A question that many rap fanatics have routinely debated about and argued over the ages is ‘who is the most underrated MC – ever?’. Personal favourites are often touted as the most understated and unappreciated artists of all time, but first we must define what the meaning of underrated actually is.
Underrated (verb): To underestimate the extent, value, or importance of (someone or something): “a very underrated film”. To be under the radar and under accredited by the masses.
Many emcees and rappers that are deemed underrated are simply unrecognised. For example, many underground or alternative hip-hop acts are deemed underrated. However the majority of the population, even those who are professed fans of hip-hop music, are unaware of these artists, as they have chosen to forgo popularity so they can maintain artistic integrity. Frequently underrated artists are those who have come to the public consciousness but have for some reason not been adorned with the praise that should be in concordance with their talent the following fill this criteria.
I will be listing my top ten underrated MCs, but first, I will make some honourable mentions:
The D.O.C – not only one of the west coast’s best hip-hop lyricists but one of the best overall, had it not been for his accident which damaged his voice.
Lauryn Hill – best female emcee of all time and one of hip-hop’s best exports overall.
Lord Finesse – mentor to Big L and punchline rap pioneer.
Bun B – one of the greatest southern emcees alive; mainly overlooked due to southern raps image; had a lot of big singles and very consistent albums.
The Clipse – primarily seen as just coke and hustle rappers, Malice’s introspect and Pusha T with the metaphors and wordplay make one of hip hops best ever, but underrated, groups.
Killer Mike – one of the most versatile, consistent emcees and potent lyricists from the south.
Ludacris – brilliant flow at any pace, Redman-esque humour and wit with punchlines and metaphors for days should be rated more, but hampered by acting roles.
Mac Mall -extremely underrated west coast emcee and an affiliate of 2Pac, who was unfortunately killed.
Xzibit – grossly underrated west coast emcee; very technical, but now mainly seen as the Pimp My Ride host, not a rapper.
Snoop Dogg – underrated flow and hit making abilities with good narrative skills plus a hip-hop classic to his name; portrayed as a weed head.
Let’s crack on with underrated MC #10 – TREACH:
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This was the most difficult inclusion as it it is number 10, and I felt there were many viable options such as Ludacris who narrowly missed out mainly due to the longevity of Treach and the fact I feel Treach has the ability to be light hearted and serious yet still convey the same sincerity. Treach is underrated mainly because of the other seminal groups around at the time such as Wu Tang, A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul who had most of the shine. Treach was the primary emcee in the 90s seminal group, but many may now know him more for his acting roles now. In his day he was a ferocious emcee known for his rapid fire raps, especially displayed in the song Yoke the Joker, and yet could make a good summer jam like Feel me Flow and could also make a heartfelt tribute like Mourn U Til I Join U in light of 2Pac’s death. Treach was instrumental in classic albums like Naughty by Nature, Naughty III and Poverty’s Paradise. Treach’s rapping technique consists of complex rhyme patterns, slant rhymes, punchlines, polysyllabic flows and rhythms. His style is still present today in rappers such as Tech 9ne, Elzhi and Eminem. Treach is a true emcee and a under-appreciated master of emceeing.
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