We are now down to the top 5 rappers, and now the separation between these artists is microscopic. Weâ€™re dealing with the top echelon of rappers when you go through the top 10, when you get to the final 5, it is an elite class that will be almost impossible to penetrate. And with that, we begin with the West Coast DON
5. Ice Cube
Unquestionably the best rapper to ever emerge from the West Coast, Cube has left a legacy that will continue on forever
Material â€“ 10-10 â€“ Ice Cube is one of the only rappers in history with two, and arguably three straight classic albums under his belt. To go along with that, he has a EP â€œKill at Willâ€ that is widely considered the best one ever released, and another masterpiece â€œStraight Out of Comptonâ€ with his former NWA group. Ice Cube set the world by storm after leaving the NWA, and dropping his first album Amerikkkaâ€™s Most Wanted, backed by the production of the Bomb Squad, Cube released one of raps greatest achievements with his debut. However, his next release â€œDeath Certificateâ€ would be even better, as he improved on his rap skills, and his subject matter was even more diverse and unapologetic. Cube did falter a bid towards the late 90s, after a few other good LPs, and a solid album with the Westside Connection, he went on to release some mediocre albums. He returned to form (somewhat) in 2006 â€œLaugh Now Cry Laterâ€, which had some of the old Cube, and got political again with his 2008 effort â€œRaw Footageâ€. Cube is working on a new album, with rumors circulating that he will be go at everyone whoâ€™s been attacking his character over the last few years, it will definitely be interesting to see what Don Mega has to say.
Influence â€“ 10-10 â€“ Most people credit with Ice T or Schoolly D for creating Gangsta Rap, but Cube is the one that made it mainstream along with the NWA. Almost all gangsta rappers owe a bit of their careers to Ice Cube, as he laid the blueprint on how to make gangsta records, and still maintain a social and political edge. Whatâ€™s also so great about Cube is that he made it possible for rappers to be taken seriously as actors as well. He was the first rapper to be involved in a major film, and eventually became a director, and released the classic movie â€œFridayâ€. Heâ€™s gone on to release quite a few big box office movies as a director. Cubeâ€™s influence on the rap game, extends from the booth all the way to the big screen.
Longevity â€“ 9-10 â€“ Maintaining a long standing career in rap is nearly impossible, as the youth grows, we tend to try to push out our legends, unlike other genres who pay respect to those who laid the grown work. Over 20 years, Ice Cube has been able to keep his name ringing. Some could question his methods, as many critics feel Cube follows whatever the hottest trends are to keep himself relevant. But Iâ€™d argueâ€¦and? In a rap game, you need to change with the times, or you will be forgotten. Cube knew this, so he adjusted to make sure his legacy and his name would never go by the way of a DMX. He continues to be a big factor in the industry, and will probably continue to be for as long as he wants to release new music.
Skills â€“ 8-10 â€“ One of the best storytellers ever in rap, Cube even during his period when he was falling off, maintained a certain skill level that is a cut above his peers. With not many tricks and fancy wordplay, Cube came at you with straight forward and aggressive content that was relatable to anyone. He had a very sharp and distinctive flow, and a clarity that is only matched by LL and Slim. While he possessed all of these skills, he wasnâ€™t the greatest with metaphors, and while his rhyme schemes were advanced at times, especially for a West Coast rapper, he still lacked an ability to maintain it over the whole verse. His skills have faltered somewhat, but heâ€™s still talented enough to out rap a lot of the new artists over the past few years.
37 out of 40
Best Song: A Bird In A Hand
Best Album: Death Certificate