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Kool Moe's book

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there's a god on the mic..

Anyone read it? Seems interesting

Might purchase it

I think from memory he rates Will respectably as well

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Man, I STILL haven't gotten that book. I know I will one day. And yes, I know he give FP his props.

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I think the problem with that book is that a list like that needs and update at least every 5 years. It is very interesting tho, so if you can get it for cheap, why not? I however do think if you wanna read about Hip Hop you'll need to get Jeff Changs "A History Of The Hip Hop Generation" - It's the Hip Hop Bible.

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I never got that book yet either but yeah I heard that he ranked Will #23 in his top 50, I think that was a couple years before "Lost and Found" came out so I think that the Fresh Prince's ranking would be a lil' higher if it was made now, I find it funny though that Kool Moe Dee put himself in the top 5 ahead of LL Cool J even though he hasn't put out an album since '94 and LL keeps putting out fire, it just seems like bitterness that his career hasn't been the same since that battle... I read on Wikipedia recently though that he is working on some kind of a comeback album... With not too much good music out these days I've been getting more into Kool Moe Dee's music catalog so getting the book is pretty high on my wishlist, he's a legendary mc that don't get enough credit, one of the most intelligent in hip hop history, a lot of his lyrics are positive and profanity free just like Will's... I found an interview from the Tavis Smiley show that's related to this book:
Thanks for bringing up this book in this thread, I could get this book this summer along with that "How To Rap" book I mentioned a couple weeks ago:

Edited by bigted

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got this book "There's A God On The Mic" a few days ago in the mail from amazon.com with a few other things I ordered including another copy of "Born To Reign" that I wanted,
I'm not gonna type the whole book, lol, but here's some of the best parts of it including the chapter on Will plus his introduction and the Chuck D foreward, it's a great read for anyone who claims to be a hip hop fan, he drops knowledge here although the order is debatable and some of these so called critics have slammed it for his order I think most of these emcees are definately top 50 and according to preference any one of them could be the GOAT, and from reading the introduction it's more understandable why he feels the way he does, he's speaking truth and I wanna quote what he says at the end of the book: "Ultimately there is no such thing as the greatest emcee of all time. There is no best ever. Even the title, "number one", is as ephemeral as the seasons in a year. From era to era, the job detail of an emcee changes according to the demands of the industry. However there are level of greatness in most emcees and there are ways to quantify those levels. Even in that the outcome is always subjective and inconclusive."

Kool Moe Dee's True 50 Greatest Emcees (Sports Equivalent):
1-Melle Mel(Jackie Robinson/Bill Russell)
2-Rakim(Hank Aaron/Michael Jordan)
3-KRS-ONE(Kareem Abdul-Jabar)
4-Big Daddy Kane(Dominique Wilkins)
5-Kool Moe Dee(Dr. J)
6-Grandmaster Caz(Wilt Chamberlin)
7-LL Cool J(Evander Holyfield/Magic Johnson)
8-Chuck D(Muhammad Ali/Charles Barkley)
9-Notorious BIG(Mike Tyson/ Patrick Ewing)
10-Lauryn Hill(Lisa Leslie)
11-Nas(Kobe Bryant)
12-Queen Latifah(Sheryl Swoops)
13-Tupac Shakur(Allen Iverson/Ken Griffey Jr.)
14-Kool G Rap(Bernard King/Dave Winfield)
15-Jay-Z(Shaq/Donovan Mcnabb)
16-Treach Of Naughty By Nature(Chris Webber)
17-Method Man(Tracy Mcgrady/Derek Jeter)
18-Ice Cube(Karl Malone/Mo Vaughn)
19-MC Lyte(Teresa Witherspoon)
20-Redman(Scottie Pippen/Jerome Bettis)
21-Ras Kass(Jason Kidd)
22-GZA(Kevin Garnett)
23-Will Smith AKA Fresh Prince(Rickey Henderson)
24-Busta Rhymes(Latrell Sprewell)
25-Heavy D(Isiah Thomas)
26-Xzibit(Steve Francis)
27-Common(Eddie Jones)
28-Pharoahe Monch(Vince Carter)
29-Black Thought(Jerry Stackhouse)
30-Scarface(Robert Horry)
31-Kurtis Blow(Walt Frasier)
32-Run Of Run-Dmc(Larry Bird)
33-Snoop Dogg(Lamar Odom)
34-Guru(Ray Allen)
35-Ice-T(Dennis Rodman)
36-Doug E. Fresh(Reggie Miller)
37-Keith Murray(Jalen Rose)
38-Mystical(Antonio Davis)
39-Kurupt (Rasheed Wallace)
40-Slick Rick(Earl Monroe)
41-Big Pun (Larry Johnson)
42-Lil' Kim (Chamique Holdsclaw)
43-MC Shan (Ralph Sampson)
44-Craig Mack (Penny Hardaway)
45-Jeru The Damaja (Charles Oakley)
46-Fat Joe (Anthony Mason)
47-Spoonie Gee (George Gervin)
48-Foxy Brown (Nicky Mccray)
49-Mack 10 (Malik Rose)
50-Just-Ice (Moses Malone)

Notable Omissions: Eminem, DMX, Canibus, Mos Def, & Eve for less longevity than most on list, he gives hip hop veterans like MC Hammer, CL Smooth, and Wyclef Jean props sometimes in the book too, also mentions Ja Rule and Nelly the better songwriters of today, acknowledges Pos, Q-Tip, Brother J, and Wu-Tang emcees as being top notch emcees but he couldn't seperate them from their groups like he could with Guru, Chuck D, Run, Treach, Grandmaster Caz, and Black Thought

Introduction: ASK A HIP HOP FAN, "Who's The Best EMCEE?", and immediately they begin naming the hottest rappers of the day. Some start naming their favorite records, and maybe quoting a few or more simplistic one-liners or popular hooks that they can sing-a-long with. But if asked the difference between a rapper and an emcee suddenly there's a look of confusion. Or if you ask the difference between a rapper, an emcee and a hip hop artist they won't know what to say. The difference between a lyricist and a flower? A rhymer and a poet? Or any combination of the above and forget it. Rarely what you hear is expertise. I hear a lot of a passion and a lot of emotion but no expertise.
Of course music is an emotional vehicle, and it is about emotion and passion and feeling, but it will take a trained ear to be able to hear the emcee. Like in the NBA, the fans get to vote on the All-Star game which is about the favorites, but that's not necessarily who is the best in the league. When it comes to the MVPs and the All-Time greats that's beyond the fans voting. That's where it takes expertise to break down the nuances of the game.
One might ask, "What about the journalists?" For the journalists or scibes of the Hip Hop industry there are major problems, three in particular. One is the payoffs and the labels contribution. A lot of fans don't really understand how much money it takes to run a magazine. They may not understand how much money labels, publicists and publicity departments contribute to the writers and what they're paying for. They're literally being paid for their opinions. Usually, as we say in the industry, they're the best opinions money can buy. When you see a favorable opinion it's usually based on who's being marketed or promoted at the time, rarely are these journalists honest. Once in a while the KRS-One's, the Rakim's, the Kool G Rap's, and similar emcees will come alongs that are so lyrical and so great in their prowess that you get some form of honesty, but it's usually not case.
Usually it is definately about how much money is being spent to make sure that the artist receives a favorable opinion. Thesecond problem I have is the voting by committee, after all the money is spent creating the images and personae and in many cases record sales theses same writers vote on who's the best of thesecreations. It is amazing to me to see when people spend money to promote an artist as if he's one thing even though his image and his lyrical skill level may not have anything other than you spent money to promote him. People will start to buy into these very highly promoted personas and start to treat the artist as if the personae are an actual real fact. There are a few emcees that mandate the respect based on their skills, but more times than not based on the money spent and image created people are voting on the personnas. A lot of journalists don't have the heart to against the grain of the popular artist at the time. I call this the Godzilla syndrome. You create a fake monster, and then respond as if the monster is real. Welcome to the music industry. The final problem I have has to do with credentials and credibility. What reference point does the journalist use when forming these opinions? How far back did they go? Usually, if you do the numbers and the math you'd see that the average journalist writing on Hip Hop is somewhere between twenty, twenty five, maybe thirty. Which means if you go back ten years ago that person is somewhere between 10-15. So if you were 10 in 1993 that means you missed 14 years of recorded Hip Hop and another nine years of unrecorded Hip Hop. So your opinion has to be formed on a combination of other writings and other opinions you've seen over the years, or the short window of information that you may have on Hip Hop based on how old you were when you were able to experience it and comprehend what was going on. This is a very big problem in the industry because this is how you see a situation where an icon in Hip Hop like Afrika Bambaataa or DJ Hollywood goes unrecognised for his contribution because the person who is 10 years old in 1993 is born in 1983, he doesn't really know.
Finally, like rap fans, there are few experts, and of the few experts that are even fewer that go beyond hit records and hot artists. So then one would ask, "Why me?" What makes me so different? What seperates me from the pack? What seperates me from the pact of opinionated fans, artists and scribes- allow me to count the ways.
First off I have extended experience. I've been rhyming at a high level since 1977, and at an elite level since 1979. I'm one of the few artists who was able to make the transition from the street era before there was records, to when they finally made records, to when it became a full out business. I have hits as a group, I have hits as a soloist, and a writer. I've been making hits since 1980 to 1992. I've been undefeated in all Hip Hop battles. I'm the first rapper to win an NAACP Image Award, and also a multi-Grammy nominated and Grammy winner. Number two, there's no payola, no one can buy my opinion. My integrity will not be compromised by popularity. I have nothing vested in this other than passion for clarity, and to give acknowledgement and recognition to those who usually don't get it. Finally, no one to my knowledge has comprised a more extensive list with the intricacies of breaking down so many aspects of emceeing. Because of my experience or intimate understanding of the aspects of emceeing that are usually overlooked when determining whose the best emcee in the game, I can break down emcees from the past to present with a clear understanding of the different jobrequirements of each era of emcees. I absolutely know the difference of what a storytelling emcee is going for as opposed to what a braggadocios emcee is going for. I can thoroughly explain why Missy Misdemeanor Elliot is not a great emcee as lyrical as Cannibus can be relatively unknown because hasn't had a hit record, yet he's still one of the best rhymers in the game today.
I understand this is a business and emcees, rappers, and artists all have to make hits to survive, but as with most big business it is always solely about the money, and whenever that's the case then usually the art is compromised. So big respect and much love to all of the successful rappers and Hip Hop artists, but this book is about the emcee.
Let's get crackin'.

Chuck D's Foreword:
IN THE RECORDED HISTORY OF BLACK MUSIC, and we're talking about 80 some-odd years since jazzcat Freddie keppard refused to be recorded because he thought that those listening would steal his licks, myth, and folklore often loom above and beyond actual fact. Sounds and styles, fights and games have been reignited within the hallowed halls, walls, and floors of the unofficial meeting centers of the hood, i.e., the street corners, poolrooms, and barber shops. The music debates have run a distant second or third to the sports debates there, but in the last twenty years rap music and Hip-Hop have given the sports debates a good run for their money. Out of the element that often combined the skill of the fast talking pimp with the power of the preacher and the wit of the comedian diggin' deep into the dozens, the rappers initially commanded the attention of distracted black male public. Nothing against the ladies, but they almost always preffered to be sung to, and if a so-called emcee got her attention, it was because he played the popular singer's song as a DJ, or most likely carefully rhymed across it so as to not turn the girls off. Still, this perceived bragging and boasting out of the box, in essence, was the black male cry that positioned itself parallel to the testosterone fueled sonics them heavy metal white cats were doing in rock music. By rap music's first recorded era from 1979-1984, a flood of rhymers set off across music snatching up every sonic bed available on record to put their over.
From this period, innovators either shaped their ideas off the party thing that was closely connected to the DJ aspect of the music, or set upon new paths that redefined on a steady basis what this art form could potentially do. Kool Mo Dee is an example of the latter. Besides being a Hall of Fame rapper(whilst there's no hall of fame, yet...help), he introduced to the genre the first rap scientist. A scientist in the same way that n sports Ted Williams broke down the science of hitting, or Jordan the art of basketball, Kool Mo Dee dissected this art form when most were questioning what it was or how long it would be around. As debuted on Harlem record legend Bobby Robinson's 12-inch Enjoy Records label as a b-side to fellow Harlemite Spoony Gee's "Love Rap" A-side, his group, The Treacherous Three, cut a psycho, double-speed, rap classic called "A New Rap Language." This record served as testament to the analysis of cohorts Special K and LA Sunshine, raising the verbal bar, and simply doing what no one else would've thought of. Contrary to folklore, a lot of emcees were wack back then too, even more so than today because many didn't have a blueprint to build their thing off of. As the T3 ripped through their unparalled period, 1980-83, moving eventually to Sugarhill Records, their skill legacy rivaled them as Rolling Stonish to Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five's Beatlesque Hip-Hop dominance. Back then the streets had no name, and nobody was measuring the cred after the radio stopped playing the uptown sounds as much as the next new thing that was coming out of Whodini's Brooklyn and Run-DMC's Queens. Mo Dee was keeping track of this. And while this new sound came in, it was also the unofficial word that four years rapping records and twenty-two years of age would signify being set out to a rap pasture, so to speak. Mo challenged this by wrapping up his college degree at the State University of Old Westbury in Long Island, New York- another first that Mo and I shared in 1984, the year that rappers graduated from college.
I first met Kool Mo Dee in the beginning of what was an unprecedented first, a Hip Hop comeback. It was an act added on to a southern run of the 1987 Def Jam tour with Whodini, Doug E. Fresh, Eric B. and Rakim, and LL Cool J, the headliner. We had chatted briefly in Columbus, Georgia, where I befriended his DJ, a cool cat by the name of Easy Lee. Later we kicked it and ate lunch in the back of a hot limo while doing some radio promotion for Mid-South Coliseum gig in Memphis. Mo Dee had just released his first album on Jive Records and was four years past his roasting of fellow New Yorker Busy Bee in a battle that was recorded and sold as one of the areas most famous Hip-Hop tapes ever. By this time rap was starting to be watched by major record labels as album-viable, and artists were building on diversity as opposed to the battle thing that required directing skills. Plus, the real fact is that no rapper wanted to rub Kool Mo Dee's legend the wrong way, no one. This didn't stop KMD from doing a scientific analysis of the rhyme terrain he was re-entering. Behind those super rap-hero shades was a calculating mind stirring pot he was gonna dip into. Mo Dee's album inner sleeve consisted of a rapper's report card, list skill breakdowns, and calculating a final grade from A to F. This was two to three years before The Source. He was saying that you might be signed by a big record company, you may have millions of adoring fans, cats might dig you in the streets, but now we gonna break it down plain and simple....JUST HOW GOOD CAN YOU RAP? I was just glad that PE made the list. I was very happy to get a B- and work hard from there. I was just honored he took the time to listen.
Fast forward to post-millenium 2004, past the classic Kool Mo Dee-LL Cool J battles, a third comeback in records and film, Kool Mo takes the obvious next step after what his report-card intiated in the mid-eighties: he's full-blown-out as an author, which should serve his vast mind as a playing field for many works to come. (Hello? Television and DVDs?) The research is twenty-five years thicknow. Hip-Hop and rap music being so worldwide has the bottom line of it said and signed by many cats who never rhymed the game. In sports, former players become coaches and managers, sportscasters and writers. In Hip-Hop the comparison of Hip-Hop contributors and say-soers to the art is akin to the rings of the planet Saturn. You think the rings are part of it, but the closer you get, you find out that they're not really a part of it all, just debris floating around it. I can't bite this analogy because this too comes from Mo Dee's analytical mind. Its about time the masters write some of the script about this thing called rap. We talk many a night on the phone about the sate of the rap game, and how the unknowing can perceive these calls as Wilt Chamberlainish-hating on the new game. Oh so gar from the truth, indeed. This is an introduction to recognize the beauty of the genre, from the past twenty five years, so...ladies and gentlemen-the True 50 Greatest MCs ever-coming from one of the best that ever rhymed it.

Elements Of An MC:
Originality: How original is the MC? Did the MC create anything or bring anything new to the game that wasn't there before?

Concepts: Rewards MCs for their ability to paint pictures and concepts that are multi-dimensional, and who conceptualize on an album, or during their career.

Rewards artists that have a range of work that varies and who experiment with their rhymes.

An artist must be able to utilize vocabulary, and that doesn't mean that you have to constantly inundate the audience with big words, but as Big Daddy Kane once said, "It's alright to send someone to the dictionary every now and then."

Rewards MCs whose albums have some kind of social relevance or meaning.

Flow has a lot to do with syncopation, how an artist's cadence flows in and out of multiple records, beats, or tempos. Those artists who are most versatile with their flow, or that have a flow that absolutely sucks people in get higher scores.

Flavor: This is about an artist's ability to break out, have fun, and have some kind of signature energy to their rhyme style.

Freestyle: This rates an MCs ability to be able to come off the top of their head with thymes, spontaneously, on any given subject.

Vocal Presence: This category looks at how recognizable an artists voice is the moment someone hears it on a record.

Live Performance: Lots of MCs make great records, lots of MCs travel around and do rhymes, but when it comes down to doing a performance live, lots of MCs fall short.

Poetic Value:
A lot of MCs rhyme, but don't add poetic value where the metaphor itself is a story within the metaphor is actually profound.

Body Of Work:
Based on the sum total of the artists work and the level of excellence in that work.

Industry Impact:
Industry impact has to do with Grammys, music awards, radio airplay, and all the things that the 'streets' frowned on at one point, but was very, very necessary for the hip-hop game to become the integral part of the music business that it is now.

Social Impact:
Recognizes and rewards artists who try to better the community, better the environment, and better the country.

Recognizes thoses who can last long in the chaos and confusion known as the music business.

Lyrics, otherwise known as an MCs paradise, are the reason all MCs started rhyming, it's the essence of the MC.

Battle skills:
Battle skills are about the combination of wit and attack. Attack and set yourself up as the pinnacle, and create threats. It has to do with not only lyrical skills, but also the ability to be witty, funny, and to insult.

Comments On Will Smith(As I'm reading the book I notice how he actually writes more highly about Will than some of the emcees ranked ahead of him, even on some of the category he gives a lower score on there's a positive comment being made, FP's clearly one of Kool Moe Dee's favorites, I'd love to see another JJFP/Kool Moe Dee collab besides the "Wild Wild West", he likes JJFP better as a group than Run-Dmc and like a lot of us fans here he likes Will better as an emcee than an actor): "THE UNSUNG HERO"
"Here it is, a groove, slightly transformed
Just a bit of a break from the norm
Just a little bit some'n to break the monotany
Of all that hardcore dance that has gotten to be
A little bit out of control
It's cool to dance
But what about a groove that soothes
And moves romance
Gimme a soft subtle mix
And if it ain't broke
Then don't try to fix it
And think of the summers of the past
Adjust the bass and let the alpine blast
Pop in my c.d. and let me run a rhyme
And put your car on cruise
And lay back 'cause this is summertime"

Will Smith, AKA, THE FRESH PRINCE, is probably the most underrated emcee in Hip-Hop history! Outside of Hammer, one of the greatest entertainers in Hip-Hop history, Will Smith was one of the most verbally ridiculed emcees of the late '80s to the early '90s. He was called soft, corny, weak, unskilled, and most inaccurately unreal. Ironically, it's his sincerity that pushed his career over the top. (That plus a couple of hit movies!) It was always amazing to me how the Hip-Hop climate picked and chose who they would deem cool or uncool, real or unreal, slick or corny, etc.
Will hit the scene in 1986 with the record "Girls of the World Ain't Nothing But Trouble." It was a happy-go-lucky, upbeat song about a teenage boy having problems dating. The approach was humorous and innocent. The record made an impact, and Will sold a lot of records. As the industry goes, he began to do some moderate touring because of the heat generated by the song. His live show was stellar for that time. He had a human beat box, Ready Rock C, who was famous for stimulating, doing the beat box under water; he had back-up dancers; and for the coup de grace, DJ Jazzy Jeff, one of, if not the greatest DJ of all time. Everything was great until they came to New York, and for whatever reason, the audience was non-responsive. In fact, they cheered Jeff and booed Will. The backlash of criticism began.
What was most ironic to me at the time was Run-DMC was king, and Will and Jeff were better than them. That's when we figured out how subjective the audience was. Kid Rock was cool until Vanilla Ice came; Hammer was reviled and Puffy was revered for doing basically the same thing; and Jazzy and the Fresh Prince made more simplistic, less fantastical records than most rappers at the time, yet they were called unreal. A couple of years later, using the template by Will, Special Ed dropped "I Got It Made" and was loved for it. Once again, Ed's song was much more obviously unreal, but the audience loved it. However, Will persevered and by the mid-'90s, he had numerous Grammys, music award, a hit TV show, and a couple of hit movies under his belt. By the late '90s he'd become the absolute biggest Hip-Hop star in Hip-Hop history.
At this point everybody got a late pass. Will was now not only understood, but he was respected and appreciated for his ability to stick to his authenticity and weather the critical storm. However, what's still overlooked is his skill level as an emcee. Contrary to popular belief, Will's success in music is not driven by his stardom, it's because of his skills. Of course, being a star helps him in the marketing and promotion of his music, but he sustained his career by being an excellent songwriter.
Will Smith is the example I use when I'm talking about song structure. Every single record that Will makes is always thematically solid. Every rhyme is chohesively connected to the hook, and sometimes from rhyme to rhyme and verse to verse there is continuity that's like a continuum. One verse picks up where the other leaves off. Another one of Will's strengths, which was ironically looked at as a weakness, was his ability to create and become different characters. This, to me, enhanced his storytelling ability. He was able to paint pictures with his stories by using his vocal inflections as an array of characters. In this regard Will is second only to Slick Rick and Notorious B.I.G. I think this was viewed as a weakness because of the climate of Hip-Hop when Will first hit. He took chances on conveying a lighter, fun-loving energy at a time when Hip-Hop was just being introduced to NWA.
This brings me to my final point. I call Will the "unsung hero" because in 1988, I don't think the average Hip-Hop fan understood the climate for Hip-Hop, especially with regard to rap music. The industry had been prophesying the downfall of rap music since its inception, due to what they deemed to be a fad with no mass appeal. In 1988, Run-Dmc were fading and we had no presence on the pop charts. While Hip-Hop artists were yelling, "Stay true to the game," and "Make records for the streets," no one understood how important it was to have a Hip-Hop pop record. The only record made a dent in this area was my "Wild Wild West," but it was viewed more as an R&B record, and although it helped bring the urban adult crowd into hip-hop, we still needed "middle white America." LL Cool J dropped "Going Back To Cali" but it seemed a little too avant grade. However in April, Will came through with "Parents Just Don't Understand" and struck the perfect chord. It grabbed the attention of the kids in suburbia, and began to outsell major pop records. This record, plus my "Wild Wild West", which I'll explain later, led to a chain of events that basically saved Hip-hop/rap music. First it got massive pop radio airplay, which led to him getting his perfectly crafted cartoon-like video on MTV. Remember MTV didn't play rap videos, and Run-Dmc only got some play because of their rock element. Shortly after Will's successful video run, Yo! MTV Raps created, and rap videos now had a mainstream outlet. Finally, the Grammy committee announced that there would be a rap category to the awards ceremony. The year ended with Will having a double platinum album, and the following February he was the first rapper ever to receive a Grammy! Without these events, I very seriously doubt that Hip-Hop/rap music would have turned into the billion-dollar industry that we see today.
What's really crazy is as significant as all of these events were to the survival of Hip-Hop, they were the very things Will was being criticized for. What's equally incredible is how he took it with style and grace. He never took any public shots at any of his critics. He humbly defended himself and continued to make hits. However, in 1998, he finally got some of this off his chest on his "Big Willie Style" album:
"Take ya place, allow me to flex a taste
As my accomplishments spraying my comp like mace
A' face me the star of stature TV
My face be seen in every country
Grammy winner soon to be Oscar nominee
Who he that dress Jiggy
Straight from West Philly
Thought I was wack
'Cause I wanted to act
Now every brotha-n-his mother
That rap be tryin' to do that
The ill kid hundred million dollar bill kid
The one you love to chill wit
Come on keep it real kid
Don't try to act like this summer at the Greek
You won't be bumpin' Big Willie
In ya jeep
I know y'all still feel me
Really don't act silly
Thought I feel off just because I left Philly
Took a break from the rap thing
Went on hiatus, I picked up the art of acting
To multiply papers
I chilled on sick sofa's
Chatting wit Oprah
She asked me if it's true
That me and Jeff broke up
While y'all kids busy playin'
Drug, pimp, and playa
I was in my crib in Barbados
Chillin' wit Jada
Today the vertex is me the magnanimous
Got ya sayin', damn
I've always been a fan of his
Y'all know how it is
Oh wait, hold up y'all don't
Look here
Y'all don't say nuttin
Then I won't"

Ultimately, Will gets the last laugh. The bottom line is Will Smith is one of the more well-rounded emcees in the game, and he has a plethora of styles in his arsenal, complimented by an abundance of talent. His globally palatable, innocuous presentation of his brand of Hip-Hop, amidst the incresingly more dominant violent content in gangsta rap, showed the courage, resolve, and tenacity of an eventual Hip-Hop superstar. More important the combination of his skill and integrity makes him ONE OF The TRUE GREATS AMONG ALL EMCEES!

Strength: Acting. No accident he got an Oscar nod because he created characters in music.

Weakness: Acting. his strength is his weakness. Sometimes his energy doesn't connect with the listener because it doesn't feel sincere. It comes off like he's playing a role, as opposed to coming from his heart.

Favorite Record: "Summertime" "Getting Jiggy Wit It"

Favorite LP: "Big Willie Style"

Statistical Breakdown Out Of 100 Points:

Originality Score 80:
Will came at a time when he was telling stories, his energy was lighthearted and fun. It was right on the heels of Slick Rick and Doug E. with "La Di Da Di" and a lot of people affiliated that kind of style with what was going on at the time (1986).

Concepts Score 80:
Will is one of the more conceptual emcees. He made a record of a nightmare on his street, "Twilight Zone". He will go there on the concept side.

Versatility Score 90:
Will is one of those emcees that can rhyme about anything. He definately takes chances that a lot emcees wouldn't in terms of the styles of rhymes and using his voice like an actor.

Vocabulary Score 80:
This is unique because Will has an incredible vocabulary and he doesn't choose to use it within the rap. He'll sprinkle it in there now and then, but he's not one of those guys that will hit you with a bunch of high-level vocabulary words back to back.

Substance Score 80:
Will kept it positive but he also kept it very light. He was always the alternative to what was going on in gangsta rap or hard-core rap.

Flow Score 80:
Will kept his flow in a cadence that was easy to follow, which makes him one of the best storytellers. That's part and parcel of that type of success.

Flavor Score 80:
He's an actor. He can absolutely become characters within the rhyme and he uses it in a very flavorful manner.

Freestyle Ability 80:
I've seen Will at plenty of functions come off the top of the head and because his vocabulary level is high, things that he uses you wouldn't expect him to use in his freestyle. His freestyle is kind of "nasty."

Vocal Presence Score 80:
He doesn't have a real deep dominating voice, but he has a voice that's recognizable, and he puts a lot of passion into it. Depending on whatever type of record he's trying to bring across, he usually understands how to use his voice.

Live performance score 90:
One of the best performers. If you caught him older than later. He still does his thing on the live side, and now he understands how to put a show together. He does it more like theatrical performance. That's been one of the consistent themes with him. His whole thing is about performance, and he doesn't let you down onstage either. It was really incredible when he had the beat box combined with Jazzy Jeff.

Poetic Value Score 70:
Will is one of the most underrated storytellers and he does approach it very poetically.

Body Of Work Score 90:
Will also does some of the best commercial albums as far as Hip-Hop is concerned. Because the albums are so commercia, a lot of Hip-Hop pundits don't give them their due credit. But Will has definaely made some of the most well-rounded commercial hip-hop records ever.

Industry Impact Score 100:
The all-time industry impact king. There is nobody in the history of hip-hop that has made an impact in the industry as much as Will. Forget about the movies, forget about the TV show, just on the music alone he's probably the most well-rewarded emcee ever- Grammys, music awards, and Soul Train.

Social Impact 70:
Will is very much associated with having a good time and positive in the positive role model sense, but not being too heavy in the message sense.

Longevity Score 100:
From 1986 till now, he has been at a high level in every single he's been involved with.

Lyrics Score 70:
Will is not the conventional lyricist, but he is a great songwriter.

Battle Skills Score 70:
He's not associated with battle or conflicting energy, and for the most part he has been taking a lot of criticism a lot of the time and not responding. Based on the way his mind works, if you forced his hand i'm sure he could bring it across. He just never did it.

Total Score: 1,390 out 1,700 category points Average Score: 81.7

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I'm surprised that Kool Moe Dee said that his favorite album from Will is "Big Willie Style", most people usually say "He's The DJ..." or "Rock The House"

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I decided to typed up this article Kool Moe Dee did on LL who's mine and most of this board's second favorite emcee, you could see he's a little bias towards criticising LL's battling skills since he battled him:

"I excel they fell
I said well hell
I signed the contracts
The bills were stacked
Play the wall or fall
I stand tall
Y'all small in fact
Step aside you might get fried
By this super technique
That the rapper applied
As a matter of fact the impact
Ill distract your attention away
From the rest who say
They could mess wit Cool J
The best of today
Ya fessed cause the rhymes
Are so funky fresh
I'm attack smack and make'm
Stand back black strong as cognac
I got the knack
To rhyme to the rhythm of this
And give'm a gift a swift
Other rappers are stiff
And don't riff with Mr. Smith
Cause that ain't safe
I get you wide open
Like a uncut 8th
I write to fight
Don't bite
To reach heights
Might makes right
Give me the spotlight
So I can prove the pen
Is mightier than the sword
LL hard as hell, the lyrical lord
The counterfeit misfits mid rap
Had to admit that my rhymes are so
Dangerous i need a permit to
Rap solo on the microphone
Emcees don't let me catch you alone'

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF WOMEN. LL Cool J is the first lyrical superstar emcee. Kurtis Blow was the first solo emcee superstar, but he wasn't lyrical. And there were many lyricist in groups at the time, but none of us were superstars. LL was able to pull off what none of us at the time could, for one reason or another. Women. He was the first lyricist that was a sex symbol. In the Hip-Hop climate of 1984, the lyrical emcees were basically playing to a predominantly male audience. It seemed like once an emcee got too intricate lyrically, women would disengage. When it was time party with the call-and-response and shake their butts, they were in full force. However the rules would change if they thought you were sexy. There were a handful of ladies men early in the game, like kevie kev, master rob, EZ-AD, The Devastating Tito, and even Kurtis Blow. But by 1984, those groups from the first generation of emcees were fading.
That year LL hit the scene like thunder with "I Need A Beat." The record had a strong street buzz, but no one could really foresee what would happen just a year later. In 1985, the movie Krush Groove comes out, and even though LL had a small cameo, his scene was absolutely one of the true high points in the film. I went to see the movie five times, and each time LL's scene ended with the crowd erupting. As the cliche goes about black people in movie theatres, they talked about LL's scene through the next two scenes, especially the women. This is when I knew a star was born.
Shortly after that he released his album Radio and all hell broke loose. At this time the three lyrical kings of the first generation Melle Mel, GrandmasterCaz, and Kool Moe Dee were still of pharoah-like status. The fact that LL would dare to use his heat and his platform to proclaim his greatness without acknowledging his predcessors planted the seeds for what would turn out to be the greatest battle in Hip-Hop history. In 1986, Run-DMC blew the doors open for the next level of Hip-Hop history, "Walk This Way'. They also had the biggest Hip-Hop tour of all time, "Raising Hell.' LL was one of the opening acts for the four, and this set the LL craze into overdrive. not only was he one of the premiere lyricists of the time, he was also one of the best emcees live in concert. He was sending crowds of twenty-thousand into pandemonium. One might argue that the other lyricists at that time didn't have the same opportunity, but I was there, even in the smaller crowds in clubs, most of the really lyrical emcees would lose the crowd with their live performance. LL understood the stage. He seemed to understand the laws of the energy. His show was short and powerful. This left the audience wanting more of him.
By 1987, he released his second album "Bad." If I'm not mistaken, the laum went double platinum before the summer was over, and he released it in June. That summer he headlined his own tour, "The Def Jam tour." Although the single "I'm Bad" led the charge for the album, midway through the summer LL released "I Need Love." This record took LL over the top, and soldified his position with women as a sex symbol. Whodini was co-headlining the tour with LL, and they were also seen as sex symbols, but after "I Need Love" took off, LL began to create seperate seperation as the lone sex symbol. He pushed this into overdrive by bringing a couch out on his stage, and every night he would take his shirt off, get on the couch, and simulate having sex on it while singing "I Need Love". PANDEMONIUM is not a strong enough word to describe how the ladies in the audience were reacting. In a couple of markets I joined the tour, and everything was cool until one night in Boston. LL missed his plane and the show's promoter asked if Rakim and I could just go up onstage and rhyme for a while and hold the crowd over until with some improptu freestyle. We agreed, and within fifteen minutes along with Grandmaster Dee cutting, Rakim, Jalil, Extacy, Mike C, and myself absolutely wrecked the crowd. We got the word that LL was in the house and we shut it down. Finally, when LL took the stage he turned the music down, walked over to a speaker and stood over all of the emcees that just saved the show, and began to explain to the crowd why he got on last, and why his name is the biggest on the marquee. He ranted on about how he was a bigger star than all of us. After the show his crew came to me and said they heard about the dis record I made for him so the battle was officially on. After he heard "How Ya Like Me Now" he said he wasn't impressed. LL was subscribing to the industry's rules of engagement. Until someone makes money, nothing he or she does is significent. Shortly after that "How Ya Like Me Now" was clearly a hit, and in route to being a gold album and single. LL responded with,:

"How Ya Like Me Now
I'm getting busier
I'm double platinum
I'm watching you get dizzier
Check out the way I say my
Display my play my J on the back
Behind the cool without the ay
I love to ride the groove
Because the groove is smooth
And makes me move
And I'll improve
As it goes on, as it flows on
When ya see me
Don't ask me if the show's on
How that sound? Don't come around
Playin me close clown
Pullin my jock to be down
You need to stay down
Way down
Because ya low down
Do that dance the prince of rap
Is gonna throwdown
Hearing the breeze
While I'm killin emcees
I'ma keep on hittin you
Wit rough LP's
Day after day after day
Ya smacked in the face
By the bass of Cool J"

This is why I call LL "The Unbreakable Master.' He has never won a single battle, yet he just keeps on coming. He was still answering this battle eight years later on "I Shot Ya." However, battling was never LL's strength. But when it comes to making love songs he is untouchable.
Spoonie Gee did it the smoothest, Heavy D did it the most energetic, and Tupac did it the most poignant, but LL did it the most romantic. He had the look and the charisisma to pull it off. He was like a straight-up lady's man. But let's not forget that the early LL Cool J is almost the total opposite of LL of today. He was truly one of the most lyrical emcees of the '80s. His albums were always diverse and he knew and still knows how to make hit records. He wasn't a one-note emcee. He would take chances on making the kinds of records that no hard-core rapper would make. This is still the formula for the superstar emcee today. Although many fans criticize him for predominantly love songs now, I think it was the smartest thing he ever did. I think LL's longevity is a testament to the change. The women who loved LL didn't love him for the same reason that the fellas did. The young boys loved the cocky, sonic, hard as hell lyrical LL. The young ladies loved the softer, "I Need Love" LL. They were coming to see him perform and take off his shirt so they could fantasize. If you study his track record it's always been the love songs that made the album sales. "I Need Love", "Around The Way Girl", "Hey Lover", and most recently "Paradise". If you follow the pattern from "I'm Bad" every other album is a hit. On those albums, he follows the formula. On the misses, the love songs are not strong, and he's trying to use more of the hard-core edge.
Ultimately, LL has nothing to prove. His reign of success in terms of his longevity is untouchable. He has the largest body of work in the history of the game. Only KRS-ONE has more albums, but LL has more hits. He's been able to change with the times musically better than anybody in the game, and he still gets called on to make high-level, high-profile guest appearances. He's been attacked lyrically by more emcees than any other emcee, ever. And, although he's never won any battles, he's never lost any momentum for any sustained period of time. He always bounces back with a hit record in the face of the battle aftermath. He's one of the most dynamic emcees ever in the game. His voice and energy can go from the purely sonic to the calm and alluring. With his record selection, he's been a master craftsman. He's built his career like a master builder, and he's in prime position to basically do whatever he wants. He's been the face of Def Jam since the beginning. Every album he's ever made has gone gold, platinum, or double platinum. As an emcee, he's been one of the most intense, passionate rhymers ever. Ultimately, he's been a hip hop luminary with heat for over fifteen years. He's been at a high level in the game with very little drop-off, and now with his film career kicking in, he's just as popular as he was in 1987. It's been said that a great actor can read the phone book and make it sound good. As the rap equilvalent, LL is the emcee that can make the alphabet sound like a hot rhyme(he actually did that on his song "It Gets No Rougher"). Without question LL's resume makes it impossible for him to be anything less than one of the top ten among the greatest emcees of all time!
Strength:Charisma. More thanthe rhyme itself, his energy and charismatic vocal presence make you listen to him.

Weakness: Battle. He has absolutely said some of the weakest rhymes in battle. Part of the reason for that is that he's one of the most arrogant emcees ever, and he's much more confortable talking about himself. He's too busy on himself to focus on anybody else.

Favorite Record: "Nitro" "Jingling Baby"
Favorite LP: Radio

Kool Moe Dee's Statistical Breakdown LL Cool J:

Originality: 80/100- Everybody that knows the story about the time he came with the combination of T-LA Rock, Run, and myself, basically he just wasn't that original. What was original about him was the way he approached it with his energy lyrically.

Concepts: 95/100- LL is definately a conceptual emcee. A lot of people don't really realize because they look at him as the love-song guy now. But if you go back and listen, he put some concepts together, especially on the Bad album, the "Bristol Hotel" and the "357".

Versatility: 100/100-One of the most versatile emcees, although Tupac is viewed that way more than everybody else. If you look at LL's work, he would gofrom hard-core into love songs vacilliate back and forth. He is a versatile emcee with a lot of weapons in his arsenal.

Vocabulary: 100/100- Got to go to the old stuff once again to realize how incredible his vocabulary is. He stopped doing it later on his career, but he has done enough of it for me to give a 100 on the vocabulary side.

Substance: 80/100-Most of LL's whole deal is me, myself, and I, but even in that you've got to give him points on the love songs. There is space for love to be considered substantive. It is what it is.

Flow: 90/100-Especially when you hear the braggadocio records like "Nitro" and "It Gets No Rougher", and when you hear him at what I call the top of his game.

Flavor: 90/100-Even though he was sonic and was yelling when he was doing his thing early on, he still had flavor in his voice. You could just tell he was feeling himself, and he definately would play with his vocals.

Freestyle: 80/100- His arrogance alone makes that possible.

Vocal Presence: 100/100- One of the more powerful voices in the game, a different type of voice outside of the Chuck D type, but definately his voice was one of the things that grabbed your ear to make you listen to him.

Live Performance: 100/100

Poetic Value: 80/100-Not that much poetry, more rhyme than poetry. He would do it with "I Need Love" type of records. His poetic value comes in with the love songs.

Body Of Work: 100/100
His work speaks for itself. Album after album, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen songs all over the place, he is diverse. Body of work is stellar.

Industry Impact: 100/100
Much later than earlier, at the later end of the career. First he came in with the hype and the heat, and then in the latter part of his career he's gotten the accolades with Grammys and nominations.

Social Impact: 80/100
Outside of being viewed as a sex symbol, for a Hip-Hop icon he didn't really, really have anything that anybody would grab onto in terms of what he represented for them, other than being a superstar.

Longevity: 100+/100
He should be able to get two hundred on this one because he is the longest-lasting emcee at the level he's been doing it. His longevity speaks for itself.

Lyrics: 90/100
He is definately a lyricist. The problem with the lyrics is, once in a while, he will throw in very, very low simplicity within the intricate rhyme, and you wonder why he would do that. More earlier than now.

Battle Skills: 80/100
This is the weakest part of the game to me. He seems to not know how to approach a battle. However, with the fact that he still brings the energy and the charisma into the equation, and he does not back down from any battle, he's got to get an 80.

Total Score: 1,545 out of 1,700, 90.8 Average

Edited by bigted

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"This is why I call LL "The Unbreakable Master.' He has never won a single battle, yet he just keeps on coming"

Thats kinda funny

Well he might be biased, but there is some truth to what he's saying, I remember from those LL/Kool Moe battles, LL was almost singing
at times rather then straight battling, it made me laugh a bit actually at the time.

In LL's battles with Kool Moe, it seeems the battle aspect was secondary to making a good song, whereas Kool Moe Dee seems to have given everything he had in a lyrical assault against LL, to try and show whose the man. LL on the other hand, seems to have only done the battle begrudgingly to me.

I really don't think LL's full skills were on display in those battles, not remotely, from what we know LL can do

Honestly, although I would put LL above Moe, props to Kool for making it as fair as he could, without losing face

Edited by rawad_m

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No problem Silver Tiger, let me know if there's any other emcee in particular you might be interested in reading about and I'll type it up for ya when I get a chance

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Oh man, there's a lot on that list I'd love to read about. I suppose I should just get the book. If you've got the time though, Big Daddy Kane is probably who I'm most interested in hearing about right this moment.

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I'll definately type up Big Daddy Kane for ya,this book is a definate must have, it's incredible stuff to say the least! You could get a used copy from amazon for only $3.34:


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I typed up some more articles on some of my favorite mcs like Busta, BDK, and KRS:
#24 Busta Rhymes-"Master Energy"
"Team select please collect
G's connect these nukkas direct
The trees to the smoke fest
Wanna take a toat(yes)
The newest zone I'm in
I'm like Smithsonian, nukka
F*** it call Napolean
Wave the torch
Cut the head off the Leviathan
The terminology I'm rhymin' in
Caused a frenzy up in I-reland
Hit ya I'm gone get ya
And drop the bomb scripture
At ya barmitzvah"

BUSTA RHYMES IS THE ONLY EMCEE in the game whose verbal animation is matched perfectly with his visual presentation and his live performance. He hits one of the most important trifectas in entertainment. Many emcees don't understand how important it is to have an exciting presentation. This is why emcees like Busta Rhymes, who are not particulary lyrical, can usually outshine the more conventionally intricate lyricist. Busta Rhymes seems to approach the game with an energy and intensity unmatched in the game today. There are other emcees that have high levels of energy, but none are at Busta's level. He is at a level of energetic supremacy reminiscent only of the Great J.D.L. of the Cold Crush Brothers.

#4 Big Daddy Kane- "Master Of Metaphor"
"The kiss of death on a rap pick
And you get a slap quick
So guard it with chapstick
In other words, protect and hold ya
Own, it only takes one punch
To get the head flown
Fists-of-fury suckers get weary
Cause the kane got more
Spice than curry
I add the flavor down on paper
And nothin can save ya
From catch'n the vapors
Rhymes that'll sting ya face
Like a quick jab
And I'm rubbin'em in
Just like vicks salve
Captivatin', dominatin, innovatin
Illustratin, fascinatin
Motivatin, elevatin, terminatin
Mutilatin, rhymes are worth
They're weight in gold, bold
Never sold to a bidder
They gleam and glitter
Yours are bitter like kitty litter
As for damage, don't tell me
What I'll never do
Cause I quote that I'm r-a-w
So make room, cause fighters are doomed
Try to consume, and make your own tomb
A grave or casket, a tisket a tasket
Your rhymes out a basket
Boy you'll get ya ass kicked
For frontin like ya hittin hard
When your arms are too short
To box with god"

THE MACK IS OFFICIALLY ON WAX! Big Daddy Kane is like a poetic player pimp with deadly lyrics. On his first album, Long Live The Kane, he announced in no uncertain terms who he was. On his album cover, he's sitting in a gold chair(throne), dressed in a purple, gold, and white Roman robe, draped in truck jewlery, with three women around him, feeding him wine and fruit from gold cups and platters. Metaphor: Black Caesar is here.
Kane approached the game with an attitude like we were all wasting time rhyming until he came. His rhyme style was inherently challenging. He was a natural battle emcee, with a lyrical flare for the ladies. He was one of the most polarized emcees of the late '80s. His lyrics had the fury of fire, but his persona was as cool as ice. His rhymes were designed for battle, but he had no beefs with any emcees. He had the spiritual essence of the 5 percent nation, while simultaneously feeling like the player of the year. The combination of these aspects made Kane the hottest emcee in the streets. Before Biggie, Kane was that lyrical ladies' man that put Brooklyn on the map. Kane was so highly regarded for his lyrical prowess that he could come onstage dressed like a 1980s gangster in a three-piece suit and tie and never receive any flak from his dressed-down peers. The school of thought at the time was, a truly hard-core emcee dressed down, never up. This was normal for Kane; he usually broke all of the so-called unwritten rules.
In 1987, Whodini and LL had set the template for what came to be known as the Hip-Hop love song. In 1988, when Kane got his turn at it, he pushed it to the next level. Kane actually sang his own hook! Kane can't sing! Once again, his respect level was so high, fans just acted like that didn't happen. He was so hot that his album went gold without any real radio play. His rhyme style was so infectious he became one of the most imitated emcees ever in the game. I think this is because, in my opinion, Big Daddy Kane has the most perfect rhyme inflections ever! He always puts the emphasis on the more important part of the word, sentence, or syllable. He never leaves any part of the rhyme hanging. Every single word is always tied to another. The other thing that he does masterfully is the rhyme dismount. Few emcees know how to do it, and even fewer know how important it is to end your rhyme with a potent punch line, or a profound statement. In rhyme song structure, the final line in your verse should se up your hook. the reason the line is important is because the hook is the first time that the listener is really getting a chance to participate with you. The punch line should incite this. Big Daddy Kane is the king of this. What really makes him special is he fills the rhyme with punch lines, and then dismounts the rhyme with something colorful and usually perfectly inflected. Kane also had the rare combination of being a battle emcee and supreme lyrcist, with the flavor of sarcasm.
Kane took over where Caz left off. As a member of the second generation of the three lyrical kings, Rakim, KRS-ONE, and Big Daddy Kane, Kane was the only one that made music geared towards women. His status as a Hip-Hop sex symbol reached an all-time high in 1989. Kane, in keeping with breaking the rules, threw an all-women, ladies conly concert at the Apollo Theatre.

#3-KRS-ONE "Master Of Ceremonies"
"Everybody's bad
And everybody's tough
But how many people
Are intelligent enough
To open their eyes
And see through the lies
Discipline themselves yourself
To stay alive not many
That's why the universe sent me
Today on this stage with this to say
The rich will get richer
And the poor will get poorer
In the final hour
Many heads will lose power
What does rich vs poor really mean?
Psychologically it means you gotta pick your team
When someone says the rich get richer
Visualize wealth and put yourselves in the picture
The rich get richer because they work towards rich
The poor get poorer because their mind can't switch
From the ghetto let go
It's not a novelty
You could love your neighborhood
Without loving poverty, follow me
Every mother, father, son, daughter
There's no reason to fear the new world order
We must order the whole new world to pay us
The new world order and the old state chaos
The big brother watchin over you
Is a lie you see
Hip-hop could build its own
Secret society
But first you and I got to unify
Stop the niggativity and control your creativity
The rich is gettin richer, so why we ain't richer
Could it be we still thinkin like niggas?
Educate yourself, make your world view bigger
Visualize wealth and put yourselves in the picture"
A DOPE EMCEE IS A DOPE EMCEE! With or without a record deal, all can see! And that's who KRS is son, he's not your run of the mill, cause for the mill$ he don't run. KRS-One is the most feared emcee in the game ever! When other emcees talk about KRS, it's always with a tinge of awe. If there is ever any criticism expressed, the selection of words is so carefully chosen you'd think they were under the Spanish inquisition. Over the fearless, MC Shan and the masterful, Melle Mel would even battle KRS. However, that was well before anyone knew what he would evolve into. Nelly made an attempt to challenge him, but like many of the new artists, he only talked about selling records and making money. He never talked about his skills. Furthermore, by 2000 KRS was more Spiritually Minded than battle oriented. This was obvious by his more toned-down cerebral rebuttals. The younger KRS would have gone for the jugular.
In 1987, KRS-One was positioned to be the final piece to the second trinity of lyrical kings. I'd already gracefully passed the baton to Rakim, and Caz passed it to Big Daddy Kane. But Melle Mel wouldn't relinquish his position. In fact, Melle Mel never concedes anything. One night in the Latin Quarters, Hip-Hop's hottest club at the time, Mel was in an argument with Biz Markie about lack of real lyrical skills coming from the next generation of emcees. Mel was referencing Biz as an example of the problem. Biz, on the other hand, conceded that he himself wasn't but he was willing to bet all he had on Big Daddy Kane defeating Melle Mel in a battle. Mel immediately pulled out one thousand dollars and dared anyone to battle him for it. Out of respect, not fear, Kane didn't accept the battle. The argument continued for a few minutes until voice from the crowd yelled, "I'll battle you." Standing on top of the staircase was KRS-One; he was the voice accepting the challenge. They made their way to the stage and Mel rhymed first. Honestly, Mel's rhyme was better than KRS'. However, battle rule number one is, the best rhyme only wins on wax. As KRS displayed, battle rule number ten, he who wins the crowd wins the war (live)! There was one line that KRS said that shifted the crowd in his favor:
"Old school artists don't always burn
You just another artist that had his turn
Now it's my turn!"

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