It is nearly impossible to get a bunch of passionate hip hop fans to agree on anything. But I tried anyhow, starting with a series of polls on Facebook that aimed to figure out which emcee or group was the best in the game as driven by the letters of the alphabet. No specific rubric or criteria was given; just a simple request for answers to the question, "Who is the best emcee or hip hop group beginning with the letter 'A'?; 'B'?; 'C'?; 'D'?..." and so on. The responses were immediate and spurred some pretty spirited discussions. A general consensus was ultimately reached for each and per the request of Music Editor Leilani Polk, I'm bringing the poll results to Ear Buds. Each week, I'll reveal a letter and its "winning" artist, and then I'll re-open the question for further debate. Once we finish the first 26, we'll start it all over again fresh. Check out previous winners HERE.
I have some pretty intelligent hip hop fans so when the Prince Paul-powered Gravediggaz took an early lead in the voting for the letter 'G' I was not surprised. Any group that includes the RZA ain't nothing to F with and this early '90s supergroup is, in this respect, isn't much different than their much more famous Wu contemporaries. However, in the end, they were only good enough for a distant second place. So, who had more mass appeal than those horrorcore pioneers?
Guru + DJ Premier = Gang Starr
This timeless duo racked up more than double the votes of their aforementioned golden era hip hop competitors and triple the props of the third place Geto Boys. Before Guru’s untimely death in 2010, the group churned out six albums that helped shape East Coast hip hop. Guru is credited with popularizing the use of jazz elements in hip hop and his signature monotone flow has been sampled heavily. DJ Premier continues his global reach while maintaining an ear to the streets. He has even worked with Tampa Bay favorite Dynasty.
I’m not ashamed at all to say Gang Starr’s blueprint is a major influence on my work with my producer Mr. J.
Long live Gang Starr.
Did we get it right? Who gets your vote for this letter? Let us know by voting and/or commenting below.
Infinite Skillz is a Hip Hop fan and emcee. Click here to find out more about his music.