Recently I listened to an interview where Kool G. Rap (one of the most talented lyricists of his era) was asked to name his top 10 lyricists. I believe he said:
- Big Daddy Kane
- Ice Cube
- Big Pun
- KRS One
He didn’t put them in any specific order. When asked about the Notorious BIG he made the statement that he considered Biggie a great rapper, not a great lyricist. On the one had I can see his point; on the other I was shocked and appalled. Biggie didn’t have the most intricate rhymes in the world, but he painted a picture with lyrics that few others could. I was talking to a coworker about this and he was livid. So much so that he started getting loud every time he thought about it over the course of 2 or 3 days!
Personally I think that any list that has Cube and Face on it but excludes Big is extremely flawed. But then I realize that there’s no science to this; it’s all about opinion and personal taste. So having said that, my top 10 lyricists of all time are (in a very particular order; an order that shifts daily depending on how I think about it and what I’m listening to!):
- Notorious BIG
- Big Pun
- Andre 3000
- Kendrick Lamar
This is slightly different from my top 10 rappers list from a few years back. Kendrick Lamar hadn’t dropped yet and I do recognize the distinction that Kool G. Rap was making between a rapper and a lyricist. I think that all of these artists are great lyricists. I’d even put Kanye West in that category now, although his earlier work wasn’t all that lyrical to me. Some might be surprised to see Kendrick Lamar on there but I’ve yet to hear a wack verse from him. It doesn’t hurt his case that he’s unique and that he put out one of the most well thought-out and entertaining albums I’ve heard in years with good kid, m.A.A.d. city.
And that’s all part of being a great lyricist. Consistency, creativity, wordplay, delivery, intricacy, originality, flow, etc. all factor in. Joell Ortiz is a fantastic rapper, but he can’t do a concept song to save his life. Such was Canibus’ problem as well. Snoop had all of the above mentioned attributes save consistency. He’d rightly deserve a spot on that list had he not done so many wack songs in the No Limit days.
You’ll also notice that there’s no names of rappers who dropped in the 80s on there. Why? Well, even though Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, and Kool G. Rap were great lyricists for their time, they don’t measure up to those who came after. They may well have influenced all of these artists, but the bar was raised and they sit squarely under it. And I will defend that opinion until my dying day.
Bryan L. listed his favorite complete albums, i.e., albums that you can listen to straight through without skipping, and then Nathan Stitt followed suit, so I’m going to share mine, which are way different than both of theirs, and I don’t know how many I’ll list (hence the question mark in the post’s title), .so here goes nothing (in no particular order):
- Capital Punishment — Big Punisher
- Illmatic — Nas
- Ready to Die — The Notorious Big
- The Infamous — Mobb Deep
- Hell on Earth — Mobb Deep
- Metallica — Metallica
- The Chronic — Dr. Dre
- The Score — The Fuggees
- Enter the 36 Chambers — Wu Tang Clan
- N.O.R.E. — Noreaga
- Warriorz — M.O.P.
- H.N.I.C. — Prodigy (of Mobb Deep)
- Jealous Ones Envy — Fat Joe
- Doggystyle — Snoop Doggy Dogg
- The Downward Spiral — Nine Inch Nails
- Nevermind — Nirvana
- House of Pain — House of Pain
- The Slim Shady LP — Eminem
- The Marshall Mathers LP — Eminem
- Soul on Ice — Ras Kass
- Dare Iz a Darkside — Redman
- Same As It Ever Was — House of Pain
- Hope — Hillsong
- Intoxicated Demons — The Beatnuts
- 21 & Over — The Alkaholiks
- Raising Hell — Run-DMC
- Off the Wall — Michael Jackson
- Thriller — Michael Jackson
- Bad — Michael Jackson
- The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill — Lauryn Hill
I could probably name another 30 if I keep thinking about it but I’ll cut myself off here. These are all albums that I can listen to from beginning to end without having to skip, or maybe skipping one song or an interlude or something.
I don’t know what’s going on in the world but something’s fishy. C. Michael Patton and Tim Kimberley have both posted “10 Books Every Christian Should Have” lists over at Parchment and Pen and they both have Grudem’s Systematic Theology on there! What?!! How?!! Why?!! I thought we covered this already! Maybe I’ll do a proper and objective list later. For now feel free to go over there and challenge both Michael and Tim’s salvation.
Oh, and for the record, I don’t think I’d include any of the books on either list (although I’d strongly consider Fee & Stuart’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth — I’d hesitate to include it for “every Christian” because some Orthodox friends have shared with me that they have problems with it as Orthodox believers — see Kevin Edgecomb’s post for some reasons).
Marc Cortez linked to a quiz to see if you can name the most popular websites in 2 minutes or less. I did it with 37 seconds remaining as pictured below (spoiler alert: the answers are on the pic so if you want to take the quiz don’t look at it).
Most top 10 lists are subjective. They just mean “favorite” and not necessarily “best” (unless of course they’re based on some kind of objective data like sales or something like that) but Michael Patton has posted perhaps the worst top 10 list I’ve ever seen with regard to systematic theology texts. Atop his list at #1 is Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine! What?!! How?!!
I’ll also note that this seems like a re-post of some older material (something that is very common on the P&P blog) [edit: Michael informed me in a comment that he wrote this today] since Patton says Frame’s Theology of Lordship series is only three volumes (he also says that Geisler’s set is three volumes in the comments but that’s probably just a mistake, although it’s not a mistake when he says that Geisler isn’t really worth referencing) when, in fact, it has recently been completed with its fourth volume.
One thing is clear, Patton favors Calvinistic STs (although not strictly Reformed volumes). Jenson and Pannenberg don’t get nary a mention and Oden is the lone non-Calvinist on the list, which is cool, but c’mon, would Chafer make anyone else’s top 10 and would Grudem come in at #1 anywhere else? I doubt it. He said he thought about Bavinck in the comments but didn’t include it because it wasn’t practical. From my reading of volume 1 I’d place it head and shoulders above 7 out of his 10 picks (I’d put Van Genderen & Velema’s recent Concise Reformed Dogmatics in the same category, i.e., it’s better from what I’ve read so far than most of his picks). I think Muller’s Post-Reformation Reformed Dogmatics would make my list over most of what made Patton’s as well.
But let me just once again mention was makes this list so horrible: he puts Grudem at #1!!!
Here’s my top 10 list of movie villains in no particular order:
- Clubber Lang (Rocky III)
- Hannibal Lecter (Silence of the Lambs)
- Alex (A Clockwork Orange)
- The Joker (The Dark Knight)
- Freddie Lee Cobb (A Time to Kill)
- Darth Vader (Star Wars)
- Max Cady (Cape Fear )
- Hans Gruber (Die Hard)
- Alonzo Harris (Training Day)
- Cyrus Grissom (Con Air)
Here’s the top 10 movies I’ve seen this year (n.b. that they all didn’t come out in 2009 and I didn’t see them all in the theater):
- Gran Torino
- Sherlock Holmes
- Law Abiding Citizen
- Star Trek
- Let the Right One In
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine
- Lars and the Real Girl
From funniest to not as funniest:
- Eddie Murphy
- Richard Pryor
- George Carlin
- D. L. Hughley
- Dave Chappelle
- Chris Rock
- DeRay Davis
- Kevin Hart
- Ray Lapowski
- Sarah Silverman
Honorable mentions: Martin Lawrence; Sam Kinison; Mike Epps; Cedric the Entertainer; Steve Harvey; Mark Curry.
- You’re too touchy — Everything that’s said to or about you doesn’t mean that everyone is attacking you or hates you.
- You don’t know how to insert hyperlinks — If we have to cut and paste URLs because of your technological ignorance then shame on you; quit blogging!
- You don’t allow comments on your “blog” — I place “blog” in parentheses because a blog that doesn’t allow comments is no blog at all, it’s a website.
- You don’t actually blog — If you’ve only posted 4-6 times in the course of a year then you’re not actually blogging. Yes, we know, you have better things to do and life takes precedence over blogging, hence, you shouldn’t be doing it!
- You refuse to reveal your true identity — No one is asking for last name, social security number, and proof of residence, but if you can’t somewhere provide your readers with a legitimate first name at least then the chances are that you’re a coward who doesn’t want your thoughts associated with the ‘real you.’ Here’s an idea, don’t blog!
- You turn everything into a debate — This corresponds to #1. If you’re so high strung as to take everything you read elsewhere and do nothing but debate it, then the chances are you shouldn’t be blogging.
- You don’t actually like blogging — If all you blog about is how much you hate blogging then do us all a favor and knock it off. We’ll all be much happier for it!
- You have no sense of humor — This corresponds to #s 1 & 6. If you can’t laugh at yourself or other stuff that’s funny then the blogosphere is probably not for you.
- You’re long-winded — If every post is a lengthy essay then you should be writing books, not maintaining a blog. If we want to read books then we’ll read books.
- You’re too short-winded — If all you can muster is 140 characters then shut down your blog and switch to Twitter.
Bonus Reason: You don’t like Pepsi — If you don’t like Pepsi then I hate you, and if I hate you then you shouldn’t be blogging.