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.