The Hip Hop ABCs: Letter N

The alphabetical rap battles continue... this week: Notorious B.I.G., or Nas?


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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.

Alert readers of the Hip Hop ABCs may have caught the bit of foreshadowing embedded in the previous week’s edition about Mobb Deep. The letter 'N' brings us yet another New York City battle between boroughs.

The Notorious B.I.G., representing Brooklyn, is one of the most charismatic emcees of all time and a personal favorite. He powered Diddy to an empire and mogul status and is still missed despite his relatively small body of work.

Nas, hailing from Queens, gave us Illmatic, which truly belongs in any hip hop time capsule. He followed that with a string of platinum or multi-platinum albums, proving you can gain financial wealth and push hip hop forward creatively at the same time.

I won’t further insult your hip hop IQ by regurgitating facts about these artists you (hopefully) already know. Do yourself a favor though and re-visit their respective works. Rightfully, the Hip Hop ABCs came down to these two. To some, Biggie will always be the king of New York, but the voters have chosen Nas as the supreme ruler of the Letter N.

Did we get it right? Who gets your vote for this letter?

Infinite Skillz is a Hip Hop fan and emcee. Click here to find out more about his music.


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