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Top 10 Emcees of 2013

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Justin Ivey:

The top three on this list could truly be interchangeable as each emcee made quite the case for #1 crown.rittz But in the end, no one impressed more than Rittz did in 2013. While the Georgia emcee displayed his lyrical abilities on White Jesus and his showstealing appearance on YelaWolf’s “Box Chevy Pt. 3″ track, Rittz’s debut LP proved he was more than just tongue-twisting rhymer. The Life And Times Of Johnny Valiant showed a new level of introspection, awareness and creativity that earned him top honors. Killer Mike shined once again as his pairing with El-P continues to reap rewards. Mike’s rhymes have always captivated listeners, yet the backing of El-P has taken his commanding lyrics to new heights. Starlito was amongst the hardest working emcees in 2013 with three albums, a couple mixtapes and an EP all being released over the course of the year. The more impressive feat was the quality of each project the Nashville native dropped; it felt as if Lito was trying to top himself with each subsequent record. Ghostface Killah struck gold with the assistance of Adrian Younge while CunninLynguists member Natti’s solo debut proved he could hold down the fort on his own. And I’d be remiss without acknowledging Killah Priest, who tackled the difficult venture of the double LP and managed to craft one of his best works to date in doing so.

  1. Rittz
  2. Killer Mike
  3. Starlito
  4. Ghostface Killah
  5. Homeboy Sandman
  6. Natti
  7. Killah Priest
  8. Illogic
  9. Locksmith
  10. Planet Asia

Honorable Mentions

  • Quelle Chris
  • Fat Tony
  • Inspectah Deck
  • Danny Brown
  • Ka
  • ST 2 Lettaz

Steven Goldstein:

In 2013, Earl Sweatshirt did what many thought was impossible: shed the gimmicks of 2010’s Earl, survive beyond the shock value and deliver on his first full-length album. EarlSweatshirtEarl’s Doris was worth the hype and is wise beyond its years, touching on everything from an absentee father to loneliness and drug abuse in dense, brooding rhyme schemes. It earns him the top spot on my emcee of the year list, and at just 19, the dude still has scary upside. Ka knocked off the impossible as well: making a career-defining album at the age of 41 with The Night’s Gambit. Few emcees were more technically sound than the Brownsville vet, and Ka’s meticulous, stoic storytelling drew fair comparisons to Liquid Swords. I’ve raved and ranted about Chance before, but he certainly earns a high spot on this list for Acid Rap alone. Kendrick Lamar revived friendly competition and graced the cover of nearly every music magazine this year without even dropping an album; Killer Mike and El-P brilliantly toed the line between B-boy and horrorcore; Black Milk put together the most complete album of his career with No Poison No Paradise. It was a helluva year for major-label releases, too… even Mac Miller’s Watching Movies with the Sound Off was a challenging listen.

  1. Earl Sweatshirt
  2. Chance The Rapper
  3. Ka
  4. Run The Jewels (Killer Mike & El-P)
  5. Black Milk
  6. Talib Kweli
  7. Kendrick Lamar
  8. Mac Miller
  9. Action Bronson
  10. Homeboy Sandman

Honorable Mentions

  • Quelle Chris
  • Reks
  • Ab-Soul
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