AllHipHop Staff attempted to get KRS-One’s Top 5 Dead or Alive. Like Scarface, KRS-One appears on the lists of several rappers of note. The challenge of getting his Top 5 proved to be more challenging than anybody imagined. Still, journalist Phalary Long managed to extract some of the Blast Master’s favorite artists and why he doesn’t include the “dead” in his Top 5. His list may seem odd, he’s got the experience and the gall to back every word he says.

KRS-One: I don’t rate dead rappers. I think that’s unfair. Actually, I think it’s a disservice when the number one rapper is a dead rapper. Like when everyone says Tupac is the best rapper. Tupac wouldn’t say he was the best rapper and he wasn’t. Biggie would never say he was the dopest emcee. We used to battle Biggie all day and all night in Brooklyn in SOB’s, in the Palladium, no. No way, no how. Biggie is an icon in the culture because of his contribution. He had his own unique style. That alone gives you points, originality.

Oh, you can win with that off bat but when you say the best, well the best are not really heard. They’re not really heard, like Supernatural. I can’t even say [my Top 5] because I’m arrogant. I think everybody is wack. But then again, I clean that up by saying, I think we all have talent, we can’t be rated. I don’t know how to rate emcees because everybody got there place. If you don’t have your place, you’re not even on the list.

So those that have their place, I could never compete with Kool Keith. If you put me and Kool Keith in a battle, we would cancel each other out. I be coming with lyrical and he would put on a Elvis wig and be Kool Keith or me and Biz, we can go on for days, Biz would not battle me with lyrics, he’s going to start doing the dance and get the crowd wild, you may lose a battle messing with Biz, doing that dance, and he never spit a lyric, but Biz come out and be like, “I’m the emizza-k…” and you did all these lyrics and the crowd is giving it to Biz.

Don’t get on the stage with Doug E. Fresh and think you’re going to battle because he’s not going to say no rhymes. He’s going to be Doug E. Fresh. Rakim don’t battle but let him step on a stage. Emcees are going to be like, “Oh God.” With KRS, I’m in my own class as well. I don’t know anybody really comparing.


KRS-One took a moment to challenge the youth that also strive for greatness.

KRS-One: I will say this, I want young people, to look down on me, don’t look up to me. Too many young people praise me too much. They shouldn’t because if you keep praising KRS, the culture don’t go nowhere. I’m the old teacher. I will bust you’re a**, no doubt but I’m the standard. You’re standing on me. You’re not supposed to be looking up, I’m not the ceiling because you’ll be like, “I’ll never be KRS, I’ll never be like that. I’ll never be… no.” You’re supposed to look at me, like damn, that’s the mountain that I got to climb. Ok, I’m going to climb it. When you climb it, your skills get better and better.