Disclaimer: This list is completely opinion based and is created with lyrical content and rhythmic talent valued most. If you have a problem with some of the choices… congratulations.
10) A$AP Rocky
8) Kanye West
7) Lupe Fiasco
There is no doubt that Drake sits at the top of rap music right now (as explained in the article Drake Runs the World in the previous issue of the Barque). However, world dominance does not guarantee a coveted top spot on this list. The 6 God is a master of the media. His seductive voice and slick dance moves are akin to no other. But while Kendrick Lamar speaks about police brutality and racial stereotypes, Drake is busy not answering the phone when that hotline bling and making sure we know YOLO.
Arguably the least recognizable name on this list, Logic is also the arguably most lyrically talented. His late 2015 album, “The Incredible True Story”, beautifully paints the picture of a young man’s journey to success. Unlike the vast majority of mainstream rap, catchy beats and a meaty bass line take a back seat to the message Logic wishes to convey. Every single line gives insight into the life of the almost famous. His own words depict it perfectly, but soon enough the “Young Sinatra” will shine under the A list spotlight.
3) Childish Gambino
Along with his role on NBC’s Community, Donald Glover showcases his plethora of talents as a rapper under the stage name, Childish Gambino. Glover is the undisputed king of the pun (Lil Wayne’s don’t count). Similar to a great movie, each of Gambino’s tracks require numerous listens, each time revealing new meaning within his masterful wordplay. It would not be a stretch to say Childish Gambino is the most multifaceted on this list of greats. His award winning acting skills and angelic singing voice only make his lyrical prowess more impressive.
2) J Cole
After releasing arguably the hottest album of 2014, “2014 Forest Hills Drive”, Cole has officially emerged from the sea of B-list rappers as one the best lyricists in the game. Like the best on this list, J Cole takes on a variety of social issues ranging from racism to abortion. Cole epitomizes what rap was intended to be… Poetry. The beginning of this young poet’s career has been miles past promising and the future looks bright for one of rap’s greatest stars.
1) Kendrick Lamar
The king of modern rap, Kendrick Lamar dreams in rhyme. In terms of lyrical genius and pure talent there is none better than Kendrick. His poems are an anthem to whatever issue his mind has been pondering. His most recent album, “To Pimp a Butterfly”, wasn’t as celebrated as the masterpiece that is “Good Kid M.A.A.D. City”, but those who listen for more than a catchy hook are rewarded with a manifesto to social justice. Few others in this world can put their thoughts into word the way that Kendrick can, and a collaboration album featuring Lamar and J Cole is allegedly dropping this February so you better prepare your minds to be blown.