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Who’s Demo Would Still Hold Up?

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Timeless Hip Hop/Rap Music Holds Up in Any Genre

By Amir Said (Sa’id)

The release of the Notorious movie soundtrack features some of Biggie Small’s (Notorious B.I.G’s) original demos. I have yet to hear these demos, but it got me thinking: Having listened to many of the purported top rappers of the past 10 years, which rappers demos would still hold up today, if they didn’t already have a “known” name?

This is my list of rapper’s who’s demos I think would still hold up today without their present name and clout.

1. Kool G. Rap – the real father of crime rap and the “poetic gangsa rap” style. If “It’s a Demo” came out now, one could clearly see his talent.
2. Nas – Like him, hate him, whatever, his demo was certainly hold up today. Nobody could front on his skills.
3. 50 Cent – Regardless of what anybody’s got to say, 50 Cent still has “a sound”. If you knew NOTHING about 50 Cent, didn’t know his story, none of the beef, etc., and you had to judge on the demos and mixtapes that led up to Get Rich or Die Tryin, I think it would be hard to deny his abilities and sound!

This is my list of rapper’s who’s demos I think would not hold up today without their name and clout. PLEASE KEEP IN MIND, the following list does NOT take in account the CURRENT abilities of each rapper.

1. Jay-Z – Imagine Jay-Z pushing a demo around town with his initial rapid pace stutter style… Just picture his and Jazz’s song “Hawaiin Sophie” on a mixtape. On the real, Jay-Z was the product of a couple of timely breaks. Consider this fact: It took him from 1987 to 1995 to develop a style even remotely close to what we know of him now! In contrast, consider other top M.C.s initial offerings: Kool G. Rap – immediately dope; KRS-One – immediately dope; Nas – immediately dope; Chuck D – immediately dope; Rakim – immediately dope… Get the picture? Each of these just mentioned M.C.s did NOT take years to develop a base style, nor did they have to undergo a MAJOR overhaul of their initial style.

I’m still formulating my list, but I want everybody chime in…


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About Author

Amir Said (aka Sa’id) is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of BeatTips. A writer, publisher, and beatmaker/rapper from New York, Said is the author of a number of books, including ‘The BeatTips Manual,’ ‘The Art of Sampling,’ ‘Ghetto Brother,’ and ‘The Truth About New York.’ He is also a recording artist with a number of music projects, including his latest album 'The Best of Times.' Follow him on Twitter at: @amirsaid and @BeatTipsManual