Originally Posted by emsteez forreal
yes, favorite rappers and best rappers are a hard subject for me, but nas is definitely the best balance of mainstream success/lyricism/street cred/poetry.
This sums it up for me. A descriptive analysis and a hesitation to show off a clean rank and file list.
Nas' image is in the conversation for GOAT. Same as Pac and Big and Rakim and Jay and occasionally Eminem and BDK and a few others, pioneers or otherwise. People feel comfortable giving Nas that label, and it's not completely misplaced, because he's a really talented dude. As mentioned, he The problem is that too often, real discussion of the question is overwhelmed by waves of endlessly perpetuating popular opinions, with the same old routine back-up argument (Pac had real emotion, Big's flow was untouchable, Rakim blazed the trails, etc, etc, etc) and no more analysis. Recent history has left the names of these particular guys in everybody's head; because of their success in moving merchandise; because of their marketability; because of word of mouth; and coupled of course with their undeniable skillset and quality products. And in addition, all of these factors contribute to the funding for more of the same quality product, which again in arguments of longevity only go to further those same claims for 'GOAT' status.
So yeah, I don't think too highly of these conversations. Mostly it's just the same names being tossed around for the same reasons with nothing comparative to back anything up. It's self-serving reiteration that eventually reproduces the same talk backed by even stauncher and deeply entrenched 'authority' - authority mostly derived from the preceding iteration. Again, perpetual. Strict ranking of the arts generally serves as little more than a window into the preferred qualities of the ranker. Not that information like that isn't interesting in itself, but without personal explanation, it does little to settle any of these debates.
All that said without any desire to stop these conversations, yeah, Nas is a worthwhile candidate for the title.