We at JP Lime love hip-hop. Before being writers and performers we are each ardent fans of the artform, leading to countless discussions amongst us about the various stages of hip-hop’s evolution and the weight of particular groups and artists within that course. It is with this spirit that we bring you an in-depth look at the hip-hop performers who have had the biggest Impact on the musical genre we love so much. Ladies and gentles and hip-hop heads everywhere, JP Lime proudly presents Rap Madness; A Hip-Hop Bracketology.
To begin our tournament, we organized the top 64 performers into 16 groups of 4, each group identified by a particular character trait. Four regions, we decided, would not be enough to accurately encompass the variety of performers, though the idea of breaking it into four chronological “regions” was interesting and tempting. We then sectioned those 16 groups into four regions and applied a 1-16 ranking for each. We felt that our four #1 seeds (Tupac, Biggie, Jay-Z and Eminem) were obvious from the beginning so we made sure to place them each in different groups as well as different regions.
Our 16 character traits for the groups were molded as we went, aiming to find places for all those we felt belonged in the top 64. We had quite a few honorable mentions, some who just barely missed the cut. It was also difficult, in some cases, for producers and other contributors not to fall into the discussion but this is a bracket of the top performers. With that in mind our groups are: One-of-a-Kind, Game Changers, Street Reporters, “He’s the DJ, I’m the Rapper”, Ladies of Rap (2), Clean Cuts, Lyrical Masters, Groups (2), Founding Fathers, Higher Learning, Storytellers, Dynamic Duos, Revolutionaries, and Leaders of the New School. Clearly some artists/groups were eligible for multiple categories. Eminem, for instance, is obviously a Game Changer but leads the Lyrical Masters category instead. Some of these choices were made for convenience, while for others it was a matter of the most perfect fit. Salt ‘n Pepa could have obviously landed in either Ladies of Rap category but we felt it was as a group that they indeed made their greatest Impact.
In evaluating Impact we considered a number of factors, including but not limited to Market impact/financial success, awards and critical acclaim, consistency, lasting legacy (both personal and on a larger social level) and the basic factors of lyrical skill, stage presence, and general artistic ability. We tried to be exhaustive in our discussions and rankings but disagreements did and will abound and we invite your, our readers, to lend your opinions. Throughout the tournament we’ll be analyzing key matchups and we encourage you to keep up with the bracket’s progression on our Facebook page and our website. In our continued quest to bring you new and interesting content, we at the Lime are excited to kick off this brand new form of hip-hop analysis. Who will take the top spot as hip-hop’s most Impactful Performer?