The ten best storytellers in hip-hop
Like the other East Coast rappers that grace this list, Nas has the uncommon ability to place images in his listener's mind, like in "NY State of Mind," when his gun fails to fire, it's like you can see the jammed gun in your own hand. What sets Nas apart from even the best storytellers is his creativity in creating unusual conceits like "Rewind," where he tells a story in reverse, or "I Gave You Power," where he speaks from the perspective of the gun, ascribing human qualities to it that are surprisingly powerful and resonant.
1. Slick Rick
If Rakim is godfather of the modern flow, Slick Rick is the godfather of the modern story rap. Although by now, there are rappers who can arguably tell a story better than Rick, nobody does it with the charismatic flair that Rick does, and nobody creates entertaining dialogue like he does. His debut album, The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, introduced mainstream hip-hop to long-form storytelling. The album boasts a variety of tales from Rick escaping kidnap to make it to a show to a brief encounter with a fine woman at a pizza shop to a cautionary tale about robbery framed as a bedtime "Children's Story" that has been imitated countless times both in name and in theme.