Straight up, I like ill MC's The rappers that I have always gravitated to were the dudes that made me think, "I wish I thought that" or "How the hell did he think of that?" When I crafted my list, that is what I had in mind, my favorite ill MC's. Certainly there are the standard greats from every era (Biggie, Pac, Jay-Z, Nas, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and others like Drake - kidding!), but these are the illest that I like.
In no particular order:
I think I want to start with Q-Tip. Q-Tip is a brother than is definitely underrated in terms of people appreciating his talents. But he fronted one of the best Hip-Hop groups of all times. Furthermore, I have to get him props for offering me and alternative to the normal rough neck rap. Still Tip could rap right along side a rapper such as Busta Rhymes or a newer dude like Lil Wayne. He wasn't a battle rapper, but he held his own for years, solo and with Tribe. On top of it all, you can see his influence in rappers to this day.
Ol' Dirty Bastard
I know this might get some flack, but I really do love these dudes. And not because they passed away. They were the cream of the crop and tragically were taken from us too early. But, ODB was my favorite Wu Tang Member and he's certainly gave the Clan a different look. In fact, he gave them that national crossover look, along with Meth. But, ODB had no limits and he would say lyrics like "I keep planets in orbit" that were so ill and so outrageous. But, he was more than just a zany rapper, he was sharp and offered a great style to complement his lyrics. I still listen to both of his solo albums as well as his material with the Wu.
Sticky Fingaz of Onyx
Now, this brother is definitely one of the best, but went left when he probably should have gone right. But, still he's one of the illest and that holds true to this day. Lyrically, not a lot of dudes can get with Sticky. He truly held Onyx down and I loved how he would anchor just about every song. I hate "what if" scenarios, but I have to say it. If Sticky had opted to go to Aftermath instead of his own situation with Universal, he would likely be standing next to somebody like Eminem right now. It could be said that Stick bodied Eminem on "Remember Me?" from the MMLP! His solo album was criminally overlooked and classic in the eyes of many.
Time tends to wear down the mind and people tend to forget what people have accomplished in their life and that long path they have traveled. So, lets take a trip back to that Slim Shady EP. Before Dr. Dre and all the Interscope hype. Eminem was an ill White kid from the Detroit Area. Dude was spazzing at all the battles, he did work with artists over at Rawkus, the Outsidaz and he actually made his own way until he got the attention of one Andre Young. Now, through the years, Eminem has continued to represent all that is great (and probably horrible) in Hip-Hop, but he's always done it lyrically and creatively. His Marshall Mathers LP can pretty much stand against any album in the Hip-Hop history and he's got a pretty impressive catalog.
Now, Busta Rhymes is a bit of a different dude on this list. I typically gauge rappers off of their albums, but with Busta, I don't. I look at him as the master of "showing up." I don't think you can name an appearance that Busta showed up to and didn't kill it. You can put him on just about any track, from any region with any tempo and he's going to kill it. Now, that's what being an emcee is all about. Furthermore, it is highly likely that Busta is going to steal the show - and I mean the live show. The other part about Busta I want to mention is that he's always been a larger than life character, from his personality to his clothing to his musical style. Furthermore, Busta has managed to stay relevant for so long that it puts him in the same world as other greats like Jay, Nas and LL Cool J.
THE SIDE BAR....
Shout out to Scarface. Shout out to Big Pun. Shout out to Will Smith. Shout out to Ghostface. Shout out to Andre 3000. Shout out to Hip-Hop.