Who remembers this publication? One of its most notable issues featured a list of the top 50 emcees. It was published in 1999. It’s cool seeing Blaze’s list and comparing it who’s who in 2008. It’s crazy how things have changed over the past 9 or so years.
Here’s the list:
4.Big daddy Kane
5.LL Cool J
6.Kool G Rap
19.Kool Moe Dee
34.Doug E Fresh
Some Random Observations:
I wouldn’t put Jay-Z ahead of Nas today. Busta Rhymes and Scarface would be way higher nowadays as well. I think Slug and/or Brother Ali would be considered among the top 50 today.
Two of the most flagrant exemptions are 50 Cent and Eminem. Neither had built a solid reputation at the time this list was created.
Perhaps the most disappointing, however, is the dearth of Southern rappers on the list. Noteworthy rappers like 8Ball & MJG, T.I., and Z-Ro were not nearly as prominent at the time this list was published.
Other information about Blaze:
Keith Clinksales, featured here in a Harvard Business School profile, was president of Vibe Magazine at the time. He is credited with being one the masterminds behind the publication. For myriad reasons, it went out of business. Urban Expose (another classic website that I’ll write about later) has a lot of scathing words for the magazine and its allegedly incompetent management. Notice the sharp contrast in the tone and perspective of the Expose article and HBS one.