The greatest rapper of all time


Tyler Macenko

Arguably some of the greatest rappers of all time

It’s pretty simple. All the real rap legends have been able to combine hard-hitting lyrics, an incredible flow, and an unbelievable delivery. They have to stand out from their competitors and pave their own road too longevity with music that speaks to the masses. Hip hop became the most popular genre for the first time during 2018 according to I caught up with Elder’s most qualified “rap connoisseurs” to get their take on who has the title as the greatest in the game.

First, I reached out to Dave Brown, a senior who’s been listening to rap since he was eleven. Brown says, “Lil Wayne, is without a doubt the greatest. Every song he drops is a straight ‘bar fest’.”  He continued, “Many people will say Eminen, but Lil Wayne takes it that next step further. And what he’s done behind the scenes with Young Money/Cash Money goes to show that he’s not just a rapper, but a business mogul.”

I then asked Brown what his favorite record of Wayne’s was and he explained, “Well any of the Carters’ are a must listen, but The Carter III takes first place in my opinion. And my favorite song on the album is ‘Mr. Carter’”. Brown told me that his all-time favorite bar that Wayne spit was, “And the next time you mention Pac, Biggie, or Jay Z…don’t forget Weezy, baby.”

Next, I spoke with Gaven Florimonte, a lyrical enthusiast, who’s been a diehard hip hop fan since the fifth grade. He gave his own two sense on the topic, stating, “Eminem brought a spark to rap that the community hadn’t seen before. He rapped about depression, anxiety, and his personal hardships. He didn’t rap about the cars he didn’t have or the drugs he didn’t do.”

Florimonte noted that The Marshal Mathers LP2 was the best example of Em’s rap capabilities. He also tells me that “The Way I Am” is his go to Eminem song.

Finally, I visited Jack Burgasser, hip-hop’s firmest critic, who’s been absorbing rap since he was seven.  Burgasser went with rap all-star Jay-Z, one of the highest selling, most acclaimed artist of all time. He said, “Jay Z has birthed artists like J. Cole, Kanye West and Rihanna. He’s been able to maintain a 20 year long career while continuing to produce solid music every time. Whereas the new stuff we are seeing from Eminem, just isn’t as consistent and isn’t adding to his legacy”.

He continued his case by explaining that Jay-Z’s 4:44 album was arguably the best collection of songs to come out of 2017. Burgasser also expressed that Jay’s The Blueprint is his finest album to date and that “Heart of the City” is his favorite record performed by the Brooklyn native. When I asked him for his most cherished Jay-Z Lyric, Burgasser replied, “I jack I rob I sin, I’m Jackie Robinson except when I run base I dodge the pen.”

Maxwell Deters
Chart showing top vote-getters among 100 Elder students and faculty who were surveyed

Overall, these are all valuable opinions backed with valid points. David Brown selected Lil Wayne, the New Orleans based rapper who’s produced 17 studio albums and 161 Hot 100 entries. He is considered one of the most inspiring rappers of all time, influencing many of today’s most popular artists like Lil Uzi Vert, Lil skies, and Lil Baby. Then Florimonte went with Eminem, the highest selling musician of this century becoming the first hip hop artist to sell 100 million certified units. Slim Shady has received two RIAA Diamond certifications for The Marshal Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, while securing his title as the most awarded rapper in history. Finally, Jack Burgasser decided to go with the King of Brooklyn. Worth a staggering $900 million, Jay-Z is the wealthiest hip hop artist alive. He is the president of Def Jam Recordings, and is the founder of the Roc Nation entertainment company. Jay-Z has been nominated for 74 Grammys has won 21 of them, holding the record among the rap community.

I respect all of these rappers for their impact on not just hip hop but society in general. These three have changed the way we listen to music and keep setting bars that only themselves can top.  Although 20 years from now students at The Purple Quill may have different opinions on the GROAT, it goes without saying that these three will always be near the top of the list.