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 10. LL Cool J



 9. Eminem


 8. Ice Cube



 7. Big Daddy Kane



 6. KRS-One



 5. Nas



 4. Rakim



 3. Notorious B.I.G.



 2. Tupac



 1. Jay-Z



  50 Cent, Nas, Mary J. Give Their 'Greatest MCs'



  MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust 2006



  Honorable Mentions



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  The Greatest Hip-Hop Albums Of All Time



  The MTV Hip-Hop Brain Trust 2005




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Rank: 8

estimonial
At his peak, he was the most gangsta, most militant, most prophetic and, most importantly, most intrepid MC of his time. His audacity was paralleled only by Chuck D of Public Enemy. He said he wanted to kill Uncle Sam and leave Hollywood sizzling in flames. He admonished a few cats for not being true to the game. Fans from the East and West had to bow down and heed the man with the Raiders cap, Jheri curl and scowl.

Co-Signer: Snoop Dogg
"Greatest MC of all time to me? I will say probably Ice Cube. Cube was hard in the paint. When he had it, he had it. He ran with that mutha----a. He was doing his thing. He was representing West Coast gangsta music on every level of the game. He went out and did a record with Public Enemy [AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted] and then came back with DJ Pooh and them and did a record [Death Certificate]. He went up against N.W.A by himself, formulated Da Lench Mob, put Mack 10 in the game, put Yo-Yo in the game. I have to say Ice Cube, 'cause he did great things."

100 Percent Proof
"They killed a homie that I went to school with (Damn!)/ I tell ya, life ain't sh-- to fool with/ I still hear the screams of his mother/ While my n---a lay dead in the gutter/ And it's getting to my temple/ Why is that the only time black folks get to ride in a limo?/ It makes me so mad I want to get my sawed-off/ And have some bodies hauled off/ But no, I pay my respects and I'm through/ Hug my crew, and maybe shed a tear or two."

— from "Dead Homiez" (from Kill at Will EP, 1990; also available on remastered edition of AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted)

Selected Catalog
*Straight Outta Compton (1989, with N.W.A), *AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted (1990), *Death Certificate (1991), The Predator (1992), *Lethal Injection (1993), *Bow Down (1996, with Westside Connection), War & Peace, Vol. 1 (The War Disc) (1998), War & Peace, Vol. 2 (The Peace Disc) (2000), Terrorist Threats (2003, with Westside Connection).

* = undeniable classic

You Tell Us
Have a problem with our choices? Got a better list? Let us know, and check back later for our readers' hip-hop top 10 lists.





NEXT: Ice-T says of the next MC, 'He's the most real cat ... Straight out of Brooklyn, soft-spoken — and he will devour you on the mic.' ...
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