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Nas Names His Top 10 Hip-Hop Lyricists

Apparently the most recent issue of Rolling Stone features 50 artists providing themed playlists throughout the magazine's pages. And for his list, Nas chose to name his top 10 hip-hop lyricists along with a song from each to explain their placement. It's kind of a head-scratcher at times, especially Lil Kim and Rick Ross being on the list at all as well as his choice for a Jay-Z track. But I have to give Nas credit for having Kool G Rap all the way at number three. Too many people, from rappers to critics, have forgotten both G Rap's skills and his influence.


Anyway, here's Nas's list:

1. "My Downfall" - Notorious B.I.G., 1997
-The lyrics are about how he's acing the shadows of death, despite all of his success, and he's giving it to you in a way that makes it seem so real.

2. "If My Homie Calls" - 2pac, 1991
-He's just saying to his boys that he's going to be a friend no matter how big he gets.

3. "Road To The Riches" - Kool G. Rap & DJ Polo, 1989
-The way we're rhyming now? He was already doing it then .

4. "A Bird In The Hand" - Ice Cube, 1991

5. "Paid In Full" - Eric B. & Rakim, 1987

6. "I'm Single" - Lil Wayne, 2010
-I'm recently divorced, so I feel what he's saying.

7. "Tears of Joy" - Rick Ross, 2010
-Ross is at the pulpit here.

8. "The Moment I Feared" - Slick Rick, 1988
-It's cinematic. He's at a hip-hop show and ices this girl who played him, then he's in prison getting violated by some dude. This was unheard of.

9. "Empire State of Mind" - Jay-Z, 2009
-This song is huge. It sounds like Broadway. It's New York's modern anthem.

10. "Queen Bitch" - Lil' Kim, 1996
-At the time, females rappers didn't appeal to the street, but Kim came with the vulgarity, sexuality and gangster shit.

Interesting, to say the least.



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i suppose asking an artist about their influences is a bit passe from a journalistic standpoint, but i find these sort of lists/questions immensely fascinating. they can be a window into an artist's listening habits. and nas comes through in spades here: a mix of the old familiars (g rap, rakim, cube), some "deep album cuts" (biggie, slick rick) and seemingly random cuts like ross and kim. maybe he'd do a firm v 2.0 with ms jones?

/site_media/uploads/images/users/sintalentos/240dan-nishimoto-2.jpg sintalentos

Heh, good point!

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Andrew_Martin/me.jpg Andrew_Martin

Empire SoM for Jay's lyricism is confusing for sure, maybe if I was a new yorker I'd feel differently? Definitely grateful for the reminder to revisit G Rap and Polo


LiL Kim is the Queen of Rap.


STFU *****! Kim is the Queen, "It'll be a murder scene, i'm turning Pink Friday to Friday the 13th"


I feel this list I like Lil Kim is the queen of rap and Big and Pac always number 1


He added Lil' Kim on here because he just wanted to add Biggie as a lyricist twice.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/ivanmitchell/clockwork_bart2.jpg ivanmitchell

***********************K.I.M********************** (Queen*Bee)
often inmitated NEVER duplicated


As we all can see Lil Kim made this list thank god, Kim still in the game and she not going any place from her old stuff to her new stuff, we all love it you know you do, were all still listing to magic stick and asking are selfs how many licks dose it really take! Kim made it okay for us to think sexual and be sexy no matter what the next person says!

So thank you KIMMMY

Bailey Dolce

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