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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: 7

estimonial
Dookie gold chains, four-fingered rings, bespoke suits and more girls than Archbishop Don "Magic" Juan could imagine — Kane was the smoothest cat in rap back in the day. But let's not get it twisted: The Prince of Darkness lived up to his song title of being "raw." He could bend words at a rapid pace but never sacrificed lyricism when he wanted to kick his gutter dialogues. The man with rap's flyest flattop (at least in 1989) was criticized for hollering at the ladies too much toward the end of his career, but listening to all the MCs who make records for women nowadays, it's clear Kane was ahead of his time. Put your weight on it!

Co-Signer: Ice-T
"To me, Big Daddy Kane is still today one of the best rappers. I would put Big Daddy Kane against any rapper in a battle. Jay-Z, Nas, Eminem, any of them. I actually met Jay-Z with Kane. Kane brought Jay-Z over to my house. But nobody wants to see Kane. I could take 'Raw' right now and put it up against any record [from today]. Kane is one of the most incredible lyricists, the most real cat if you ever get a chance to meet him. Straight out of Brooklyn, soft-spoken and he will devour you on the mic. I don't want to try to out-rap Big Daddy Kane. I may out-dress him, but I'm not gonna try to out-rap him. Big Daddy Kane can rap circles around cats."

100 Percent Proof
"Rappers today be comin' as the gangster-rhyme type/ And be so soft, they wouldn't even kill time right/ Here's the news, you lettin' the word 'hardcore' be misused/ You ain't never paid dues/ Be for real, you ain't tough yet/ The razor bumps on your throat is the only thing makin' you a roughneck/ Your whole image is a dammmmmn sham/ I'm glad in this business I didn't forget who I am/ I always remain the Kane inside a battle/ 'Never to walk in anyone's
shadow!' "

— from "Lyrical Gymnastics" (from Daddy's Home, 1994)

Selected Catalog
*Long Live the Kane (1988), *It's a Big Daddy Thing (1989), *Taste of Chocolate (1990), Prince of Darkness (1991), Looks Like a Job For ... (1993), Daddy's Home (1994), Veteranz Day (1998), The Man, The Icon (2002).

* = undeniable classic

You Tell Us
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NEXT: Jadakiss says of MC #6, 'He was the teacher; he was dangerous.' ...
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