The ten greatest East Coast rappers of all time
The East Coast, particularly New York, is the mecca of hip-hop. It is it's birthplace and still the most reliable source for pure, uncut, unadulterated rap music. Chronicling the great MCs from the region would result in a list of hundreds. Ranking the top ten proves somewhat limiting, but it's also an enjoyable task, comparing old with new and really weighing the merits and weaknesses of each. So while obviously there are more than ten East Coast rappers that deserve to be recognized, these are the ten greatest East Coast rappers of all time.
DMX has a reputation for not being a super tactful guy, but his rhymes are just the opposite -- or even if they are a product of the impulsive, drug-fueled DMX that the media knows, they are still somehow laced with the focused sensibility of a true poet. With DMX, there's always that question of just how great he could have become had he stayed clean -- or at least kept his drug habits under control. As it stands, he's still one of the best-selling rappers of all time. His debut, It's Dark and Hell is Hot, showcased his talent for creating both hit singles like "Ruff Ryders' Anthem" and imaginative, compelling stories like "Damien."
9. Big L
Big L had an understated, dry sense of humor that pervaded his rhymes, even at their blackest -- if he seemed slightly bemused at the thought of death, it was because he was in a state of permanent shock, "Street Struck," as he termed it. Technically, he was a top-notch rhymer, especially apt at crafting multisyllabic punch lines that were actually funny, unlike the usually masturbatory punchlines of today. Big L's subject matter was not generally high-brow, but he had a very sharp intellect. Although he was murdered before the release of his second album, The Big Picture, his talent was already apparent.
8. Big Pun
Big Pun only got the chance to see one of his albums get released, Capital Punishment, but what a release it was, one of the best of the decade. His quick, agile lyrics belied the heavy frame that ultimately killed him. He moved skillfully between words English and Spanish with an ease that showed that he was an adept wordsmith no matter which words he chose.