The ten best storytellers in hip-hop

Categories: Lists

4. Notorious B.I.G.
Biggie had a way of luring you into his world effortlessly with his tone and voice and the ways he puts words together. His flow is conversational. So when he raps a story, it's like you're seated at a smoky poker table, and he's on the opposite end telling it directly to you. In "Somebody's Gotta Die," Big plays a gangbanger who gets caught up in the rush and ultimate tragedy of revenge. He raps "I Got a Story to Tell" about his affair with the girl of a Knicks player. It sounds like it's probably true.

3 Raekwon and Ghostface Killah
It was too hard to choose between these two as the storytelling rep from Wu-Tang, so we paired them, partially because a lot of their best storytelling is done together like on their album Only Built for Cuban Linx. These two give a cinematic quality to their rhymes thanks to the quirky details they provide, like in "Shakey Dog," when Ghostface describes two men "on the couch watchin' Sanford & Son, passin' they rum, fried plantains and rice, big round onions on a t-bone steak." It's as if a polished novelist wrote the scene.


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26 comments
truth
truth

Agreed! Finally a writer in Westword that really knows Hip-Hop!! about damn time...

Colfax Jack
Colfax Jack

The Rhymesayers record label is full of great storytellers. Atmosphere's album "When Life Gives You Lemons..." is a great example of storytelling in hip-hop. But one of my favorite lines is from Brother Ali: "I write the raps for the ones Johnny Cash wore the black for."

David Avius Romero
David Avius Romero

Slick Rick, Brother Ali, Slug, Pac, B.I.G., Nas, Eminem, Jay Z, Black Thought, Will Smith. Runner UP: Masta Ace and

Andy Thomas
Andy Thomas

Snow. I never snitched again after hearing "Informer."

Jacob Ryan
Jacob Ryan

Kendrick, J.Cole. At least for today

Lynette Vigil
Lynette Vigil

Jay Z is HORRIBLE!!! He doesn't deserve to be on the list he cares more about getting rich, then he does about the craft of story telling

Tylr Tre
Tylr Tre

Hov ain't even on the list? ? Gtfoh.

Tylr Tre
Tylr Tre

Jay Z. No question about it.

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