“It’s Aliiive!” Meet Frankenrapper, All The Best Parts Of All Your Favorite Rappers, Combined
Every year, we have these debates on who’s the greatest rapper alive, and every year, it ends in intense arguments and unfollows on Twitter.
Instead of destroying digital friendships and questioning your generation’s taste in selecting the hip-hop Messiah, what if we could instead look at living rappers’ strengths and collaboratively take the best of the best to form the ultimate rapper—like Voltron? Or Mr. Potato Head!
Enter Frankenrapper, your favorite rapper’s imagined favorite rapper and a hip-hop fan’s next idol. I suspect he’d get signed instantly if he actually existed and would become the industry’s new Michael Jackson—I’m talking mass hysteria, airbrushed t-shirts galore, fans fainting at concerts, and sheer pandemonium.
If given the chance to make this happen, here’s ten rappers that are still living from which I’d choose to pull DNA and hip-hop greatness. One can only dream, right?
1. Kendrick Lamar’s Ears
K. Dot has proved time and time again that he is not your average hip-hop listener in terms of understanding melody, rhythm and cadence. This is what makes him an artist, not just a rapper. Do you hear his vocal arrangement and harmonies while delivering heavy bars? He’s probably the closest hip-hop has to Quincy Jones.
2. Jay Z’s Business Mind
When Hov said he wasn’t a businessman, he’s a “business, man,” he wasn’t lying. He took his street hustler mentality to the corporate world and created a successful label and management company, and bought stakes in the NBA, among countless other business ventures. Regardless of whether or not you respect his timeless lyrics or ability to rap without writing, you have to at least respect what he’s done in the business realm and for the city of Brooklyn.
3. Nas’ Storytelling
Nas’ ability to lyrically create imagery of Queensbridge’s dark side and life on the streets of the ghetto since the release of Illmatic undoubtedly give him a spot as a legend in hip-hop’s hall of fame. And though rap fans were once also gifted with Slick Rick’s art of storytelling, Nas’ smooth delivery is what sets him apart.
4. J. Cole’s Delivery and Tone
Cole’s effortlessly confident, lightly-Southern voice floats on top of beats. The way he alternates between a laidback, slower flow to rapid-fire aggression is perfection—think his memorable feature on Jeremih’s “Planes,” where he switches flows with precise timing.
5. Kanye West’s Swagger
Would the world be a better or worse place if we all loved ourselves as deeply as Kanye loves Kanye? In all seriousness, though, rappers do need this kind of confidence to fight for their art in this business. It ain’t easy being Yeezy.
6. ScHoolboy Q’s Energy
There would never be a need for a hypeman again if rappers could naturally harness Q’s energy. This stronger, more interesting stage presence is crucial in a music climate that now depends, financially, on live performance.
7. A$AP Rocky’s Flyness
Who wouldn’t want to get jiggy like Harlem’s most stylish guy? Most rappers work hard with their stylists, but they also have to wear the clothes, not have the clothes wear them. A$AP is hip-hop’s greatest clothes horse.
8. Drake’s Hitmaking
Every artist needs a Billboard hit to reach the next level, and who’s better at making one than Canada’s chosen one? The jury’s still out on whether we can thank him or Quentin Miller for his talent with the pen, but let’s face it: the guy can make anything catchy.
9. Jadakiss’ Realness
I don’t care how much rap experiments with the digital sound, street credibility is still respected, in my opinion. Though we’ve now opened the doors to rappers who aren’t from the street, fraudulent behavior can still potentially end a career. ‘Kiss is one of the few rappers who have stayed true to who they are.
10. Fabolous’ Punchlines
If rappers are wordsmiths, slaying and cutting their foes down to size with lyrical “swords,” punchlines are the sharpest blades. After all of his years in hip-hop, Fab still remains the go-to guy for complex entendres and puns.
Image: Bam Bam Bam