Let the greatest MC argument begin anew. Kool Mo Dee was on Tavis Smiley’s show last night promoting his new book, There’s a God on the Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs. It seems that Mo Dee, like many of us, was moved to make his own list after seeing the list that MTV put together last year. ( Here’s my list if you haven’t seen it yet. ) Here’s the description of his book:
Rapper Kool Mo Dee thrived during hip-hop’s nascent years as a vocalist whose tongue-twisting rhymes and speedy delivery put his counterparts to shame. On his 1987 album, How Ya Like Me Now, Kool came up with a ‘hip-hop report card’: a method of rating MCs (Emcees, Masters of Ceremonies, Master Communicators, or rap vocalists) as a way of separating the premier MCs from their often one-dimensional, overrated counterparts (“Sucka MCs”). Building on this original list, Kool has put together an extensive rating system to compile the definitive list of the greatest MCs of all time. Kool rates each MC based on seventeen different categories, ranging from the artist’s lyricism, vocabulary, and freestyling ability to his longevity, body of work, and social impact. Each artist is given a numerical score from one to ten in each of the seventeen categories, as well as an explanation for how this rating was determined. The book includes a complete discography and full-color photograph for each MC, and will also have supplemental lists, such as the top ten storytellers and top ten rhymers.
It definitely seems worth a read and the categorical ranking is a nice touch. There’s so much to consider when judging such a subjective thing, so no doubt his list will prove to be just as controversial as every other list. He did reveal his top 5 on Tavis’ show (Update: I now know his top 10 thanks to Trent):
- Melle Mel
- Big Daddy Kane
- Kool Mo Dee
- Grandmaster Caz
- LL Cool J
- Chuck D
- Notorious B.I.G.
- Lauryn Hill
He also let it slip that he ranked Biggie at #9 and Tupac at #13. In what I consider an odd step, he left Eminem, DMX and Canibus off of the list because their body of work isn’t large enough. Well if Biggie’s body of work is large enough for a ranking surely DMX and Eminem qualify to be ranked. Anyway, I had to crack a smile at Tupac’s ranking. I have Tupac ranked #12 on my list and I’ve been fighting with Tupac fans over that ever since I posted my list back in June. (See the comments on the copy of my list that I posted over at BlogCritics) Mo Dee can now have the joy of dealing with those Pac fanatics. 🙂
Hopefully somebody will post his entire list so we can proceed to critique it.