Now that almost every MC is altering their voice using the latest studio equipment, The Urban Daily is paying tribute to 10 MCs whose real voices are as critical to their success as their lyrics.
(Props to Big Jo at Beatlcub for sparking this for me!)
There are deep voices and then there are deep voices. No disrespect to Jay Hova but if God was an MC he’d sound like Brad Jordan. His unmistakable timbre has a mix of southern gangster but holds the weight of a preacher.
If Barack Obama were to lose his voice tomorrow, I’d call Chuck D to overdub all of his speeches. The authoritative bass in his vocals is both unmistakeable and undeniable.
From the canine growls of “What’s My Name” to the calm of “How’s It Goin’ Down” Earl Simmons knows better than most the power of his own voice. Unfortunately, these days he is doing more talking before a judge than before an audience.
4) Busta Rhymes
As I’ve stated before The Dungeon Dragon has a voice that spits flames (“Woo Ha”) or simply smolders (“Put Your Hands Where My Eyes Can See”) depending on what the beat tells him to do. But you really don’t appreciate a voice like Mr. Smith’s until you hear it live.
Chris Lova Lova’s days on the radio have made him one of the most listenable MCs in the game. Vocally, he rivals Will Smith for clarity, cross-over appeal and replay value, but brings a swagger that is uniquley his own.
A Cajun cousin to Busta’s growl, Mystikal brought a weezy twist to the scream scene. On cuts like “Danger” Mystikal takes a more musical, singy approach giving him a Scatman Crothers in a strip club feel.
7) Rev. RUN
From “Rock Box” to “Run’s House” to “Jockin’ Jay-Z” no voice has proved as enduring as Rev. Run’s.
8 ) Ice Cube
Forget bean pies and St. Ides, props to anybody that can sling “Are We There Yet?” and Death Certificate and be completely believable without altering his voice one bit.
9) Rakim / Big Daddy Kane (tie)
One of the most sampled voices in the game, Rakim seduced listeners with an easy-going delivery that set you up for some of the most potent couplets ever put to paper. Kane was the pimptastic alter ego that could talk the stripes off a zebra.
10) Lauryn Hill
Gender be damned, she raps better than most rappers and sings better than most singers, but doing both so well is simply divine. Her voice is distilled with so much pain and passion that you just want to pour it in a highball glass and zone out.