What’s Good?! This week I was kind of in a dilemma about who to include in this weeks list mainly because of how many choices there were to choose from. Before I get into that, this week’s topic is obviously discussing the top Hip-Hop duos of all-time, so you can see where I got stuck. So instead of making this list a countdown from 10 to 1, I decided that I should just make a list without giving each choice a number placement. From Eric B and Rakim to Outkast, we’re going to be touching on the obvious and a couple that some may be surprised with. Without more hesitation, let’s get this shit going!
“One, two, three! Mos Def and Talib Kweli!”
Mos Def Yasiin Bey and Talib Kweli were already lyrical beasts when they decided to collaborate on the Blackstar album, if they weren’t anyone before it, they certainly were respected and known after it came out. With one album, Blackstar has become mentioned among the upper echelon artist in hip-hop. Although it has been almost 14 years since then, their newest project to come this year, Black Star Aretha is shaping up to be one of the most anticipated albums for this year. To say that we’re hyped to see Yasiin and Talib on another album is understatement.
Pusha T and Malice came at a time where hip hop duos were pretty much dead. So when these two dudes from VA came up on the scene with “Grindin’”, the hype that they gathered was well warranted. The duo dropped Lord Willin’ and Hell Hath no Fury with great reception. As a duo, Pusha T and Malice brought a natural chemistry that came from the fact that they are brothers. While Malice has found God and left the game, Pusha T is still moving forward with his affiliation to G.O.O.D. Music. It may be to early to put them into this list, but no doubt they deserve some kind of mention. Look out for Pusha T this summer in G.O.O.D. Music’s collaborative album Cruel Summer
Before Outkast, the look on Hip Hop from the south was mainly focused on the gold teeth and chains made popular by Master P and No Limit. When Andre 3000 and Big Boi stepped up to the mic, they changed the perception of southern hip-hop with their soulfulness and smooth tracks. Andre 3 stacks has been gracing us with his quotable rhymes to this day, and Big Boi still brings that southern drawl that keeps him grounded in his roots. With a grammy under their belt for Speakerboxxx/The Love Below it’s safe to say that these two have made some impact not only in hip-hop, but music history as a whole.
Eric B & Rakim
“Thinkin’ of a master plan. Cuz ain’t nothin’ but sweat inside my hand.” In a line, Rakim summarized his hustle as an MC going from Rakim to The God MC. In a time when the DJ and MC duo were running hip-hop, Eric B and Rakim encompassed everything right about hip-hop with Rakim’s monotone voice to Eric B’s beats, they made tracks that still are relevant and often sampled. While their names are rarely spoken these days in hip-hop circles, Rakim’s influence on current MC’s is evident. If there is one example to be made of the “Good ‘ole days” of hip-hop, best believe Eric B. and Rakim are somewhere high up on the list of conversation.
Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth
With their album Mecca & the Soul Brother Pete Rock and C.L. Smooth laid down tracks that are still in heavy rotation by hip-hop heads all over the world. Don’t think so? If you mention T.R.O.Y. to any hip-hop head, their reaction is mainly positive due to the smooth jazz beats that Pete Rock somehow orchestrated and the smooth rhymes of C.L. Smooth. To say that this duo is legendary is an understatement.
From Queensbridge to the world, Prodigy and Havoc have been one of the biggest duos to hit hip-hop during the 90′s. Mobb Deep gave people detailed images of what was going down in the hood and have stuck to it ever since. With the track “Shook Ones”, the grittiness and delivery in their lines and the beat made all hip-hop fans lose their shit. Havoc stuck to the beats and Prodigy killed the mic for a good amount of time, but it seems to have come to an ugly end. With the so-called beef going on between both halves, it doesn’t look like we’re going to see another Mobb Deep album coming our way in the future.
Boogie Down Productions
Criminal Minded was an album that Scott La Rock crafted beats for, and KRS-One complemented with his great lyrical ability. To say that that Criminal Minded was an influential album is a statement that is agreed by many. Despite the untimely death of Scott La Rock, the potential of BDP could have been monumental. However, we we got from them was good enough to last until now as hip-hop legend.
IF there’s any group that demonstrates what Texas hip-hop is about, the name UGK is at the forefront of that conversation. Pimp C and Bun B provided the game with the southern drawl that fans were looking for and they kept their gritty mentality to compliment it. As an MC, Bun B isn’t the most creative, but his delivery and metaphors were something that were repeat worthy. Pimp C’s beats were always country fried and brought a unique sound that many hadn’t heard at the time. Although Pimp C has passed, Bun B still makes his mark every once in a while with the same unique drawl that people know him for.
On the last part of Erick Sermon’s career, his projects weren’t hitting as hard as they used to with EPMD, mainly because EPMD’s fan’s expectations were too high. Many say that EPMD is one of the most sampled rap groups of all-time, and that’s saying a lot. To say that they have made an impact somehow is a complete understatement. EPMD made tracks that people could chill out too and also made tracks that influenced producers and artists for many years after.
Dj Premier and Guru. Those two names alone are special. Guru had that unique voice with some of the most clever lines to ever come out of speakers. Preemo back then and even today is still creating some of the nicest beats that can only be mirrored by the likes of people like J. Dilla. Despite the death of Guru, Gangstarr was in the game heavy for more than two decades and held their relevance throughout that entire time. Need to brush up on your hip-hop knowledge, listen to a few Gangstarr albums to start off your lessons in how to keep it real.
Madvillain is a duo unlike any other. Their songs weren’t that long, but their tracks still held a level of uniqueness to catch the ears of any hip-hop fans. While their approach to the game wasn’t directed towards the mainstream, it wasn’t a problem getting people to jump on their hype. Alone, MF Doom and Madlib could carry their weight, so the fact that they collaborated made their projects that much sweeter and a little bit abstract. With an untitled project coming later this year, it’s going to be dope to see what they have in store for their loyal fans. After 8 years of being on hiatus (minus the Madlib Remix of Madvillainy), Madvillain will turn some more heads pretty soon.