It’s one thing to write rap lyrics that are catchy and something that you can nod your head to. It’s a totally different animal to construct a hip-hop track that tells an intriguing story while also having a harmonious flow. Not every rapper has the talent or skill set to tell a compelling story through a song. In the history of rap, certain rappers have excelled at storytelling, and on Thursday, the internet tipped their cap to these brilliant hip-hop raconteurs.
Early on Thursday morning, the Twitter account for XXL Magazine asked the question: “Who is the best storyteller in hip-hop?”
The internet was quick to respond with their favorite rappers who they believe to be the greatest rap storytellers. There were hip-hop fans making cases for Kendrick Lamar, Eminem, J. Cole, Nas, Kanye West, Biggie Smalls, Ice Cube, Jay-Z, Tupac Shakur, Fresh Prince, Immortal Technique, Offset, Scarface, and Meek Mill.
Based on only eyeing up the replies to the XXL Magazine tweet, it appears the rankings of the best storytellers in rap are:
5.) 2pac (Brenda’s Got a Baby)
4.) Eminem (Stan)
3.) Nas (I Gave You Power)
2.) Kendrick Lamar (Keisha’s Song)
1.) Slick Rick (Children’s Story)
The responses seemed to declare Slick Rick to be the overwhelming winner as the best storyteller in rap. The British-accented lyricist from the Bronx has spun tales through hip-hop songs since the mid-1980s and broke out with his instant classic The Great Adventures of Slick Rick, which hit No. 1 spot on Billboard’s R&B/Hip-Hop chart in 1988. Rick the Ruler was famously known for his storytelling ways as heard in Children’s Story, The Moment I Feared, and Mona Lisa.