Songs like Grandmaster Flash's "The Message" remains as important now as it did decades ago.
In respect to the rap classics, here's my list of the hip hop old school greats...
In terms of lyrics, few can come even close to the R.
His use of double and even triple entendres surpassed every lyricist at the time, and just about everyone since.
In addition to his amazing lyrical prowess, Rakim had perhaps the greatest vocal persona.
His voice seemed to be inside the music, a fact he asserts for himself, saying "When I'm writing I'm trapped in between the lines, I escape, when I finish the line...
" Also recorded on the top ten albums of all time with Eric B: Paid in Full.
Big Daddy Kane.
One of the deadliest battle MCs, period.
Kane could spit lyrics that would rip the paint off your porch.
He also took a different persona from other rappers in his day- instead of a street prophet or poet, Kane was known as a player, a true ladies man.
This persona would influence future rap greats such as Notorious B.
The brain of hip and self appointed teacher, this lyrical wizard combined brains in his words with the brawn of his voice; when you hear KRS on a track, he steals the show, every time.
On his legendary album debut Crimal Minded, KRS ushers in a new style of hip hop.
Kool G Rap.
A true hip hop old school legend, this MC is the beginning of hard core hip hop at its finest.
Without him, there would be no Scarface or DMX.
If you haven't listened to him, you'd be amazed at how many precedents he set...
LL Cool J.
If rap was like musical chairs, LL would be the last one standing.
No one- and I mean no one- has lasted so long at an elite level of rap, making him old school and new school at the same time.
His ability to adapt to new sounds has kept LL at the top for almost 25 years! A bona fide hip hop old school legend...
Kool Moe Dee.
This man invented battle rap with his destruction of Busy Bee, and the predecessor to both Rakim and KRS- One, Kool Moe Dee is one of a chosen few rappers who have touched the game at its inception.
Which of course leads us to our final member...
Simply put, no MC has influenced hip to such an extent as Melle Mel.
His voice is instantly recognizable, he recorded one of the biggest hits in hop history with "The Message" and helped build the genre, turning it towards a viable business.
Without Melle Mel, hip hop certainly would not be what it is today.
So there you have it: my list of hip hop old school legends.
If you haven't listened to these rappers extensively, I suggest you do.