STUFF I LIKE: The Best Rapper Alive, Every Year Since 1979

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Rap fans—that is to say, people who are passionate and informed about the culture—tend to get into arguments with other rap fans. Debates are often sparked when one mischievous soul declaims their Favorite Rapper. Your favorite rapper is a personal preference, one that requires the most subjective defenses. If you’re rooting for the rookie of the year or a washed up veteran experiencing a career resurgence or someone no one has heard of as your favorite, then so be it. The choice is yours. (Got too many favorites to pick one? Here’s a test: If you logged onto Complex.com and saw that three new singles from your three favorite rappers had just dropped, whomever’s song you listened to first is your favorite rapper.)

The favorite rapper discussion is cool and all, but the coveted distinction in hip-hop is still being named the GOAT (Greatest of All Time). The GOAT discussion is reserved for the chosen few; no rookies or new jacks qualify. It’s strictly for the catalog artists, people who have shifted the culture in previously unmovable ways, artists whose music has permeated and resonated over an extended period of time. It’s rap’s imaginary Hall of Fame, existing only within the abstract conversations we have about it. Since it has to consider the entire canon of hip-hop, the discussion ought to be reserved for more refined debate among only the most informed parties.

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