Here are some MCs I really like, more or less in order of rising admiration:

  • Snoop
  • Gift of Gab
  • Big Pun
  • All the guys in Jurassic 5
  • MC Frontalot
  • Q-Tip
  • Dre
  • Big Boi
  • MCA
  • Aesop Rock

But here are my favorite MCs:

  • Eminem

Which, I mean, dammit. He is a bad person! He is a product of the same old system wherein white musicians from a black art form are cast in a near-messianic light! I want to have better taste than that, but I don’t. I came to this realization while listening to Recovery, an album composed almost entirely of the same self-excoriation and fury that marked “The Way I Am,” a song I am still not over. Except now he’s doing the whole thing in double-time. No one should be able to move their mouth that fast.

The only person who both raps and rivals Eminem for the #1 spot in my heart is Andre 3000, but despite his skills, it’s almost difficult to think of him as an MC. Big Boi is an excellent rapper, but Andre’s just so much more than that. When I want to listen to a rap album, I might put on Speakerboxxx or Lucious Leftfoot, but not The Love Below or Stankonia: they’re too musical, too much a part of the pop/rap/hip-hop slipstream. Even if you do include him, though, three of my top four are still white, which basically makes me as bad a person as Marshall Mathers. No wonder I identify.