The ten most underrated rappers of all time

Categories: Lists

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What contributes to a rapper's underrated status? Is it the unwillingness to compromise? The inability to compromise? An early demise? Bad promotion? Possibly all of these things and more? Whatever the case, with these rappers, it's certainly not for a lack of talent. We put together a list of the ten most underrated rappers of all time, ranked by their status as compared to their skill level. Continue on to see who made the list.

See also:
- The ten most enigmatic figures in hip-hop
- The ten greatest Southern rappers of all time
- The ten best storytellers in hip-hop

10. Black Thought
Black Thought would rank higher, but the Roots are one of the most beloved crossover hip-hop acts today, and everybody knows who they are as a group, but Black Thought himself is not a household name -- which is a shame, because he's the complete package as an MC: His flow is like a multi-layer tapestry of constantly switching schemes and internal rhyme; he's never at a loss for important things to say; and the words he uses are fresh, original and arranged in unexpected ways. He's even a proficient freestyler, which is quickly becoming a lost art.

9. Cage
Cage is not an easy pill to swallow, and that's probably what prevented his career from really taking off -- that and an untimely beef with Eminem. But if you're in a bad mood, and you feel, for whatever reason, like you need to be surrounded by hateful things, it doesn't get any better than Movies for the Blind, particularly "Agent Orange," which is brutally violent yet startlingly precise. With few exceptions, the whole album is on point. But whatever hardcore fans Cage gained from Movies, he lost a fair few by turning from bitter vitriol to a more contemplative MC, and then, tragically, with his latest release, emo. But the early Cage of the Weathermen and Leak Bros fame was a sight to behold, a beast in the truest sense of the word.

8. Mac Dre
Don't let Mac Dre's ordinary-sounding name fool you: He's one of the most innovative, charismatic hip-hop artists in recent history. One of the pioneers of the irresistibly idiosyncratic hyphy movement, Mac Dre is still a hero in the Bay Area, where his renown is comparable only to the likes of an E-40 or Mistah F.A.B., both of whom could also be contenders for this list. Dre became a legend when, while serving time in prison, he recorded many of the vocals for his Young Black Brotha album over the phone. Dre recorded twelve solo albums before he was shot and killed while riding in his car. It's not a case of quantity over quality with albums like Ronald Dregan: Dreganomics, which have massive crossover appeal. Once you fall in love with his style, most all of them slap.


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116 comments
Matthew Hout
Matthew Hout

Dr Octagon was the best! I forgot about that album. Wow

Jim Dale
Jim Dale

Don't know that there are any.

Blazar Seeda
Blazar Seeda

KOOL KEITH is under-rated. He has just refused the main stream. He ripped up to tickets to the grammy awards. He is a legend.

Jim Kelly
Jim Kelly

Debbie Harry, star of the first rap video.

Jeff Brink
Jeff Brink

Gotta go with Gift of Gab...who's not even listed!!!!

Randall Erkelens
Randall Erkelens

Not sure.. but I bet it has something to do with Trader Joes.

Chad Hoagland
Chad Hoagland

This is stupid how many times are you going to post this same article?

Dominic Lopez
Dominic Lopez

dmx because of his constant battle with the law

Ryan Patrick
Ryan Patrick

Dylon, dylon, dylon, dylon, dylon, dylon, dylon, dylon, dylon, and dylon

Paul Muro
Paul Muro

Sage Francis, 2-Mex, Onry Ozzborn.

Anthony Anrig
Anthony Anrig

Underrated? Common, guru, mos def, big L and black thought (to me) have all reached more fame than most the cats on this list. Can't even THINK let alone listen to Gang Starr/Guru without hearing Guru say "Big L, Rest in Peace". But maybe that's just a thing for us heads. That being said, Hard To Earn turns 20, this year, how crazy is that?!? Gonna go listen to Mac Dre now speaking of Yay Area hip hop. That being said don't miss out: Andre Nickatina is performing march 28th at Cervantes, and 29th at Aggie in Fort Collins!

Jordan Craft
Jordan Craft

not a great list..missing some names..Common, Guru, Mos Def, Big L..Black Thought should have been way higher..I dig ZRo the Crooked on there though

Scott Harwood
Scott Harwood

Wow so moving. What a great article!!!!! I was just wondering that. Right up there with time travel and the meaning of life.

residentwhat
residentwhat

did you know that the Quran rhymes in a rap manner?..Rap is godly..you should skip the music and read Rap songs lyrics online like a book 

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