Top 10 Hip Hop Groups Of All Time
The team at MusicEyz love their Hip Hop everything from the likes of Arrested Development and Fugees through to 2 Live Crew and Wu Tang Clan. However we can never agree who the best are, so being Ed I have decided to take the bull by the horns and list my own Top 10. Feel free to dismiss this in the comments or list your own.
Here we go in reverse order
10 Cypress Hill
When I first heard Cypress Hill, I must admit I didn’t really get it. The minimalistic tunes and the whiney rapping actually annoyed me. At the time I was really in to my hard Hip Hop and this just annoyed the hell out of me. Over time I warmed to them and as time has moved on, I look back with fondness and still find myself listening to ‘Kill a Man’ and the like on my iPod
9 The Fugees
The Fugees are a real pop driven Hip Hop act and their inclusion in this list even surprises me. To be honest Lauryn Hill is the difference here, she elevates average rhymes to a whole new level. The production on ‘The Score’ was awesome and you would struggle to speak to friends about whether Lauryn could rap better than she could sing or vice-versa. The main reason for their inclusion has to be ‘Killing Me Softly’. I first heard the track upstairs in HMV whilst looking for a Jeru track and the guys put this on. It literally stopped me in my tracks, the bass was loaded and Lauryn captivated me.
Gangstarr the combination of Premier and Guru. Absolutely classic tunes in their time and again still present in my current listening. The fact that Guru went on to blow the genre apart with his ‘Jazzmatazz’ albums shows true genius. Guru’s stunningly smooth delivery also meant the tracks were credible whilst being something you could listen to in all types of company.
Together Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith were brilliant, Parrish aka PMD didn’t enjoy the same longevity as Erick. Their rhymes were slick but also laced with humour, kind of rap you would hear in local clubs, only delivered with a presence that a superstar could manage. The fact the Erick continued and brought us the likes of Keith Murray and Redman (Reggie Noble) puts them in this bracket.
6 De La Soul
Whilst not a choice in many people’s top Hip Hop acts, De La Soul countered all the aggresive early hardcore Hip Hop with a real game change album in ‘3 Feet High and Rising’, this lead to what the media described as Daisy Rap. Containing tracks such as ‘Eye Know’ and ‘Magic Number’ this probably gave Hip Hop to the masses. Whilst follow-up albums weren’t as impressive, the original album was so influential they deserve a place in this Top 10
5 Mobb Deep
Another controversial choice and I am probably on my own here. However what De La Soul did for the masses, I personally feel Mobb Deep did in terms of giving Hip Hop heads some real dark beats and rhymes they could buy in to. Forget about the bling and pop laced samples this was raw and still remains current today
4 Wu Tang Clan
Wu Tang was an amazing concept/group/project which provided a ridiculously diverse sound and vision to the scene. The nine Shaolin warriors literally came out of no where and blew Hip Hop apart. If I was to compile this list on a different day it is quite possible Wu would be higher. The fact that each member of the original clan was so unique was part of the attraction from the rough-but-somehow smooth delivery of Method Man to the ultra colourful Ol Dirty Bastard down to the mastermind of the RZA. Who can forget the rest including one of the best combos ever in the scene of Ghostface Killer and Raekwon. There simply isn’t enough room to list all that is good about the Wu.
NWA produced one of the first singles I ever bought. ‘Fck the Police’ and ‘Express YaSelf’ were stunning pieces of music. One due to have edgy it was and the fact that as a youth they got away with it, the other just because it was an amazing piece of music. ‘Elif4Zaggin’ was also an immense album, great music with some real messages, including the track ‘Dope Man’. NWA are cited as one of the most angry Hip Hop acts of all time, but largely in my opinion by people who have heard them but not listened. Obviously Dr Dre and Ice Cube worked phenomonally well together as well. The fact that the guys fell out with Eazy E just strengthened their resolve and made their influence even stronger
2 Run DMC
The masters of Hip Hop. Run DMC are argubly the reason that Hip Hop came to the masses. Joseph Simmons (Run), Darryl McDaniels (DMC) and the late Jam Master Jay were pioneers of the scene. It was so difficult to choose between spots 1 and 2. They were the first Hip Hop act to go platinum and they helped transform a tired rock track from Aerosmith and turn it into a hybrid masterpiece. Steven Tyler the lead singer of Aerosmith can often be quoted on the debt he owes to Run DMC. Whilst Jay may not have his name in the group he was undoubtedly a massive influence on the boys and the sound.
1 Public Enemy
No list of this sort would be complete without the Public Enemy boys. They are predominantly number one because they are the main reason I got in to Hip Hop in a big way. Chuck D delivered rhymes with the presence and mic dominance of a preacher. I always wanted to listen to what he was delivering and always took in what was being said and why. Flava Flav has to be the most colourful character that Hip Hop has ever seen. Not only due to his eccentric and colourful dress sense or the oversized clocks around his neck, but also due to his rhyming. Due to his huge character Flav’s rhyming is often under estimated. Add to this the backdrop of real dope beats from the Bomb Squad and Hip Hop legends were in the place. ‘Fear of a Black Planet’ remains one of my favourite albums of all time and ‘Fight the Power’ one of the best tracks ever. I will always remember the Spike Lee film ‘Do The Right Thing’ and the influence PE music had on the movie. Simply my choice for number one Hip Hop group of all time.
Other acts considered:
Pharcyde, Das EFX, Tribe Called Quest, Outkast and UGK. Others were also nominated.
Let us know what you think of this list by commenting below.