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.
My personal favorite from the letter F is Brooklyn rapper Fabolous. His There Is No Competition mixtape trilogy gets heavy rotation in my household and his Soul Tape series should definitely be a part of your collection. He made the finals over greats like the Fat Boys, Freeway, and Fat Joe. However, in a head-to-head battle that put that slick talking New Yorker up against a trio from New Jersey, my vote was the only cast in his favor.
Said NJ group released one GREAT album exactly 18 years ago, yet they still managed to own this letter without much debate.
The Fugees released The Score in February of 1996. This 13-track opus was their second studio release and was so perfect and universally loved that two of the three members remain as relevant today as they want to be. Sorry Pras, you ARE the weakest link.
Wyclef Jean has three Grammys to his credit and is still producing when not consumed by his charitable and political efforts in his home country of Haiti. Lauryn Hill, who received much of the blame for the group no longer working together, binds soulful singing with Ginsu sharp rap bars in a beautiful package. Her solo album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill (1998) solidified her unofficial title as the most well-rounded female hip hop artist.
While it is a travesty the Fugees only gave us two group albums, there is no shame in winning the Hip Hop ABCs letter F.
Did we get it right? Who gets your vote for this letter? Tell us below.
Infinite Skillz is a Hip Hop fan and emcee. Click here to find out more about his music.