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DJ Premier Gives His Top 5 Dead or Alive MCs

DJ Premier. The name alone evokes the sound of a generation of hip-hoppers in awe of the boom with the bap and the scratch. The last time we sat down with Preem, we established his Top 5 Dead or Alive Producers, but the time for his favorite emcees has come. Here are the fortunate lyricst to be deemed in DJ Premier’s Top 5.

1) Grand Master Melle Mel

“I always say Melle Mel from the Furious 5, just because he was one of the first MC’s to take it from just a party atmosphere and talk about what’s really going on in the world. And how f**ked up New York is and what they see in their hood, and you still can dance to it. To this day when “The Message” comes on you can dance to it but still the lyrics were incredible, plus he was just an ill performer. You know, you gotta remember I graduated high school in 1984. I got to see [Grand Master] Flash [DJ live]. And then Crash Crew, and even the Fab Boys, Rock Master Scott & the Dynamic Three, Nucleus, were all on the same bill. Dougie Fresh and MC Ricky D, you know, before he was Slick Rick. And UTFO was on the tour. Melle Mel, man, he’s a beast. He should be given some type of fuckin’ award.”

2) Kool Moe Dee

“I love Kool Moe Dee, I think he’s amazing because he actually made the [rap] battle become what it is, because he took battling to such a whole different level. And he’s such a lyrical f**kin beast. So I would say Kool Moe Dee.”

3) Big Daddy Kane

“I would definitely say Big Daddy Kane, because Big Daddy Kane was able to show the difference between being comical with writing for Biz Markie as a ghostwriter. He embodied Biz’s personality where when you heard Biz do the rhymes you felt like Biz wrote those rhymes cuz they were “Biz” rhymes even though Kane wrote and even through all the sounds in writing the rhyme.”

4) Rakim

“Definitely, Rakim. That’s a no brainer. We all just didn’t understand how could anybody be this original and different and then he had the look with the way he dressed, the mean look on his face, and he bragged but he was so so dangerous, and still is.”

5) KRS-One

“And KRS-One. Man, its always a big “fight” between Chuck D and Kool G Rap, but just as my favorites, I was just always a big time KRS-One fan. Criminal Minded just did it for me. Let me tell you, we used to study driving to Willowbrook Mall when I was in Texas going to college just to make sure I could remember the rhyme by the time I drove back home. Song poetry, its just song poetry. By the time we were driving back, I had it memorized because that’s how much I had to know KRS. Same thing with Rakim – you just had to know [the lyrics]. You had to know his lyrics because the tones, the words, and he kept making you go “Oh my god.” You know just like Kane said “I’m so full of action my name should be a verb, my voice will flow on every note, when I clear my throat that’s all she wrote.” Like how do you write that and then put the attitude right behind it too? And then Marley’s killin em with the beats? They need to change the topic to 10 Dead or Alive!”


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