Best vs. Favorite
The "top 5" all time arguments/debates are endless when it comes to Hip Hop. It's all a matter of preference when you base it on content alone, excluding record sales and all the other shit that doesn't dictate how you feel when you hear these artists.
I have 2 different top 5s and I'll explain why...
My Top 5 all time list of MCs who I feel comfortable pitting against the field, if we're talking skills alone, is one group. I also have a personal favorite 5 MCs who I have a certain connection with through the music because I feel as though they speak to me directly or stand out in such a way that I appreciate their music on another level.
Favorite doesn't always = best, and vice versa. You could have a favorite player in sports and him/her not necessarily be the best, it's about what you connect to. Still, your favorite embodies certain qualities that you feel are legendary in their own right.
My Top 5 all time BEST: BIG, Jay-Z, Nas, Ghostface, Styles P. (Jadakiss is here depending on what day it is)
My Top 5 FAVORITE: Lloyd Banks, Al Doe, Joe Budden, Cam'Ron, Stack Bundle$.
See the difference?
Lloyd Banks: from the first time I heard him rap back in 2004, I was legit amazed with his wordplay and ridiculous punch lines. He's also my favorite rapper ever.
Al Doe: The Pope of the coke talk. Doe has a lavish flow and a delivery rivaled by a young Jadakiss. His style is luxury rap with a gutter feel. Authentic.
Joe Budden: Arguably the realest rapper ever in the sense of never holding back in his music. Joe is never scared to do that thing most people struggle with, ya know...tell the truth? Easily one of the best lyrically, and hangs his hat on that instead of caring what people think about it or him.
Cam'Ron: What else can you say about Killa the Don? Pink Range, Jeff Hamilton leathers, and gaudy jewels made him a trendsetter. The unique flow and countless gems were extremely vital in my teenage years.
Stack Bundles: the Gorgeous Gangsta, more gangsta than gorgeous as he put it. He had unmatched charisma and aggression when he spoke over the beats. Witty lines, quotables, and most importantly that FEELING. That feeling of authenticity and dedication. Reminiscent of the OGs I grew up around, Stack was only 24 when he met his untimely demise in 2007, but his legacy lives on through his music, which I consider timeless.
Hip-Hop has tons of greats and I'm sure many people have a top 5 in both categories that differ from mine. That's the beauty of it