Phonte of Little Brother...

So me and Brian *B Dot* Miller (please say the Hipster Killer) were talking about yesterday's blog and somehow ended up discussing Saigon.
It's a shame that he split with Atlantic Records just when he released a banger. I never expected Sai Giddy to come out with a shake yo ass anthem, so for my money, "Believe It" could have worked. It's not saccharine or anything, but I can see the song getting some radio play. Then again, Sai may just be dropping too many jewels for the average radio listener. He’s really good. Shoot! I'll give him nice.

See, my personal Skill Scale goes atrocious, wack, mediocre, average, good, nice, nasty (sick) and ill (mind blowing). My standard doesn't come down for anyone. When it comes to lyricism, Nas is my measuring stick. If you're gonna come out and claim wordsmith status, then you're up against his entire catalog. Rakim is the blueprint and Nas is the second coming. The thing with Nas is that he’s not a punchline MC, so he’s harder to quote when comparing him to other lyricists. He’s more cerebral. But, “That buck that bought the bottle could have struck the lotto?” Come on, man!

As for Sai, I dig it. I'm buying The Greatest Story Never Told when it comes out. Again, I think he's nice, maybe even sick, but he has yet to blow my mind. Brian “B. Dot” Miller couldn't believe me when I told him. “Who blows your mind then,” he asked. I immediately listed the usual suspects: Nas, Andre 3000, Common, Big Pun, etc, etc. Interestingly, I struggled to find “ill” new school MCs. Some of them are nice, but none of them are mind blowing to me. Brian “B.Dot” Miller begged to differ, listing Lil’ Boosie, Crooked I, Saigon and B.O.B. on as his four horsemen, or as he likes to put it, the MCs he believes can save rap. Here’s what he had to say.

Boosie: I can read your minds now, “What?! Lil Boosie?! Nigga, you tripping!” Shut your trap, open you ears and peep "Goin Thru Some Thangs." Don’t let “Wipe Me Down” fool you, Boosie’s got a catalog that would rival Eastbay. I used to hate his voice, but once I stopped pre-hating this is the song that made me a believer in Da Bad Azz. If you can't get with this, your whole perspective is wack.
Lil Boosie "Goin Thru Some Thangs"
[Audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/files/2008/05/16-goin-thru-some-thangsbangers.mp3]

B.O.B.: When colleagues use to tell me to check this guy out, I was apprehensive of listening to some nigga named, B.O.B [What kind of name is that for a rapper?!]...Shame on me. Hell, I don’t even do drugs, but when I heard “Cloud 9”, I wanted to run out and cop a dub-dub. I listened to more of his material off his mixtape Hi! My Name is B.O.B. and was sold. Check out his freestyle on “Money On My Mind” for any further doubt.
B.O.B. "Could 9"
[Audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/files/2008/05/cloud-9bangers.mp3]

Saigon: [Sigh!] Saigon, Saigon, Saigon! I was starting to lose hope in the Yard Father. For a minute, I was thinking I would see my beloved yet bum ass Knicks win a championship before I saw The Greatest Story Never Told at Best Buy. But after thinking about it, perhaps Sai Giddy was just a victim of circumstances courtesy of the machine. I revisited the first song I ever heard from him, “True Story” and it restored my faith.
Saigon "True Story"
[Audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/files/2008/05/04-true-storybangers.mp3]

Crooked I: I would hate to see Crooked I fall into the same space as the late Big L as one of the best to never do it, in terms of reaching the masses. Listen to any of his 52 Hip Hop Weekly freestyles and I dare colored men disagree with me. Granted, some of the cuts are stronger than others, but who can deny this guy’s talent. Some rappers would give their left nut for Crooked I’s worse record. Take a listen to one of my favorite freestyles from his HHW series. Maybe isn’t dead after all. smarten up NaS.
Crooked I "Hip-Hop Weekly 20"
[Audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/files/2008/05/20-20-international-playersbangers.mp3]

Meanwhile, I couldn’t think of anyone until my iPod shuffled onto Little Brother on the train this morning. That’s it! Phonte done blew my mind several times. The thing is, I peeped every song B.Dot recommended and liked them. Still, I'm riding with Te. The guys listed above all vary in subject matter, but we're talking mind blowing, here. I should just put the iPod back on shuffle and link to the Phonte verse it lands on. It probably tops any of these other dudes' verses. But I'll go with "Speed" off The Listening, the first time I realized Te was on some other spit.
Little Brother "Speed"
[Audio:http://www.xxlmag.com/files/2008/05/speedbangers.mp3]

Oh and I almost forgot Lupe Fiasco. He's sick with it, but I'll still roll with Tiggalo. What do you guys think? Is Phonte the nicest new school MC/lyricist? If not, who is? Is Te at least nicer than Crooked I, Sai, Boosie and B.O.B? Speak on it.