Who are the top 5 hip hop emcees of all time?
It’s hip hop’s Michael Jordan vs. Lebron debate. It gets brought up every time people talk about hip hop for more than 5-10 minutes. Most cite universal rap legends Jay-Z, Tupac, and Biggie somewhere in the ranks of their top 5, and the rest remain highly disputed.
But every race needs a dark horse. In the race for a spot in the top 5, Andre 3000 is that dark horse. Despite having never released a solo album, Andre 3000’s stellar career as half of Outkast and his rare yet majestic feature verses have earned him 6th man honors. With a lyrical style closer to poetry than traditional rap, he extends metaphors, bends pronunciation, and loves to perfectly juxtapose witty humor with gravity.
Historically an elusive artist, Andre 3000 has only made 2 guest appearances in 2019. He was on James Blake’s ‘Where’s the Catch?‘ and more recently on Anderson .Paak’s ‘Come Home.’ (You can listen to both of these songs on the freezing best songs of the year playlist). Andre is in peak form on both songs, but it’s on Come Home where his acumen as a rhyme technician is on full display. Through the first half of 2019, this verse stands out as the best of the year. Andre’s complex rhyming moves at a head-spinning pace that carries on like a riddle to decipher rather than lyrics to simply consume.
The greatest music always demands investment on the part of its listeners. On Come Home, the all-time great wordsmith, Andre 3000, delivers a verse that demands engaged listening. That means either putting the song on repeat, scrubbing through the verse for clarity, or looking up the written lyrics when following the audio becomes too dizzying. That’s the investment this verse demands, and that’s why it’s the best of the year so far. 🍑
(P.S. check out full lyrics and rhyme scheme analysis of the verse on DJBooth’s website, and listen to the song below:)