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How Do You Determine A Rapper's Skill?
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AuthorTopic:  How Do You Determine A Rapper's Skill?
born dead

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posted Monday, December 18, 2017 6:16:05 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for born dead
All the back-and-forth in the Black Thought thread got me thinking. I'm curious how people on this board determine the skill level of a rapper. Personally, I tend to like more of the technical rappers (e.g. Eminem, Hex One, ect...) that have a lot of multi-syllables, clever punchlines/wordplay, and tend to be more battle rap oriented. Flow and how their voice sounds is important, but is not generally a deal breaker for me (with the exception of Sadat X). God his voice is awful!

For me it really boils down to 2 things. How technical they are as a rapper and if they are actually rapping about something important rather then the generic “I’m dope, all other rappers are wack” or typical gun bars ect… Basically if a rapper hits one of these two check boxes they are good in my book and if they hit both on a consistent basis they are great.

So, some examples of rappers that I consider really good from a technical standpoint but whose lyrics don’t tend to have a lot of substance would be Hex One, Celph Titled, Eminem (basically everything after Eminem Show), Apathy, Meyhem Lauren, Sean Price, Percee P, R.A. The Rugged Man. All of these guys do have some songs with substance, but generally stick to the same formula in my opinion.

Off the top of my head, the best example of a rapper that I can think of who tends to have a lot of substance in his songs but is not technical is Macklemore. His last two albums were pretty bad and I’m sure I will get a lot of hate on this one, but I thought The Heist was a great album as well as the Vs. album he did with Ryan Lewis. Song’s like Same Love, Wings, Jimmy Iovine, Starting Over & Otherside are not impressive from a technical standpoint, but they are well written songs with a solid message.

The rappers that can write a well thought out song with a message while being technical are the ones that I consider to be great. Guys like Ka, Pharoahe Monch, Black Thought, Vakill, Kendrick Lamar, Copywrite (my personal favorite) are the ones that impress me the most. There is definitely some overlap in my groupings of these rappers. Copywrite & Vakill both write a lot of battle oriented songs, but I feel that they branch out from that type of stuff more often than the people I listed in the technical section. Also, some of the people in the technical section can write some great songs that are not just your typical battle raps. Rugged Man’s verse on Uncommon Valor is a perfect example of this and one of the best verses of all time in my opinion. Again, this is just my own opinion on what impresses me in a rapper and how I tend to group the guys I like.

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bUcKtHaDeViL

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posted Monday, December 18, 2017 6:27:16 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for bUcKtHaDeViL
You can write an entire book about what determines the skill level of a rapper.

For me it takes less than 15 seconds to determine if a rapper is nice. That's more important to me.

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Groucho Marxist

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posted Monday, December 18, 2017 6:38:02 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for Groucho Marxist
I suppose I rate it the same as I would for a novelist, or a poet.

I like description in story telling and music that can take you out of whatever mood you are in and put you in their mood. I think Cage is unparalleled at this.

Another great story teller and someone who has very well thought out and potent verses is Immortal Technique. He doesn't just say what he wants to do to start a revolution, he tells you why in very descriptive detail.

I'm a content guy and if you are more worried about your rhyme scheme it will always take a little something away from content. That being said guys with heavy rhyme scheme only need a few hot lines in a song to impress people even if they aren't saying much throughout the song.

I haven't heard anyone better than cage at doing what he does, and I haven't heard anyone better than Immortal Technique at doing what he does.

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born dead

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posted Monday, December 18, 2017 7:07:07 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for born dead
Groucho, that's well put and I agree for the most part. I wouldn't say that I prioritize how technical a song is over the actual content, but I tend to enjoy rappers that are more on the technical side. I also agree that in most cases when a rapper tries to get too technical it will take away from the content of a song. When you are trying to rhyme multiple syllables line for line there are only so many words you can use to get your point across. Eminem does a horrible job of this at times when tries to pack in as many syllables as he can. He just throws in words that rhyme but it is a bunch of nonsense.

Cage is another good example of a rapper that is more content driven. Hell's Winter was an amazing album.

A perfect example of what I'm talking about is Copywrite's song Slow Down. He's actually saying some shit about his life and its a pretty technical song. I'm not sure how to embed so this will probably get all screwed up...

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Groucho Marxist

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posted Monday, December 18, 2017 7:55:15 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for Groucho Marxist
I like it either way when I am listening to it, but the music that I end up studying every word of and relisting to repeatedly to see what I missed is the stuff that is content driven. Plus I think anyone like Cage and Immortal, anyone on that level, can and do occasionally put together really technical rhyme schemes when they choose to.

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Groucho Marxist

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posted Monday, December 18, 2017 7:59:44 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for Groucho Marxist
There is this local dude here in Spokane that does pretty well at having a technical rhyme scheme and strong content. He has done some songs with diabolic, apathy, mad child, etc.

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Groucho Marxist

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posted Monday, December 18, 2017 8:02:18 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for Groucho Marxist
If you look at the post I made a day or two ago, just down the page a bit, I posted two videos, one of me focusing on rhyme scheme and one with content. People like them both the same but the real raw emotion and shit was put into the content driven one.

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Litney Spears

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Location: “I hate that the bitch wears lipstick while eating food, she basic as fuck” - virgin loser NHL
posted Monday, December 18, 2017 11:13:46 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for Litney Spears
Holy essay bat man
No one's reading that bull shit

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NoHeadlights

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Location: Karim Carlos Badell trades his EBT money for drugs. He admitted this himself
posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017 12:13:27 AM    Click Here to See the Profile for NoHeadlights
How much lean he drinks and how much weed he smokes

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Groucho Marxist

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posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017 2:01:36 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for Groucho Marxist
lol

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born dead

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posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017 3:22:43 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for born dead
lol observe. I didn't think it was that long...

Groucho, I've heard of Wildcard. The only song of his I know of is the one he did with Celph Titled on the Unseen Obscene album (below). The ending of the song is hilarious. I'll need to check out some of his other stuff. He's definitely nice.




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lex718

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posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017 4:30:44 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for lex718
Clearly by how many rollies he owns, people he's shot and bitches he's fucked..

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tippi dink

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posted Tuesday, December 19, 2017 4:46:00 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for tippi dink
how many albums they've sold & how many instagram followers they have. if your album isn't at least gold then you're trash.

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shaolinassasin

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posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 12:07:49 AM    Click Here to See the Profile for shaolinassasin
Good thread.

For me a rappers skill depends on how he phrases his words and how natural his rhyme scheme sounds. I like rappers that sound like they're talking to their friends or something but also rhyming. So Cassidy, Eminem, Rakim etc.

I also like rappers with quotables that I can see myself repeating.

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born dead

Total Posts: 2360
Member Since: 2003
posted Wednesday, December 20, 2017 5:14:29 PM    Click Here to See the Profile for born dead
Groucho, that Wildcard song you posted is a great example of what I referring to with a rapper throwing in as many multi-syllable rhymes as they can and its a bunch of gibberish. Most of the lyrics don't really make sense. It sounds pretty good, but he isn't really saying anything.

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