Sometimes satirical, sometimes silly, Redman is one of the liveliest MCs of his era.
Essential: Muddy Waters
An ingenuous street poet, a master storyteller and a battle-worn warrior, Common has kept Chi-town hip-hop's flag flying high for two decades straight.
18. Lauryn Hill
People always say that today's hip-hop lacks talented female MCs. Maybe it's because the standards set by Lyte, Latifah and Lauryn are almost insurmountable.
Essential: The Score(w/ Fugees)
17. GZA / Genius
Armed with sharp metaphors and a smooth flow, Shaolin swordsman GZA is one of the most cerebral MCs in the Wu family.
Essential: Liquid Swords
16. Black Thought
Black Thought is a surgeon of emceeing, reaching only for the most incisive effect each line and verse, each metaphor and punchline, can convey, and applying his skill accordingly. If you listen closely you might hear him feeling around his tool box for just the right flow, the right vocal inflection, the right rhyme sequence. He always seems to find it.
Essential: Illadelph Halflife (w/ The Roots)