What is "good" rap?

OK, now usually when I like music, I tend to go for what is in my gut - I like what I like, and I don’t what I don’t.
My taste in music is varied and eclectic. So I can listen to some forms of rap and like it - and others that I don’t.
But some people are obviously more “in the know” than I clearly am in terms of rap music. I’ve often heard the sentiment that much of the commercialised drivel that I see on MTV is not real (“reeeel”) rap, but that the stuff underground’s the good shite.
Now personally, a lot of the rap on MTV/Music Channel I consider crap anyway, but there can be notable exceptions.

*Still Dre

Forgot about Dre

My Name is…* etc.
This stuff I DO like the sound of. I’ve heard some “hardcore oldies” from the likes of NWA (Straight outta Compton) - but to be honest it didn’t take. A couple of others I liked but don’t know the names of.
So what exactly differentiates (technicalities-wise) “good” rap from “bad” rap?

The way it’s mixed? The vocals (I don’t really think this makes that much of a difference, though I’m open to persuasion)?
And start listing off songs and groups that fall into both categories. Bout time you boyz taut me a ting or 2.

“If it sounds good and feels good, then it IS good!”. -Duke Ellington

Personally i consider “good rap” to be somewhat intelligent and and make good statements about the urban sub culture or lifestyle. Examples would be Eminem and Dr Dre…“bad” rap is a song that obviously took no effort or talent to produce, rather it’s a bunch of cliches and vulgarity/violence strung together with no redeeming value or point other than just to be vulgar/violent. Rap can be art just like any other musical genre…a large percentage of it just turns out to be drivel.

Isn’t the question as justifiably asked about all music - i.e., What makes Good Music Good?

From that standpoint - that is in the ear of the beholder, but it has to do with whether the songs are well-written musically and lyrically, and are delivered in a way that affects you - could be delivered honestly, could be delivered arrogantly, could be delivered intelligently, etc… - but you are moved by listening.

Lots of rap on MTV is the equivalent of boy band crap - oooo, look at my bling, my hoes, my ride - whatever. Rap is about rhyme, flow, beats and saying something. Someone like Snoop has such an amazing delivery that he can handle simple-ass songs like “Beautiful” and keep my attention. Others, like 50 Cent, had great stuff on their mix CDs, but the stuff I have seen on MTV seems kinda over - I’m just sayin…

Missy Elliot is brilliant - amazing beats, delivery, flow, lyrically interesting and innovative. She has it all, to my mind…

Eminem is for real, too.

But for my money, you will never get better than Public Enemy. It Takes a Nation Of Millions is pretty much it. I love Run DMC, but Chuck D is it.

I used to love listening to Dre back in the day, but I got turned off rap by so many of the current artists who all seem to rap about the same thing. In my mind, two things define rap. One, does it have some sort of message other than dropping as many brand names as humanly possible? Two, does it have a good flow/rhythm? The second one is really just as important as the first. Groups I’ve found that fall into these categories have been Diggable Planets, Tribe, J-5, Kanye West, Talib Kwali, Mos Def… As much as I dislike Eminem the person, he raps very well in my opinion.

Holy crap, I completely forgot about Missy Elliot. She’s got some sweet, sweet delivery. As does Snoop as the above poster mentioned. I really like his new song, I think it’s called “Drop it like it’s Hot.” Very minimalist.

Its mostly personal opinion, I’d imagine.

I like rap that has at least one of the following:

  1. Intelligent lyrics or wordplay (Jay-Z, The Roots, early Meth, et.al)

  2. Technical skill (I like Twista & Eminem in this category)

  3. Unique or really catchy vocal stylings (Snoop, B Real)

Barring those three, it had better have a REALLY catchy hook.

Check out:

Del tha Funkee Homosapien

Deltron 3030


Chali 2na


Dr. Octagon

Chali 2na of course being one member of the brilliant Jurassic 5 (if you get the chance to see them perform live, DO IT!).

I’ll second Deltron 3030 as well.

The two groups/artists I’ve just mentioned are great IMO because they have kick-arse style and hooks, and aren’t poseurs.

I check some of these out and get back 2 yas all.

Exactly what I would have posted. The content, the strength, the voice…

If it’s not played at 10,000 decibels and not full of filth, some of it’s really not too bad. How’s that for an old country boy? :smiley:

It’s a matter of taste, I’m sure. Rap emphasizes rhythm, whereas I gravitate toward melody, so I tend to like what I perceive as the more melodic forms: Old School and “alternative” rap like Sugarhill Gang, Aceyalone, the Pharcyde, De La Soul, etc.

What is good rap? An oxymoron.

Oooooo, aren’t you special. Go away, troll. You don’t like the music, don’t contribute to the thread. :rolleyes:

The only good rap is a dead rap.
Middlecase jumps on horse, rides off into the sunset.
Actually, not a rap lover myself but I was interested enough to come here to see what others like. Out of all the pop music rap seems to me to be the farthest removed from traditional blues yet there’s a link there somewhere.

Unless it’s performed by a mime artist! :smack:

And that’s why so many people claim that it’s not music.

Sage Francis
South Park Mexican
Bone Thugs 'n Harmony

These are all good rap artists who all have something to say. Anyone who would say something like…

…just hasn’t been exposed to the good stuff yet. He’s ignorant, that’s all. Now, if he is presented with a list of good rap and ignores it, then he is willfully ignorant. Not much that can be done about that, is there?

Perhaps you haven’t noticed a flaw in your argument.
Is something good just because you say it is?
That sounds rather conceited to me.

Now if you are shown the opposing opinions of others, and merely insult them, then you are rude and conceited.
Not much that can be done about that, is there?