Favorite Rapper: Slick Rick
When you're asked to indulge in childish fanboy games like picking your favorite rapper ever, there's only one honest method you can use to decide your G.O.A.T: You choose the one whose catalog you'd whittle down to a 21-song best of CD-R to take to a desert island with you to while away the time as you roast wild pigs, drink coconut milk, and slowly get nibbled to raw pulp by mosquitoes. So Slick Rick is my man. Here's why:
1. He's the rapper who made me fall in love with rap music when I saw him and Doug E. Fresh performing "The Show" on Top Of The Pops in the mid '80s as an Inspector Gadget-obsessed kid. Your first love is always a love that's true.
2. He's the Orson Welles of this Rap shit. His first full length was a genre-defining masterpiece. Its subsequent follow-ups have been misunderstood hatchet-jobs that were sabotaged by legal or label issues but which still contain moments of sheer brilliance. His catalog is rounded out to G.O.A.T status by non-album cuts like "La Di Da Di," "Treat Her Like A Prostitute (Movie Vesion)," and "I Sparkle," unreleased gems like "Captain Caveman" and "Sleazy Gynecologist," and fine cameo verses on classic songs like CRU's "Just Another Case," OutKast's "Da Art Of Storytellin'," and Ghostface and Raekwon's "The Sun."
3. He has a timeless rhyme style that's never altered from when he first debuted on "The Show" and "La Di Di Da" in 1985. It's a melodic, almost conversational flow which derives from Spoonie Gee. It went on to be the blueprint for other all time greats as diverse as Q-Tip, Mac Dre, Snoop Dogg, AZ, MF DOOM, and Max B. Even if I never hear another rapper again as I'm Robinson Crusoe-ing it up on my mythical desert island, the spirits of rap greats past and present all linger in his music.
4. He had the good sense to retire from releasing full lengths so there's no chance of him sullying his legacy with half-baked comeback albums (hello Rakim, Ice Cube, Common, Jay Z!). When he does pop up for a brief cameo, you're always pleased to hear from him.
5. He looked cooler than a polar bear's chode. So if you're gonna plant your flag on a single rapper, it might as well be the flyest dude to ever grace the rap game.