shock? Controversy? Passionate rage? If all three, well congratulations, the tide of this wave will go down in hip hop history as all three. What troubles me further about this list was Horowitz and Gale’s explanation on how they managed to draw their conclusion; “We’re ranking these folks as emcee’s not artists.” I’m sorry, what? According to every definition under the term ‘emcee’, an emcee is defined as someone who presents performers, speaks to the audience, entertains people and generally keeps the crowd moving.
Interesting because last time I checked Tupac, LL and Pun are still being looped on every radio station during their ‘Hip Hop’ hour play and still draw a crowd to run out onto the dance floor, reciting lyrics in ridiculously loud volumes. So how didn’t these pioneers meet Billboards' expectations?
If I had it my way I would give credit where it’s due; to hip hop pioneers, who paved the way for artists such as Kendrick and Lil’ Wayne themselves. In terms of greatest of all time, I would measure their greatness by how relevant their music is today in an era of revolutionized hip hop. This, should have played a factor in the compilation of this list.
If I could redo this list I would include artists who gave some of the hottest albums, flows and rhymes in the hip hop game such as:
I respect every artist that has been inspired by this music genre and I don't doubt the talent of the emcee’s Billboard included on their list; however, when it comes to the greatest of all time the ones who created growth, for not just the music but culture of hip hop itself should have been given the recognition they not just deserved but rightfully earned through their raps, flow, production and overall energy.