Although the two are collaborative friends, hip-hop heads have been debating who's the greatest rapper of the two for a while now. Although J. Cole isn't pursuing fame, fans argue his gift as a storyteller makes him the greatest rapper alive. Who is this generation's best lyrical emcee? Kendrick and Cole respect each other as lyricists and emcees. So much so that they were reportedly working together on a collaborative album. Back in December , while promoting his new album "Do What Thou Wilt," Ab-Soul told the Breakfast Club the acclaimed rappers were working on the album together, following much speculation.
These days we don't know if the joint album will ever really happen. According to the Fader , Ab-Soul said:. Kendrick and Cole's respect for each other might stem from how much they have in common. Both are socially conscious rappers, both are really great lyricists, both were inspired by Rap Gods like Tupac, and both have inspired and connected with younger generations by spitting rhymes about Black experiences and social issues.
While this is a tough call—this debate must be settled. Who will go down in history as this generation's greatest emcee? Kendrick's popularity and acclaim grow with each subsequent album. The master lyricist released his fourth studio album, "DAMN," to critical acclaim and commercial success—resulting in his highest first-week sales ever. But many fans still call his previous album, "To Pimp a Butterfly," his magnum opus.
Having two albums competing for the title as your greatest isn't a bad problem to have. A hard, but expected lost. Andrew Leung wrote for Mic :. John Kennedy wrote for Complex :. KL's rhymes can be smooth, but often times, he delivers quite the impacting flow.
Kendrick isn't just a storyteller, his voice and lyrics are his rally cry and he motivates his audience to be mindful of and take action on what's happening in the world around them. Kendrick's unapologetic, militant and revolutionary lyrics translate into anthems. He paints a picture of the harsh realities Black people face in America, where the liberation struggle continues. Though he's been blasted—like many rappers—about the misogynoir in his lyrics, recent critiques have only brought more visibility to the complexity of being a Black feminist and hip-hop head and those who are both and still believe KL is the greatest.
Still, Kendrick musically highlights the Black community's resilience in the face of struggle, but like he raps, "we gon' be alright!
Cole has been killing the game for quite some time, but he proved he owned it with " Forest Hills Drive. His music is so relatable—often times tackling social issues from his perspective and through the point-of-view of others. Cole delivers a smooth flow that clearly lays out a narrative, to the point that you can visualize it or his rhymes simply take you there. He doesn't necessarily call himself the greatest. But how can he not be? Then again, for Cole, it's not about winning a title or even living in the spotlight.
He's made a conscious effort not to focus on fame. He's been focused on family; his art is secondary. He continues to use his personal experiences and the Black experience as the groundwork for his music. Heck, Cole won't even make any future diss tracks because he feels rap beefs tear Black people down. To many, he holds the title of greatest rapper alive.
It also transformed him from a student of the great storytelling rappers to a teacher. Cole diagnosing the neuroses of his peers and heroes without naming them, though the internet filled in the blanks quickly. Every vote is a voice that tells a story. Greatest rapper of this generation: Kendrick Lamar or J. The Tylt. Team Kendrick. Team J. Join the conversation. By Deron Dalton. Real-time Voting. I just hope they use my verse. They got it. They got something in the works.
They been working on that motherfucker for awhile. Read more of the perspectives, decide and vote! Andrew Leung wrote for Mic : If it were simply up to the critics, Lamar's magnum opus, 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' would sweep Monday's ceremony, including a trophy for album of the year — one of the "Big Four" categories, and arguably the most prestigious since it rewards a complete work, as opposed to a lone song or perceived potential.
Listen to the chart-topping " Forest Hills Drive" below via Spotify. You love Kendrick Lamar or J. Well, they are both great, but what about the ladies? Check out our feature on women rappers reclaiming hip-hop. Which classic diva has the best voice: Whitney Houston or Mariah Carey? Tell us which legendary diva's voice you love the most. Record Video. Who's your favorite 'Umbrella Academy' character? Who's the greatest rapper of this generation: Kendrick Lamar or Drake?
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