7 Artists That Make Hip Hop Worth Listening To

Hope you are enjoying your day of rest! I have already expressed my opinions on gangsta rap, and those opinions definitely do not extend to the 7 artists I talk about below. These artists are actually part of the reason it’s close to impossible for me to take a lot of gangsta rap seriously.
After all how can you settle for less when you have seen musicality at its finest. Long ago I promised I would do a post of this nature….the promise is now fulfilled.

1) Lauryn Hill

Lauryn is like that really clever cousin that everyone has. You know the one who has flashes of absolute brilliance that from time to time are marred by minor errors in judgment (in my fam, that would be me!). In spite of her erratic behavior, her talent, graceful beauty and musical skills are undeniable.

2) Black Star
Just in case people forget why hip hop got started in the first place, there is Black Star to remind you. Yes they talk endlessly about their skills as MCs. Yes they talk about drug dealing. But they rhyme, bend and manipulate words as though they are clay in their hands. They talk about the beauty and wonder of the human experience and African experience.
Talib is the philosopher who takes himself and his words so seriously that you can’t help but do so as well. Mos on the other hand is that ever smiling, ever rhyming MC who can’t help but make you feel good inside. Forget reading the above just listen to the two tracks below

3) Tupac Shakur
No discussion of hip hop can begin or end without mentioning Pac. I will admit it, I am a selective fan of 2pac. The tracks below have my ear any day. “Hit em up”? not so much.

4) Dead Prez
I have already written my stalker ode to Dead Prez, so I will just give you two more tracks to enjoy.

You’d rather have a Lexus,
Or Justice,
A dream,
Or some substance,
A Beamer,
A Necklace,
OR FREEDOM

5) LL Cool J

I know a lot of you didn’t expect this guy to be on the list. Heck even I didn’t. Another case of selective listening when it comes Mr. Smith.
I must give credit when it’s due: For those times when you have no lines or don’t know quite what to do to turn your Don Juan on, do as L would do. No one does smooth better:

The Lord works in mysterious ways,
He must have put you on this Earth,
For all men to praise

(With proper delivery what can’t words like these achieve?)


6) Lupe Fiasco

Lyrics! Lyrics! Lyrics! He is mellifluous! He is floetry! His rhyming is off the chain! Don’t believe me, explain the lyrics below:

I’m fearless
Now hear this
I’m earless
And I’m peer-less
That means I’m eyeless
Which means I’m tearless
Which means my iris resides where my ears is
Which means I’m blinded



7) Da Truth
Inspirational through and through and through.The song that really resonated with me by this talented theologian-on-the-mic was ‘My Story’. In this world where apparently Akon faked his criminal record, just to gain more acceptance, how relevant is a track like that? You be the judge:

So pull a chair, something to drink and enjoy some real music.

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Da Truth – My Story

I thought my testimony was less the holy, I thought I was less blessed then my homies, just confessing only the big sins, I thought that was a badge of honor, I thought that I had to have a story that was packed with drama, But I aint ever been shot, no big crimes, never smoked weed, never drank, I never did time, I grew up with both parents both cheering me on, teaching me basic things like no swearing (no swearing son),
It’s so apparent I came up in the church, socially this is where I gave my worth, learned to pray and assert my self for God displaying its worth, upon living without playing in the earth, just the average kid, you know the type that like to play in the dirt, came home with dirt stains on my shirt, reciting the same old verse, at the table no games no hurts, And I knew I was called before the day of my birth, And its like that,
I aint got no horror story Go kept me in my youth I give him all the glory I thought my story didn’t flow, But now I know the blood of the lamb has saved my soul and that’s my testimony, I aint got no horror story Go kept me in my youth I give him all the glory I thought my wasn’t dope but now I know the blood of the lamb saved my soul and that’s my testimony
I aint no gangster I aint tough cause of rap, never been cuffed and stuffed in the back of a patty-wagon, I aint never cuss in my raps, I started gospel most aint accustom to that,
Let me get back, when I was young I used to think I was corny, Cause I aint grow up in the projects drinking a 40, And I aint never had no thug dude sneaking upon me, And every buddy had the name brand sneakers before me, And it made me really made but as I bugged my mom and pops taught me never to chase silly fads, they told me focus and bought me note books, I really had brilliant parents they introduced me to Billy Gram
See I aint got no horror story God kept me as a buck I give him all the glory, In high school all the pretty girls ignored me called me church boy, I wasn’t bothered normally though, Sometimes I would hate living the life of a saint, They saw the Christian boy and light right from the gate, thought I would preach so they tried to escape but I guess that’s just the price of pronouncing your faith, and its like that
I aint got no horror story Go kept me in my youth I give him all the glory I thought my story didn’t flow, But now I know the blood of the lamb has saved my soul and that’s my testimony, I aint got no horror story Go kept me in my youth I give him all the glory I thought my wasn’t dope but now I know the blood of the lamb saved my soul and that’s my testimony
Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I’m prefect, Matter fact I took thoughts and conveyed about cursing, I was saving my pain it was worse then it should have been man I was ashamed just to say I’m a virgin, plus I was too afraid to admit I was a Christian, I spent most of those days trying to prove I was hip, plus trying to prove I was cool, trying to move like a pimp, My testimony wasn’t cool enough yet, Then I came to my senses I put my brain to the scriptures, Thought of how Christ was blameless to sinners, He didn’t grow up on the corner fornicating with sisters, A good Jew grew in favor of wisdom, That gave me relief , rearranged my belief no longer thinking what I’m saying is weak, I aint never been sprayed in the street but saved by his grace plus raised to my feet, And its like that,
I aint got no horror story Go kept me in my youth I give him all the glory I thought my story didn’t flow, But now I know the blood of the lamb has saved my soul and that’s my testimony, I aint got no horror story Go kept me in my youth I give him all the glory I thought my wasn’t dope but now I know the blood of the lamb saved my soul and that’s my testimony

12 Comments

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 3:15 am

    For those who may be wondering what’s that Lauryn Hill video that doesn’t work it’s this one:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=lMRiudMgHCs

  • By udi, May 10, 2008 @ 3:35 am

    Boss, Hit em up is the best dis record in my opinion. I love every Pac song. wah, let me not get into Pac.

    You need to add Nas to that listing and Rakim (the god MC),

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 3:41 am

    @Aah the man who first introduced me to “All Eyes on Me!” I never supported Pac’s beef songs, the guy had too much venom in his heart sometimes. This may surprise you but I have NEVER heard a song by Eric B or Rakim, I have read TONS of stuff about them but for some reason I have never ever heard one of their songs.
    Excuse me while I correct that situation……………….

  • By Mwangi, May 10, 2008 @ 3:46 am

    Talking about “Hit em up”…..I guess there is no original beat in hip hop…I love how they recycle them beats:
    http://youtube.com/watch?v=ZElWBsoyvUo

  • By Mwangi, May 12, 2008 @ 1:02 am

    Also check out this great artist I just discovered, gotta love your Facebook friends:

    Shad – Brother Watching
    http://ca.youtube.com/watch?v=oDQ49tLg5w0

  • By who me, May 12, 2008 @ 1:48 am

    This is so weird. Was just listening to Dead Prez album – let’s get free. That I had just downloaded because I liked the cover art – was wondering if it’s South African by the way – anywho, then I was breezing through the blog as I do and you mention them in your article. Coincidence? I thinkent. They’re amazing, true they get a bit OTT on the hatting “crackers” side but they’re brilliant.

    p.s. Thanks for hooking me up with that k-shaka & m1 joint it’s wicked.
    keep on..

  • By Mwangi, May 12, 2008 @ 2:06 am

    @who me: U r more than welcome about the K-shaka track, it’s just beautiful when two great artists you never thought would work together do. About their “cracker hating”, have you heard “Hell Yeah”? On that song, they go all out….they are definitely a contradictory group in a lot of ways. I have no idea where the cover art is from. I’d love to find out….

  • By liberiangirl, July 17, 2008 @ 2:20 am

    Please explain to me why Tupac is one of the greatest in rap? What exactly has he done? I always ask fans of his this..and I have yet to get a good answer..All I know of him is that he calls women bitches..then the next day tells them to keep their head up.

  • By Mwangi, July 17, 2008 @ 2:53 am

    @liberiangirl: I think that dichotomy and ability to shift back and forth is where his appeal comes from…………

  • By liberiangirl, July 18, 2008 @ 1:24 am

    Personally I prefer someone who is consistent ..,but I can accept your answer.:)

  • By One Black African, November 3, 2009 @ 9:45 am

    If all you heard Tupac do is call women bitches an hoes, Dear Mama, Brendas Got a Baby, Keep Your Head, guess u never heard that

  • By admin, December 24, 2009 @ 11:01 pm

    @OBA: I have heard all those songs and on the same album you will find “All about you”, “Hit em up”. The fact that he had conscious lyrics in no way negates or takes away from the fact that in a lot of tracks he referred to women as bitches and hoes.

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