How do you decide the top rappers in Africa? What criterion should you use? In this article I highlight some points that I believe can aid with the decision.
Inspired by our Top 50 rappers in Africa list.
Ranking rappers in Africa is not the easiest thing to do because you have several factors to contend with and consider including language, population and cultural differences and influences. Not forgetting corrupt leaders.
You can’t just wake up one morning and crown Jane Doe the greatest without considering some of these factors.
There’s also the curious case of the East. Everyone forgets about the East. The noise from the region just isn’t loud enough.
Blaqbonez makes reference to the failings of the East African media during his short-lived feud with Kenyan rapper Khaligraph Jones. “If you were smarter, man, you could’ve been big
The wise men in the Bible were recorded leaving the East.”
Now that we have the nuances out of the way. What’s the easiest method to use when deciding the best rappers in Africa? It’s never as straight forward as the usual North American debate, but here’s a quick outline I think can help you identify and rank the top rappers in Africa.
- Popularity – You can never rule out popularity. How big is the artist outside his country? You can’t be the GOAT when only five people listen to your music. If an artist is popular then he/she is likely doing something right.
- Longevity – At least ten plus years of consistent material, including guest verses. No hiding.
- Lyricism – A huge game-changer but not the most important. Tupac isn’t considered the most lyrical but he makes GOAT debates. Nevertheless you should still be able to manipulate a pen.
- Versatility – This is the one that keeps you relevant. Be flexible
- Life Of The Gladiator – You should always be ready for battle. If you’re the best people will come for your throne. You can’t be the GOAT if you’re scared to be involved in a rap beef. Beef is an essential element of rap. Tupac, Biggie, Nas, JAY-Z, KRS-ONE, Ice Cube, Drake, just to name a few have all been involved in rap beefs at some points in their careers. You can’t proclaim an artist the best if he hasn’t exhibited his skills against a formidable opponent.
- Influence – Your footprints on the continent determines your influence. Do people care about what you have to say on cultural and socioeconomic matters? Can you make an idea trend or stick? South African rapper Da L.E.S. Managed to do some of these and is now regarded as one of the most Influential African rappers of all time.
You can also look at classic projects but it’s hard to tell what’s a classic these days.
There you have it. Feel free to leave your comments and suggestions below.