The ten most enigmatic figures in hip-hop

Categories: Lists

7. Blowfly
At one point, Clarence Reid was one of the most successful and renowned R&B writer/producers around, so what in the hell would make him want to put on a glittery, low-budget, super-villain costume and rap about which girl he performed cunnilingus on the previous night? Not only is Blowfly one of the most shamelessly obscene rappers in history (which is saying a lot), some claim he recorded the very first rap record in 1965 with "Rapp Dirty." Though, to most people, Blowfly is an unknown, he is a hero to many and a role model to some of your favorite rappers, having been played by their fathers countless times in secret. In 2011, the documentary The Weird World of Blowfly was created to shine a little more light on Reid, but the true nature of this strange, earnest and unapologetically nasty rapper remains, in large part, a mystery.

6. Death Grips
Completely inaccessible to most people on their first, second and third listen, the first thing most people say when they hear Death Grips is, "What lunatic conceived this unfortunate mess, and, more importantly, why?" Well, the "who" is Zach Hill (formerly of Hella), MC Ride and Flatlander. The "why" is still up for debate. Death Grips made waves with the release of their latest album No Love Deep Web. Supposedly, Epic, their label, wanted to push back the release to 2013 "sometime" instead of October 23, 2012, their intended release date, so Death Grips leaked their own album a month early with little prior warning, for free and with (presumably) one of their own swollen members on the front. Why? Why not.

5. RiFF RaFF
RiFF RaFF is either an intensely charismatic idiot or some sort of savant genius that won't be fully understood for another few years. Either way, his lyrics make no ostensible sense but still manage to capture you in their dazzling strangeness. RiFF is coated with colorful, pop-culture-refrencing tattoos that you wouldn't think any rational person would be caught dead in. Then again, he isn't necessarily a rational person. RiFF's celebrity began as a contestant on MTV's From G's to Gents, a reality show which aimed to transform raggedy G's to upstanding gentlemen. RiFF was quickly dismissed from the show as beyond repair. (And, yes, RiFF had the MTV tattoo on his neck before ever going on the show.)

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