Reaction Editoral: The Source Ranks The 50 Greatest Lyricists of All-Time


There is one thing that I have to ask before I descend any further into this post: is the opinion of The Source and its writers even relevant anymore? I personally feel like it has become one of the most watered down and bland Hip-Hop magazines on news stands; most of the articles, if not all, are full of information that is readily regurgitated without any effort whatsoever. Here’s the sad part: I remember when I was younger and The Source was my primary means of getting information on the Hip-Hop game. Sadly, times have drastically changed; magazines like Wax Poetics and Respect fuel my fire when I need some gasoline, and if I’m really hard up, I’ll go to XXL.

I was at Barnes & Noble the other day, and something on the cover on the July issue of The Source caught my eye: “Top 50 Lyricists”. I had to humor myself and take a look at what the brilliant reporters over at The Source had to say about this issue. With a tagline like “Now in an age when lyricism is taking a backseat to celebrity, The Source brings you the top 50 lyricists of all-time in an effort to put some focus back on the platform”, you would think that they actually had a great list – not quite.

I will admit that there were a lot of names that I didn’t even expect to see on the list – Pharoahe Monch, Black Thought, Guru & Big L to name a few. At the same time, there were emcees that I did not agree with at all, and the ones that I thought should have been included were very low on the list. In my opinion, some of the greatest emcees in the history of the game didn’t even get a nod at all.

Just a few of my main gripes with this fine piece of literature:

– How do you even include Rick Ross or Lil’ Wayne on this list? Aren’t they the epitome of lyricism taking a backseat to “celebrity”? I think so, and I can assure you that lyricist isn’t the first adjective I would use to describe The Teflon Don or Mr. Carter.

– Black Thought was ranked #34. What? You’re kidding right? Mr. Trotter deserves a top ten nod, especially amongst artists like Lil’ Wayne and Kanye West – who were all featured higher.

– Royce Da 5’9″ ranks in at #48 – just five spots below DMX. I don’t really think that I need to comment on this one too much further; most people reading this article probably agree that Nickel should much closer to top twenty.

– It’s great to have Lil’ Kim and Queen Latifah on the list representing the females, but in all honesty, Jean Grae and Rah Digga are both far better lyricists than the aforementioned women.

– I’m very happy that GZA & Method Man got a nod on this list, but GZA should have been higher without question; furthermore, where in the hell is Ghostface Killah? Tony Starks didn’t even make this list, and he should have easily cracked the top 15.

– Cats like Masta Ace & C.L. Smooth, and MF Doom didn’t get any recognition – not even an honorable mention.

– Although artists like Skyzoo and Elzhi are younger and haven’t garnered as much recognition as the rest on this list, they possess an enormous amount of skill, and if I had a say, they would have gotten some notoriety.

I really could go on-and-on about this list; they got a lot of things right, but outside of the top 10, they got even more wrong. At the end of the day, I can only voice my opinion and hope that people within the Hip-Hop community will open their eyes and realize that there is much more out there than what is seen on TV and heard on the radio.

You can view the entire list here.

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