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Hip-Hop Artists We Wish Would Make A Comeback

by Photo of Theodore Liggians

Old school hip-hop is making a comeback. Find out which artists we would love to see back.

Hip-Hop Artists We Wish Would Make A Comeback

With Mase working on his comeback album and Q-Tip announcing that he will release a special 25th anniversary edition of The Low End Theory, it looks like old school hip-hop is trying to make a comeback. Both have brought good times to the 90s but only one of them are going to make a splash with their music now.

The hip-hop artists of the past were the real lyricists that most of the new artists will tell you they grew up listening to. People who have been listening to hip-hop for decades will tell you that the mid-80s to mid-90s was the "golden age" of hip-hop. The artists of that time shaped and molded hip-hop into something greater with their innovation, creativity, and influence.

During the golden age hip-hop split into different categories for artists: you had Kid 'n Play making hip-hop music for partying, gangsta rap being done by Ice-T and N.W.A, and artists like LL Cool J, Dr. Dre, Pete Rock, and Slick Rick making raps about everything.

You cannot go wrong listening to any old school hip-hop artist but there are only a few that we would still love to see. We are here to give you some of the artists we'd go crazy to see rapping again.

Wu-Tang Clan

"From the slums of Shaolin, Wu-Tang Clan strikes again. The RZA, the GZA, Ol Dirty Bastard, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon the Chef, U-God, Ghost Face Killer and the Method Man."

Wu-Tang Clan came out the gate with their guns blazing in 1993. Enter The Wu-Tang (35 Chambers) is the album that gave them their reputation as hardcore hip-hop artists and is their most known album.

The album had traces of raw underground hip-hop but was influenced by the martial arts movie The 36th Chamber of Shaolin. For the beginning of most songs RZA clipped audio from the film to use as an opening. The group took themes from the martial arts film and made their alter egos around it. The album does not use complicated beats like the music of today, there are just the sounds of snare, bass, and piano.

From their first album you most likely have heard the songs "C.R.E.A.M." or "Protect Ya Neck" without even realizing it. Wu-Tang's wordplay and stories were raw and rugged just like the members. Wu-Tang influenced east coast greats like Nas and Jay-Z to come out from the underground.

Everyone who knows Wu-Tang knows who Ol' Dirty Bastard, the man who was always drunk or high but produced some of the illest verses you'll hear. Unfortunately the great ODB is not with us anymore but it still makes me happy knowing that the group is working on A Better Tomorrow, which is supposed to drop some time this year. When you hear Wu-Tang, you know Wu-Tang.

A Tribe Called Quest

The good days with Ali, Phife, and Q-Tip were the good days with A Tribe Called Quest. Listen to them just once and you'll see why they are on the list.

Tribe is most known for their album The Low End Theory which is nearing its 25th anniversary. The album featured the songs "Check the Rhime," "Jazz (We've Got)," and "Scenario," all of which exemplify the group's central theme. Their raps told stories of funny, worry free, peaceful adventures.

Many would argue that the group revolutionized hip-hop with their poetic and intellectual rhymes. Tribe made hip-hop about more than just throwing words together and having them rhyme over a melody. They caused an artistic revolution among hip-hop artists where everyone was forced to improve their vocabulary and find better ways of constructing their verses.

"Then cool out to the music cuz it makes ya feel serene/Like the birds and the bees and all those groovy things/Like getting stomach aches when ya gotta go to work/Or staring into space when you're feeling berserk," rapped Q-Tip in "Jazz (We've Got)."

All of the group's beats are relaxing and artistic, making you want to kick back and listen to their tracks all day. From the lyrics above you can see that is what Q-Tip wanted. Just like most old hip-hop you hear simple beats but to mix it up they throw in horns, strings, and sometimes the sound of Ali, their DJ, scratching on the turntables.

The only person to continue with success after the group split in 1998 is Q-Tip. He has signed on to Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music label and is working on an album now.

De La Soul

De La Soul is not really known since they were in the shadows of A Tribe Called Quest. The two made very similar music but when you hear De La Soul rap you can tell it's them by the lyrical wit. Soul was a part of the revolution of hip-hop along with Tribe because of their artsy new sound and clever lyrics.

When I first discovered De La Soul they had a verse on "Feel Good Inc" by Gorillaz and their sound was completely different compared to when they were rapping in the early to mid 90s. Then I heard the group again on a playlist with a bunch of Tribe songs and the two almost blended together because their styles are so similar.

The music video has Q-Tip from Tribe and De La Soul alternating between each other for verses. You listen to Q-Tip's verses and you can hear how his lyrics are more on the intellectual side whereas De La Soul's lyrics are the fun but clever side. Since the two always had a very similar sound it is hard to tell which group did which song until you hear someone begin to rap.

Editors Note: De La Soul recently appeared with Damon Albarn on stage at the 2014 Governors Ball.

EPMD

EPMD came before all of the groups listed so far, so they kind of had an influence on the sound of hip-hop more than A Tribe Called Quest, Wu-Tang Clan, and De La Soul. They were the duo that really made the use of sampling a cool thing to do in hip-hop; if you listen to hip-hop songs now you'll hear every artist doing it. Somewhere the two members are saying, "You're welcome hip-hop."

In their songs you can tell that they are a hip-hop group from the 80s because of how much they use the scratches in their songs. During tracks you'll hear the DJ scratching away sometimes going on so much that the beat is unheard and it's just the scratching. When they moved into the 90s they cut down on the scratching since everyone was sticking to raw beats and lyrically developed more.

The duo's vibe and sound instantly tell that they are from the underground and that is their rap style. The lyrics that the duo produce are not about commercial, materialistic things; it's more about them being aware of things in society. They rapped about more social things like people growing up in poverty and the odds being stacked against them, more serious things that most early rappers tended to rap about.

Not many people from our generation know about EPMD because either the music is too far back for them to have grown up with or they just do not care about how hip-hop has become what it is today. To miss out on how hip-hop has changed because a group like EPMD did something so simple, like sampling other tracks, is like missing the part of school when you are taught about the Revolutionary War. The nation as we know it stemmed from the Revolutionary War just as hip-hop as we know it stemmed from EPMD.

There have been rappers who rap about the topics as EPMD did but they are not as original as EPMD. The way they play around with words and compose rhymes are just not the same as EPMD, nothing can match the way they constructed their art.

Rakim

Rakim's style was one of the most raw but educated of our time. In every rap he delivers a message and schools you without you realizing it. When you listen to Jay-Z or Nas you can hear pieces of Rakim's sound in their songs because they are a part of the few rappers who are amazing lyricists.

If you listen to Rakim you know you are getting a quality dose of hip-hop that will satisfy you for a while. MTV ranked the lyricist number four on their list of "Greatest MCs of All Time" and About.com ranked him number one on their list of "Top 50 MCs of Our Time."

The artist started off in the duo of Eric B. & Rakim, which really helped him rise to be the legend that he is now. When he was alongside Eric B. the two released four albums, all of which Rakim tore things to shreds with his words alone. As they progressed into their albums Rakim grew more mature and it showed in his rhymes and subjects he chose to rhyme about.

Fortunately, Rakim performs every now and then at award shows to remind everyone that he still has what it takes to be the top lyricist. If he comes back every hip-hop artist should be afraid for their record sales.

If you have any hip-hop artists that you would love to see make a comeback let us know in the comment section.

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