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#1 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6311 posts) -


#2 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6311 posts) -

I’ve become quite the hip-hop head over the past year, and if there’s one thing I’ve noticed about the whole underground scene, it’s that people are constantly bitching about how lyricists get snubbed from the public eye while bullshit tracks with hot beats steal the spotlight. Personally, I’m not nearly as jaded as these people. I’m the kind of guy who can appreciate just about any style of hip-hop from Immortal Technique to Waka Flocka Flame. I think that the diversity in hip-hop is what makes it such an incredible artform and that any artist who is being themselves should have a chance to shine.

But I know that this is not the case for everyone. Even though I do love a great club banger (I think Tinie Tempah is one of the best party MC’s around right now) what I love even more is a great lyrical track. I love it when I can’t predict what a rapper is going to rhyme his next line with. There’s certain rhymes that just immediately turn me off. Rhyming “Get by” with “Get high” is a prime example of this. Although if the beat is catchy enough and the rapper has a solid enough delivery (i.e. Meek Mill, Waka, Redman) I’m willing to overlook it. While I do love some straight-up ignorant rap tracks I’ll always be a fan of lyricism above all. Still, I’d rather someone like Waka or Gucci Mane rap about drugs and cars than ever try to be something they’re not. And don’t even get me started on Rick Ross.

So to all of Giant Bomb’s hip-hop heads: what do you value most in your tracks? Or do you want the whole thing to be a complete package?

#3 Edited by Devil240Z (3440 posts) -

Mostly the beat. But meaningful lyrics often make the song for me.

Basically what you said...

Online
#4 Posted by juice8367 (446 posts) -

The flow & the beat is what hooks me to a song

#5 Posted by Nightriff (5365 posts) -

A good beat is hard to top

#6 Posted by JasonR86 (9729 posts) -

I guess I'm too white but the music and not the beat exactly. Plus how the rapper works with the music. It's the same thing I look for in any other song.

Online
#7 Posted by kidman (475 posts) -

I like when it's silly, a bit retarded.

#8 Posted by Euphorio (76 posts) -

Yeah I'm a fan of good beats. I mean I love lyrics just as much as the rest, and a smart lyrical song will catch my interest far more than any cool beat, dumb lyric song. I think, and it’s probably just me, that Childish Gambino’s stuff is just crazy. He’s probably the smartest rapper out, if you can call him a full rapper, but he doesn’t have too deep a beat behind him usually. On the other hand, I really can’t stand Tyler the Creator, and I’m sure I’ll catch shit for that too. I just can’t get into it.

I also think Waka Flocka is dumb as bricks, but his beats r awesome…so I like him from time to time

#9 Edited by pyromagnestir (4339 posts) -

In most music lyrics just tend to wash over me, so hip hop is no different. The beat is usually what catches my ear, initially. And if it's good enough, I'll overlook everything else.

I tend to prefer lyrics be funny or nonsensical or really abstract anyhow. As the more coherent the message, the more trite the lyrics seem, to me.

That being said, when everything comes together to make the perfect package, it adds a little something extra.

I'd like to add that the flow of the lyrics I find to be part of the overall "music" of the song. So for me beat and flow kinda go hand in hand.

#10 Posted by Mesoian (1574 posts) -

Generally the flow. That's why I can listen to stuff like Mystikal and Big Mike and enjoy it. But it depends on the artist as well. I love El-P and Aesop Rock due to their super intelligent lyrics. I like it when Blockhead completely swoops in and saves an otherwise terrible rap song by redoing the beat or the hook. I love it when thehoodinternet mashes stuff up perfectly (and hate it when they fail spectacularly).

It's the fun thing about hiphop, there are so many different factors that can make a song sound great.

#11 Edited by RandomInternetUser (6789 posts) -

To be a truly great song, E. However, lyrics are most important to me. (Edit: Followed by the flow, then the beat, and then the hook.)

#12 Posted by Brodehouse (10134 posts) -

Fat beats.

And also they have to be mashed with teeny pop songs.

So basically Party and Bullshit in the USA. Go YouTube it right now.

#13 Posted by Harkat (1121 posts) -

Well, a good beat doesn't mean a party-beat. My favorite Hip-Hop albums are Illmatic (duh) and Madvillainy, both of which have amazing beats (epsecially Madvillainy) AND great lyrics.

#14 Posted by ManU_Fan10ne (659 posts) -

Lyrics....most of the songs out now all have to do with smoking pot and getting laid, im kind of tired of it.

#15 Edited by DeF (4979 posts) -

It kinda needs it all.

But ultimately, you can have a totally dope song with stupid-ass lyrics (take a lot of Gangsta Rap, for example) but if the beat sounds like someone is hitting a GameBoy playing Tetris with a baseball bat in space and the person on the mic sounds like he just woke up after a night of drowning in cough-syrup and is trying to communicate with an empty can of beans (you may deduce from this that I'm not a fan of Lil' Wayne), the song will most likely suck.

Although one thing you didn't list is: the voice! The voice is so incredibly important. People like Rakim, Guru, 2Pac and Snoop Dogg are easy to listen to and enjoy because their voice has character and sounds pleasant. A good example for this is songs by Crooked I's crew, the Horshoe Gang. They all pretty much rap just like him with double time flows to make your head spin and punch lines like few others but the energy in Crooked's voice just makes him stand out every time he is featured on one of their songs. That raw energy from the pit of the stomach. That's also why I can't listen to Trae the Truth for example. That deep voice with the lisp just irritates the shit out of me even though his flow is on point overall and the beats are okay as well.

#16 Posted by myketuna (1759 posts) -

Lyrically, I favor crazy amounts of multis and/or real complex subject matter. Also, a faster than average flow. Most rappers don't rap like that anymore. So I'll usually look for a real cool beat. Which leads to the stuff I like in beats that I won't go into. But if I really like a beat, I can always get or loop an instrumental together. I can't really listen to an acapella

#17 Edited by Mageman (349 posts) -

Lyrics, Flow and Beat I guess ?

I'm not that knowledgeable about hip hop but this is really the best hip song ever imho, so what ever this does right.

#18 Posted by Danteveli (1205 posts) -

lyrics

This is why I just dont get all that hipster rap.

Still I dont mind Cam'ron type crap during parties cuz "I keep computers putin"

#19 Posted by Demoskinos (15166 posts) -

All of it. I like Hip-hop but I also don't like Hip-hop that is just consantly talking about how many bitches and money that they get. That shit gets old. Eminiem, Kanye and Odd Future are the short list of things I like in the Hip-hop scene. Eminem had a huge rough patch where he was really awful but Recovery was a great comeback. "French" is still one of my favorite Odd Future songs. Tyler and Hodgy fucking kill that track.

#20 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

I'm generally not one for hip-hop, but it's certainly a lot better than rap. With that said

Lyrics, it's kind of the point isn't it?

But then again.

#21 Posted by david3cm (636 posts) -

How come "it was made before 2001" isnt on this list?

#22 Edited by Svenzon (731 posts) -

Everything is important, but I've always had a soft spot for good flow. A good flow can make me ignore a lacklustre beat and mediocre lyrics.

Edit: As long as the emcee has a good voice to match it, that is.

#23 Edited by Chumm (245 posts) -

The beat is like a taco shell, you can dump the filling out on a plate with no shell and it better still be good. METAPHORS.

Edit: Also I just heard someone listening to that Immortal Technique track in their car like an hour ago, if that's a sign it's a pretty fucked up sign.

#24 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6311 posts) -

@Euphorio said:

Yeah I'm a fan of good beats. I mean I love lyrics just as much as the rest, and a smart lyrical song will catch my interest far more than any cool beat, dumb lyric song. I think, and it’s probably just me, that Childish Gambino’s stuff is just crazy. He’s probably the smartest rapper out, if you can call him a full rapper, but he doesn’t have too deep a beat behind him usually. On the other hand, I really can’t stand Tyler the Creator, and I’m sure I’ll catch shit for that too. I just can’t get into it.

I also think Waka Flocka is dumb as bricks, but his beats r awesome…so I like him from time to time

Childish Gambino is a bit too lighthearted for my tastes, but damn does he have some great punchlines. As far as Tyler and the OF crew go I'm pretty picky about them. Tyler has some great songs and the other guys have their moments but I mostly like them for their balls-to-the-wall live performances now more than anything. And the great thing about Waka is that he's well aware of the fact that he sucks as a writer but his charisma and energy make up for that. Him and Lex Luger work incredibly well together.

@DeF: Pac's voice made up for a lot of repetition in his rhymes, and it's funny how so many rappers coming after him tried to bite his delivery. Chronic/Doggystyle era Snoop had some of the best flows ever, even if his lyrics are pretty much interchangeable from song to song. Guru has a one-of a kind voice but I find a lot of Gangstarr's stuff to be a bit too preachy for my tastes. Then again, that's conscious rap meant for black kids in hard spots, which is hardly what I am anyway. That and I really just can't stand most of DJ Premier's beats. The dude hasn't seemed to evolve his style since the '90's and it shows. Still, you gotta respect the legends even if you don't vibe their shit. Crooked I, though....There's a rapper that'll take your fucking head off...

@myketuna: So are you into Twista, Tech N9ne, Busta, etc.? They don't have very complex lyrical subject matter but they spit faster than most anyone in the game right now. You ever hear Worldwide Choppers? Yelawolf ain't no slouch either...

@Mageman: Ah, Canibus. I'm pretty torn about what I think of that dude. He's got some truly great lyrics for sure, but did you happen to see the video of him pulling out a notepad during a FREESTYLE battle over the weekend? It was a pay-per-view battle too, which made things even worse. He can write like a motherfucker but he's bitten Redman before (Raw to the floor raw like reservoir dogs!) and done some slimy shit over the years. Eminem bodied him when they had that beef all the way back. I feel as though he's one of those rappers that's so wrapped up in writing the most intelligent lyrics possible that he lost sight of what makes a truly good song. That being said, the track you embedded is pretty good, and if you like him chances are you'll love Immortal Technique. This is the song EVERYONE knows by him, but the storytelling is done so well that it'll haunt you long after the song ends. Also, the hidden track with Diabolic on the end is straight fire.

#25 Posted by Everyones_A_Critic (6311 posts) -

@david3cm said:

How come "it was made before 2001" isnt on this list?

Because there's been plenty of rap made after that point that beats the shit out of tracks from the so-called "Golden Age" ;) No animosity intended, just saying that if you can't find good hip-hop these days you aren't looking hard enough. Or even at all. The standard for lyricism has gone up so high over the years due to an overly saturated market and an influx of underground rappers who "spit that real hip-hop". All it takes is a peek past the iTunes top 10 and you're guaranteed to find something you like.

#26 Posted by McGhee (6075 posts) -

dat hot stinky cheddar

#27 Posted by AhmadMetallic (18954 posts) -

The only Hip Hop artists I like (nay, love) is Nas, because of the lyrics.

#28 Posted by wjb (1697 posts) -

Obviously it needs to send a positive message, respect the women of the world, and come from proper role models that help shape their community.

#29 Edited by Fattony12000 (7580 posts) -
#30 Posted by TobbRobb (4850 posts) -
#31 Edited by Tesla (1945 posts) -

My favorite thing in a rap song is a good soul/funk/jazz sample. Nothing beats a good sample. Masta Ace dropping some Fiddler on the Roof for the hook? Yup.

Sadly this is not very common any longer.

-edit-

I believe it was Cunninglynguists that did Sunrise/Sunset, not Masta Ace. A thousand apologies.

#32 Posted by BraveToaster (12588 posts) -

It all depends on the mood I'm in. The crazy beats are good for work-out music, and the lyrical songs are more for relaxing and thinking about life.

#33 Posted by Dexter_Morgan_ (313 posts) -

I really hate Hip Hop, but for rap music I like me some lyrics that make sense. If you truly are a great rapper, the beats and the flow will come naturally as something subjective.

Immortal Technique

Pre-Crisis Eminem

Pre-Crisis Lupe Fiasco

Atmosphere

El-P

#34 Posted by addictedtopinescent (3645 posts) -

I can enjoy mostly anything, depending on what mood I'm in. For exemple my favorite rapper ever is MF Doom, for his lyrics, rhymes and the beats he rhymes on.

Also some of my other favorite artists are Outkast or Wu-Tang Clan. I can appreciate Pac but I've always preffered Big and Nas. I'm also a big fan of the first two Clipse albums. I like the Alchemist and Clams Casino as far as current producers go. I guess that says enough about my tastes to hip-hop heads.

As for the new artists I really like Danny Brown, Freddie Gibbs, Big K.R.I.T, Action Bronson, Mr Muthatfuckin Exquire the whole TDE/Black Hippy crew, check it (Skip to like 1:45 for the song to start)

So you could say I enjoy flows and lyrics the most. This is a track from my favorite album from last year (or two years ago whatever), check this dude out if you're into 90's New-York hip-hop:

Only thing I really have no fucks to give about is hooks, the hook can be whatever I really never pay much attention to it.

Things I hate though: Drake, Lil Wayne, Nikki Minaj, Birdman, Kreayshawn, Gucci Mane...

#35 Posted by S0ndor (2716 posts) -

No Lil' Wayne.

#36 Posted by Meowshi (2911 posts) -

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

I'm generally not one for hip-hop, but it's certainly a lot better than rap. With that said

When people act like these are two different genres, I roll my eyes.

#37 Posted by NegativeCero (3039 posts) -

If I had to choose it would be equal parts lyrics and flow. But a good beat can make a song so much better, but it's less important to me.

#38 Posted by DBagalot (158 posts) -

I like hip hop that have real messages to them. Also, the one's that can skillfully use words/rhymes to their advantage without cursing in every verse.

Not a big fan of Lil' Wayne.

I don't listen to any radio

I like the Classic/Retro stuff and the Imitations.

#39 Posted by pyromagnestir (4339 posts) -

@david3cm said:

How come "it was made before 2001" isnt on this list?

Because MF Doom.

#40 Edited by Chop (1998 posts) -

When it comes to the particular sub set of hip hop I love, the producer is almost always the credited artist and the Emcees are just guests.

So, yeah, the beat is absolutely the most important thing to me. In fact, If I were to give you a top five list of my favorite hip hop tracks, 4 of them would be instrumentals.

#41 Edited by JacDG (2130 posts) -

You need it all to be a successful artist that I will be interested in listening to for a prolonged amount of time (becoming a fan, if you will), if the production is boring/not me, I won't be interested in hearing the lyrics, and if the lyrics are shit but the beat is on point I probably will listen to it, but that is most likely party music and not something I will put on whilst alone, which is how I mostly listen to music. I think the voice should be a part of it too, because some rappers are fucking amazing, but their voice really puts me off (see Danny Brown, Ab-Soul)

@Meowshi said:

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

I'm generally not one for hip-hop, but it's certainly a lot better than rap. With that said

When people act like these are two different genres, I roll my eyes.

I was thinking the same thing..

#42 Edited by TheDudeOfGaming (6078 posts) -

@JacDG said:

@Meowshi said:

@TheDudeOfGaming said:

I'm generally not one for hip-hop, but it's certainly a lot better than rap. With that said

When people act like these are two different genres, I roll my eyes.

I was thinking the same thing..

I'll just leave this here.

#43 Posted by Mageman (349 posts) -

Well no, I really only casually listen to hip-hop, I don't care much of what goes on in the community or behind the scenes but I find that he puts a lot of thought into his lyrics, they do at times make you grow a neckbeard faster but I still like them heh. I also like Immortal Technique, Mf Doom (and Madvillain, I really like their combined album), JMT, Aesop Rock and some others. Basically a casual array of imageboard hiphop if you can call it that.

#44 Posted by smitty86 (695 posts) -

In all of my time listening to music and even though it slightly pains me to say it, I've found that the beat is the most important part of not just a rap/hip-hop song but any song, probably followed by the hook. Lyrics are the clearest and smoothest way to turn good songs into elite/legendary/classic songs. I love to pride myself on lyrics at times but is easy to see how the beat of a song will be the driving force behind it.

Two examples of this: I generally enjoy Aesop Rock but will freely and openly admit that he is on another level of simply wordsmithing than I can't even pretend to always understand (though in my defense he also does not enunciate in the most clearest manner). But even though I may, nay still, have no idea what "link me to activism chain activate street sweep, Plug deteriorating zenith bent Pendragon" means in anyway, I can still fully enjoy the hell out of Daylight. On the other hand, I love Jay-Z's The Black Album but "Justify My Thug" sounds like pure shit and even though he is saying some great stuff in it, I can't ever bring myself to listen to it. Instant skip all the time.

#45 Posted by david3cm (636 posts) -

@Everyones_A_Critic: I agree that there are great artists out now, but most of my favorite rap or hip-hop is in the form of pre-2000s Eminem, Jay-Z, Nas, Gangstarr, Mos Def, Wu-Tang, OutKast, ect. I'm really enjoying Kendrick Lamar, Jay Electronica, Ab-Soul, but I really miss storytelling in hip-hop.

#46 Posted by myketuna (1759 posts) -
@Everyones_A_Critic I do like all of those dudes delivery/flow, but yeah some of the shit they rap about is not very good. Also, most of their beats aren't as nice as I would like. But based on speed alone, very few come close.
#47 Edited by jakob187 (21763 posts) -

For the most part, I just like a good beat. At the same time, that beat needs a good flow on it. However, if they can mix everything together on a track, then I'm more than happy with it.

#48 Posted by ManU_Fan10ne (659 posts) -

@DBagalot said:

I like hip hop that have real messages to them. Also, the one's that can skillfully use words/rhymes to their advantage without cursing in every verse.

Not a big fan of Lil' Wayne.

I don't listen to any radio

I like the Classic/Retro stuff and the Imitations.

lupe Fiasco does this very well, the real messages and the nice rhymes without a lot of cussing.

Lupe Fiasco's The Cool is my fav

#49 Posted by crusader8463 (14429 posts) -

That it's not hip-hop.

#50 Posted by Clinkz (1118 posts) -

Definitely the beat. If the beat sucks, I'm not interested in the lyrics- its the same with rock music and melody or riffs.