When the term “mainstream” is used it can be shaded with different connotations . For today, mainstream will be defined by artists that have music played regularly on radio stations or have music videos on TV. There is certainly the possibility that better hip hop lyricists exist in the underground scene or in within the most informed communities of this particular genre.
The following is a list of the five best lyricists in mainstream hip hop:
5. Lupe Fiasco
From Chicago, this Lupe uses a tactical flow and ingenious lyrics that feature deep topics and a flare for speaking his mind on topics that matter. A different rap style with southern feel to the instrumentals gives Lupe the kind of versatility that will keep him around for years to come.
Best Tracks: Superstar, Kick/Push, Around My Way, The Show Goes On, Streets On Fire, The Words I Never Said
4. Andre 3000
A long-time member of rap duo Outkast (with Big Boi), Andre 3000 has recorded music as part of the group and solo while dabbling in acting more often recently and appearing on several mixtapes. He is known as a rapper with impetuous ability to enunciate while rhyming some of the toughest words with the instrumentals that define an entire region.
Best Tracks: Ms. Jackson, Rosa Parks, Hey Ya, Bombs Over Baghdad, Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik, So Fresh, So Clean
Known for carrying a book of words around as well as writing anything and everything that sounds remotely interesting, Em has the vocabulary of Webster’s and can rhyme any word, no matter how ridiculous. With harsher raps intended to poke fun of fellow rappers and celebs alike initially, Eminem has switched it up of recent and gone for a vibe that is sincere and vulnerable.
Best Tracks: My Name Is, The Way I Am, Stan, Go to Sleep, The Real Slim Shady, Not Afraid
Rapping over raw beats and real sounds of a harsh up-bringing, Nas speaks the truth with hard-hitting rhymes and very few soft moments. A battle-tested rap battler that has taken the battles with him everywhere he’s gone in his career, Nas still has unparalleled respect from his peers.
Best Tracks: Hate Me Now, If I Ruled the World, Made You Look, One Mic, Hip Hop is Dead, The World is Yours
1. Jay Z
With an empire that continues to grow and has recently branched out to the world of sports management, Jay has everything he could ever want, yet he still makes music. After several failed attempts at retiring, the world famous name-dropping rapper continues to make hits with the recent Magna Carta Holy Grail album just released. Signature pauses and sound effects are heard throughout his music from the beginning to the present. The best rapper alive before that little twerp Lil’ Wayne decided he was the best; Jay-Z combines the tough, harsher realities of the streets with the glitz and glamour of being married to one of the most attractive and successful females in music.
Best Tracks: I Just Died in Your Arms Tonight (Remix), Money, Cash Hoes, 99 Problems, Hard Knock Life, City Is Mine, Heart of the City
Other notable rappers in no particular order: Talib Kweli, Snoop Dogg (or Lion), Drake, Rick Ross, Ludacris, 50 Cent, Method Man, Redman, Busta Rhymes, Lil’ Wayne, T.I., Kanye West, Common, Mos Def, Jadakiss