#3: TRAGEDY KHADAFI
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This emcee is supremely underrated. He was the youngest member of the infamous juice crew at the age of fourteen which included greats like Kool G Rap and Masta Ace. He is one of the most important figures in east coast hip-hop, especially to his native Queensbridge. He was an early influence of Nas, Mobb Deep, Cormega and CNN. He was the man who coined the term ‘illmatic’, then Nas used it as the title of his album.
Tragedy is ranked below my #2 due to his lack of ability to seize the opportunity he had to get into the public consciousness when he was in the juice crew due to prison stints – otherwise he’d 2 and 3 would have been switched. His content is very heavy, usually concerning mistrust for the American state as well as infusing many black theologies of the time such as the doctrine of the Nation of Islam and the Nation of Gods and Earths two doctrines, which were heavily influential to hip-hop. His style is marked by a conversational tone and vivid imagery and wordplay, and strong narratives, clear enunciation and metaphors, much like Nas. He is an underrated legend of east coast hardcore hip-hop.
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