I just finished looking at MTV's 5 Greatest MC's and no doubt it will ALWAYS be a hard debate to ever really, truly name 10 greatest MCs . Here is the list MTV has:
(in reverse order)
10. LL Cool J
8. Ice Cube
7. Big Daddy Kane
3. Notorious B.I.G.
Now this is gonna spark a debate regardless but, as i have been saying for years, LL Cool J is the greatest MC of ALL TIME! Hands down!
Just to make a valid point, MTV aired a special on LL RIGHT after the program, which says a lot. One, if memory serves correctly, LL Cool J was the first Def Jam artist, PERIOD. And how long has Def Jam been in existence? And think, Public Enemy, The Beastie Boys, Run D.M.C., etc. are considered old school. And besides Run D.M.C., all of those acts came AFTER LL, yet, LL is not labeled an old school artist and is STILL recording, on the same label, no less. Accomplishments comparable to a sports player remaining on the same team throughout his whole career. Shit, not even Michael Jordan can say that!
Let's put it where it needs to be, LL has outlasted ALL his peers and is still hanging with the newer breed of emcees and is still going platinum, even if it's a quiet platinum. He is and has always been lyrical, his style changes with the times to still be relevant. He is battle-tested, in fact, most would say undefeated (Can-I-Bus gave him a good dent). He is also a movie star, had his own television show and can still go back in the studio and hang with the rest of them! Not even Ice Cube has been able to sustain a rap career while going in front of and in back of the cameras. And Will Smith? Does anyone really want to hear him rap? Not even white kids are checking for him the way they are still checking for James Todd Smith.
His impact and longevity speaks volumes in this world of one hit wonders and flash in the pans. We need to give credit where credit is due. Let's be honest, NONE of the rappers listed in MTV's top ten will or does have the fruitful career LL has. NO ONE. And I know all of Brooklyn will get mad at me for saying this but there is NO WAY Biggie can be considered THE greatest because he realistically only recorded 2 albums while alive (well, 3 considering Life After Death was a double CD). I do agree that he is ONE of the greatest and he is my favorite emcee, but we have to take into consideration that after 2 albums, it is possible that Biggie could have fallen off. Yes, reasonable to think that.
If you look at history, look at Rakim after arguably 2 albums, Nas had a rough spot before Jay got in his ass and brought the fire back. Big Daddy Kane hit skid row after 2 albums, Ice Cube went Hollywood and no one, maybe not even him, wanted to hear Amerikkka's Most (probably because he wasn't/isn't angry anymore). Shit, even one of the greatest Hip-Hop producers, Dr. Dre, bombed with The Aftermath album! I can go on and on with examples from other artists who aren't listed here either and, I dispute Sway and the MTV staff, for saying that Jay never fell off. He always had a hit or two on each album, but a couple of those middle albums were not classics or even a good album. We live in a time where if you go platimun or you have a radio hit, then the albums are considered good. How wrong that is! Or maybe since these guys ARE at MTV, they have to encounter Jay and wouldn't want to be on his bad side! Well, I have plenty of friends and don't need Jay to be my friend or even LL, I just want to state the facts that LL has outlasted EVERY rapper in the game and depending on the strentgh and look of his latest album, I can't see him stopping unless he wants to.
LL did have a rough patch but when he came back, HE CAME BACK! He may have had, arguably, the GREATEST comeback in Hip-Hop history! Can anyone give me any other examples of someone falling off the way LL did and then came back so strong that he hasn't left again?
Once again, when you have discussions like this, think about the WHOLE picture and that picture can't be snapped or looked at unless LL Cool J is mentioned!!!!