Before I start talking about lyrics and my Hip Hop background, I’ll let some greats speak their minds on a truly great lyricist who took the torch. http://youtu.be/Ltc9CiEq62c I’ve been a Hip Hop head since around 1984 when I heard La Di Da Di, then Dah-ha Dah-ha, then It’s Like That. I soaked it all in through elementary school and LOVED break dancing, then got into graffiti. Graffiti got me into drawing. Serious drawing. I was doodling before that, but graffiti got me into coloring, wanting to capture my favorite artists, like PE, KRS, Slick Rick etc. I discovered my love for the drawing and spray painting part of the Hip Hop culture. I then got into portrait art, comic art etc. The entire time I was building a massive collection of tapes to the point where I was carrying nothing but fat markers, music, spray paint, drill bits, sketch books, and headphones EVERYwhere I went. I was at the height of my music collecting days (50-100 tapes on me at all times). One of my brothers and I would make our own tapes and rap over instrumentals. It was not long after this time that a man named Redman came out. Redman made me re-evaluate what every lyricist was doing, in terms of lyrical delivery. I first heard him on a song called The Headbanger by EPMD. He immediately became my favorite rapper. I’d try to get anyone to listen to this lewd, over the top, extremely foul mouthed rapper that made everyone cringe with his overbearing and unnecessary style. But his style was like a mix of his friend K-Solo & Rakim with insane metaphors and pop culture references that only I, seemingly, understood. I thought I was the only one “up on” this guy. I’d constantly talk Hip Hop with a brothers friend, who’d later become a world renown DJ Danny The Wild Child. He’d sit in his down stairs apartment and scratch and play with mixing Hip Hop super fast doing what was then called “Break Beats.” (now called Drum and Base) Apparently Red was influencing a lot more people because he quickly became a favorite at Hip Hop raves that I’d help set up sound and lighting at on weekends with a brother of mine. Danny would come in and kill it. My brother started promoting and I’d end up backstage with guys like Common Sense, Redman, Wu Tang, KRS, Masta Ace, Digable Planets etc…They’d come to Chicago and perform for the increasing rave Hip Hop room demand. I noticed that this guy was the only person using multiple personalities, and a blatant structure/formula to his writing and album composition. He encouraged me to write. I fell in love with the written part of the culture. It was so original that I couldn’t believe no one had done it before. Ever since, I went back and started actually reading, watching, and listening to (studying) the lyrics of dudes like Rakim (the god), Treach, Chino XL, Dres, Tech n9ne, Pharoahe, Kane, Kass, Kokane, Kool G Rap, Wordsworth, Verbal Kent, Catastrophe, KRS, Guru, Ice Cube, Andre 3000, Big L, Canibus, Masta Ace, Royce, Hopsin, Crooked Eye, Fatlip, Heirogliphics, Slick Rick, DOC, or Nas KILL the mic for years. A long time after, a guy named Eminem appeared on the Mancow show in Chicago and stood out as the only person who seems to have caught on to what Redman has been doing since about ’92 and openly paid homage by listing Redman as his #1 all time greatest. In my opinion, judging off of talent, execution, delivery, story telling ability, and rhyme scheme content, Eminem can be placed next to or in front of ANY of these dudes with the exception of Rakim.
The only reason he can’t pass Rakim is because Rakim invented the lyrical “flow.” Flowing being a method of using a metronome technique and writing as much content within ticks as possible while changing up a delivery based on rhythmic patterns in music. Sound complex? That’s because some lyricists put that much work into what they write. Eminem is one of those artists.
If you write down the 1st verse of Lose Yourself and break it down, virtually EVERY word used is rhymed within SIX PLANES/COLUMNS. INSANE. Hip Hop artists rhyme using beats, word play, vocabulary, current events, tragedy, intellectual research, punch lines, internal scheme rhyming, clever metaphors, comedy, political content, voice/style manipulation, speed alterations, insults, rhyming up to three and four planes within bars, call backs, breathing techniques and or combinations of some or many of these things. None of these things matter without originality. Everyone pays homage to the greats, but if you don’t bring originality, you will eventually be exposed as whack… My definition is someone who’s Without HipHop Ability & Creatively Kludge I hate to disappoint some people, as 50 said, but Eminem as an all time great and people can’t seem to accept it.