For the Top Ten, we’re gonna switch up the format a little bit. We’re gonna jump from groups of five to groups of two, since this is the creme de la creme of rhymers, we figure these ten men deserve a little more love. If there was a hip-hop Hall of Fame, these would be the first entrants.

Also, make sure you check out the rest of the list, with the most recent entrants posted here (you can backtrack through the entire list from there.)

10. Kool G. Rap

Representing: Queens

Why do some of the best rappers have speech impediments? Kool G. Rap didn’t let a lisp and some occasional Erick Sermon-esque mealymouth action stop him from being one of the most dependable and hard-hitting emcees of his day. You’ve got to be nice with yours if you can get on a cut like “The Symphony” and outrap a cat like Big Daddy Kane (the rumor is that when the song was recorded, G. Rap rhymed for so long that the tape eventually popped.) G. Rap was also a lot more versatile that a lot of people gave him credit for-jumping from earnest social commentary (“Erase Racism”) to sort of an East Coast spin on West Coast gangsta rap (“On the Run”) to sex rhymes that could rival luke (hey didn’t Polo, his DJ, go on to work with Ron Jeremy?) Highly influential and unquestionably dope on the mic (outshining often mediocre production), the Kool Genius of Rap is the perfect emcee to kick our Top Ten off with.

9. Nas

Representing: um, Queens!

Part of me feels as though I should have Nas higher up on this list, then I’m reminded of Jay-Z’s scathing critique of him on “Blueprint 2” and remember that, occasionally, Nasir Jones is all style and no substance. He’s also (like many emcees on this list) a victim of being a little too enthralled with his dopeness to make good records. When he’s not on, he’s still a solid technical emcee. When he’s ON, my God. People better hit the deck-or at least hit the record button on the tape deck (see what I did there? Ha!) Maybe it’s a testament to his talent that he came out of the gate with more expectations than just about any rapper before or after, and that he’s met those expectations as often as he hasn’t.

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