Eminem's dystopic rhymes, complex flow, experimental wordplay, and meticulous phrasing make him one of the best MCs of all time.
Essential: The Marshall Mathers LP
Only a handful MCs have managed to sustain their alignment with the streets regardless of mainstream plaudits. Scarface is at the top of that list. His street tales and poetic raps are constant reminders that Brad Jordan is the voice of the hood.
Essential: The Diary
8. Big Daddy Kane
The King of Swagger, Kane entertained the rap world with his peculiar flair and flamboyant wardrobe. Latter peers like Jay-Z, Biggie, and Snoop would later adopt his player persona.
Essential: Long Live the Kane
7. Kool G Rap
The next time your favorite emcee commits a double-homicide on wax, blame it on Kool G Rap. Why? He's the grandfather of hardcore hip-hop. Some of the grittiest street tales in rap grew out of G Rap's rhyme book.
Essential: wanted: Dead or Alive (w/ DJ Polo)
The Teacha transformed the violent brusque of street life into a story of uplift and self-awareness, starting with BDP's incendiary debut, Criminal Minded.
Essential: By All Means Necessary (w/ Boogie Down Productions)