The Greatest Rapper Of All Time – Ja Lander
What is the greatest? One definition states greatness as a state of superiority affected a person or object in a particular place or arena. We all think about who is the greatest in sports, science, film, and music. For example, some of your favorite artists are not among the best in regards to technical ability, delivery or the variation in mood. However, it can be the novelty or unique aesthetic, it is simply something that speaks directly to you. That is your favorite.
Favoritism is a bit of a romantic concept that leads with emotion and at times suspends rational thinking. The interesting thing about is an artist like Tupac Shakur may always be the most famous rapper of all time, in the same sense as Elvis Presley. In part due to his prolific catalog, it was at a time where the world adopted rap and Hip Hop culture. He was larger than life and became legendary after he died. I could not name an artist who has released as many or more albums posthumously. The Notorious B.I.G. was arguably a better rapper, but we did not get much from him. He was killed shortly after Tupac Shakur, with only two albums released followed by a compilation after his death.
Some would say that judging rap is a subjective thing, I disagree. It takes a certain technical ability to manipulate language in various sequence while using various forms of speech is a skill. But who is the greatest of all time? I think the answer is whoever maintains the highest level of greatness as long as we are alive to bear witness to the genre. The other metrics would include technical ability, critical acclaim, cultural influence, industry milestones, and economic success.
But, this rapper could be the G.O.A.T.
JAY-Z has earned 13 Platinum solo studio Album Awards in the United States more than any other hip hop artist in the history of RIAA’s Gold & Platinum Program. He is also the only hip hop artist with more than 10 RIAA Platinum studio albums. JAY-Z also has four additional Platinum albums for collaborations 21 Grammys 3 American Music Awards. Shawn Carter has done it all, he has won every award(some would count as critical acclaim) and played every major venue. During his career, he not only played the position of musician he was also the president of Def Jam Records.
During his tenure he would sign Kanye West, Rick Ross, and Young Jeezy, all of which would go on to success, proving his ear for talent. When I think of the great rappers of our time, I think of Biggie Smalls, Nas, Big Pun, Eminem, Jadakiss, and Big L. All of these artists had a superior command of rhyme schemes and compelling lyrics. The difference is Jay has been doing it consistently and longer than these other artists.
To be honest who knows what Biggie, Pun, or Big L would have produced if they had never died, but we will never know. We were never allowed to see how they would have evolved for better or worse. Jay Z has the distinction of longevity and a catalog of music that showed growth with each album and solid production that was sonically diverse. He has created performance art pieces at the MoMa (Museum of Modern Art) and used the Louvre of all places as the set for a collaboration with wife Beyonce. Very few artists have been able to elevate Hip Hop to the level fine art except Jean Michel Basquiat who also produced a rap record.
Decades in the rap game Jay Z has defied the stigma that rap is a young man’s game, interestingly enough no one ever says that about any other genre of music. But, his achievements have given an extension to the life cycle of rap artists. Tidal and Roc Nation are the streaming service and music management imprint that would also account for Jay-Z’s musical empire, giving him the ability to sign acts and distribute music digitally. Shawn Carter didn’t invent Hip Hop and Michael Jordan didn’t invent basketball, they just showed us how far you could take the game.