Moving along to the next entrant, and itâ€™s an MC that has had a long history in rap. One where he has released a lot of classic material in the early part of his run, and over the last 10 years, has been releasing (sporadically), a lot of forgettable songs and albums. He started off as one of the first artists on Def Jam, and helped establish that label as the biggest label in rap history. Along with being known as a rapper that appealed more to a female fanbase, he was also involved in some of the most historic rap battles in history, including Kool Moe Dee, and Canibus.
7. LL COOL J
The Queens native MC, has had a long career, where he has made himself a millionaire many times over, with plenty of classic material, and enough skills, and longevity to rank on a list of one of the best rappers in history
Material â€“ 8-10 â€“ LL Cool Jâ€™s career is kind of weird. He always had material that was targeted towards women, even early in his career, however, it wasnâ€™t as deliberate as his second half. He began his career, releasing two straight classic albums. Radio most people consider his best, however, I tend to think B.A.D. delivered LL at his best. His rhymes where more polished, his production improved, and he had much more content on this album. After that, he had a mishap with Walking with a Panther, but recovered big time, with another classic in Mama Said Knock You Out, which was a response to all the critique of his more materialistic and soft approach on his previous effort. After that, it was a lot of hit an miss over the second half of his career. 14 Shots was a mediocre effort, but he came back with Mr. Smith which was a good album. Since then, he hasnâ€™t released a full length album that can be considered anything more than â€œmehâ€. But anyone with 3 certified classic albums has nothing to feel bad about.
Influence â€“ 8/10 â€“ Say what you want, but LLâ€™s influence in the game is undeniable. He influenced a plethora of MCs to make femaleâ€™s the focal point of their singles, knowing that women are the ones that actually buy the albums, while men just tended to dub tapes. He also created a balance between appeasing women and men, with releasing hardcore material that men can bang in their systems, which everyone from 50 Cent to DMX tried to copy to an extent.
Longevity â€“ 10/10 â€“ Nobody has been a significant factor in rap longer than LL. He started his career in 1985, and in 2010 he still has a very loyal and solid fan base, that are still anticipating his new album, even though itâ€™s not what it was 10 years ago. He had very few times in his career where he wasnâ€™t one of the top 5 biggest names in the industry. One is right now, where even though heâ€™s a legend in the game, his name to the younger audience is more in terms of a forefather, than of a current artist to check. With that said, he still lasted over 20 years being a huge name in rap. In a game where most of the popular MCs only last 3 years, LL has been able to maintain his importance on some level 25 years after his first song.
Skills â€“ 8/10 â€“ LL is a great MC. He has one of the smoothest flows in rap, and has never sounded overmatched on any song. His rhyme schemes were never those of a G. Rap, but they were good. He wasnâ€™t one with a lot of punch line raps, as he tended to be more straight forward, and used his extensive vocabulary, and fearsome delivery (Specifically early in his career), to show off his abilities on the mic. One factor that separated him from his peers, was his clarity. LL was never mumble mouth, almost every single line heâ€™s ever said, you can understand clearly. He truly stood out as a MC, in a era full of some of the most skillful MCs to ever grace the stage.
Best song: Rock the Bells
Best album: B.A.D.