Phonte Of Little Brother>Any Other New School MC

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”

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″

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”

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″

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”

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.

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  • Pierzy

    I gotta go with Saigon because I think he can roll all of the elements together into one (like the GREAT ones do)…what is Saigon had come out in ’95? He’d be REVERED!!

    • Pierzy

      What about Joell Ortiz? He can rip anybody’s head off and he’ll just keep going and going and going… Joell is already one of my favorites ever

      • Pierzy


        “…He spits it raw/please don’t confuse him with these other cats/He’s a full workout they 3 jumping jacks/Front to back he’s an obstacle to overcome/I mean you know nothings impossible but don’t be dumb/He grew up in cooper projects so you know he’s slum/The only child homie wild/He the only one i ever heard nick named the peoples champ/Underdog all his life/earned his stripes doin things he aint like/Like igniting the fifth all night/huggin the strip servin a pregnant bitch hard white/He happy his mom’s never sucked a glass pipe/She use to sniff gettin her off that shit was a fight/Why the fuck you think homeboy go hard when he writes/Tryin to make his future bright cuz his past got him tight/His cash might be light, pockets empty kid/But same time next year its mtv cribs/His put his life on it twice on it…”

    • Style Wars

      Milano (the thinking man’s “its ya boy” emcee)

      Roc Marciano (modern day raekwon…nuff said)

      Crooked I (if your honest with yourself, you’ll have to admit that the kid could go rounds with both 1998 Pun and 1998Cani, and possibly Eminem too)

      Saigon (dudes a monster)

      Elzhi (easily the most underrated dude, think common back in 97, thas how underrated the kid is, he’ll get his due tho)

      Jay Electronica (this negro is unquestionably the future, if nas was the next rakim, Jay elec is the next nas, more than punchlines he has that intangible poetic quality that only god emcees have…real talk)

    • The Weatherman

      “everybody got a way to be the man/some write rhymes, others move kilograms” Phonte is mind Blowin and is unpreciated by the masses. What makes him great is that he can entertain as well be aware on the mic. He also can sing pretty good. That verse was drom the Foreign Exchange album and he sung the hook and Playaz Cirlce “Paper Chaser” song. his verse off the track “Sirens” shows how ill he is… “they tryin to blame this rap shit for all of our ills/like i can stick you up wit a mic/like i can rape you wit a verse or use a verb as a knife/like before Kool Herc everything was alright/like y’all wasn’t callin black women hoes before Rapper Delight”

      Top 5 underated (not in any order)

      *Joe Budden*
      *Rashid Hadee(His Album Dedication nice)

      Nobody has mentioned Skyzoo or Torae. both these dudes is sick. Plus name a song Chaundon or Joe Scudda aint go hard on?

  • Mike Beezy

    I’d have to agree with you on Phonte but Joell Ortiz didn’t even get a mention! Speak on that!

  • Will Lee

    I whole heartedly agree. I even started a Phonte is better than your favorite rapper group on the “Facebook”. He just spits so many lines that can relate to most black men in their twenties not obsessed with rims and guns. My favorite line is off of “Boondock Saints” ,”Blacks folks saying that Im too intelligent and white folks saying im a little too niggerish.” That pretty much sums up the better part of my 24 years on this planet. That whole verse is bananas. F a “Carter 3″ leak, im listening to Tigallo for the rest of this one.

  • Kerda


    I’ve long wondered why people sleep so deeply on Phonte. I would say actually that he’s the “realest” rapper in the game today, in that everything he says just feels authentic. Not by a Rick Ross, Young Jeezy “I move 28 kilos a day and live in a gigantic mansion and rap about it constantly, yet the cops never catch me” means of “realness”, but in a “I’m broke, my baby moms is bitching, and I’m stuck working a menial, dead-end job” way. It’s shit that people can actually relate to and take something from.

    That’s why it always confused me when people said “Man, fuck LB without 9th”, since I always though the simplistic, bargain basement Pete Rock impersonation that 9th Wonder passed of a hot production held the group back more than anything. Gimme a record of Phonte and Pooh over Just Blaze production and I’ll be a happy camper. Or hell, with all of their OKP connections, why haven’t they hooked up with ?uest yet and made some experimental, mind-blowing shit?

  • Incilin

    I aint heard much from BOB so I can’t say all that bout him. Lupe and Saigon are crazy talented. Lupe already blew my mind. Saigon aint never blown my mind, but he’s come dam close (In fact, his verse on “Criminal” might be mind blowing). Plus both of them know how to construct songs well. Lupe already has two god albums, and if Saigon ever gets released shit sounds like it’ll be hot.

    Crooked I is ill, but I’ve mostly heard him on those Weekly joints. I aint even sure dude can do some regular type song and still blow my mind.

    This Boosie shit is good, but I aint convinced just yet. And even though that track will make me think twice about making fun of Boosie in the future, but that Eastbay catalog still has “Wipe Me Down” on the cover and that’s as ugly as Rick Ross shirtless.

    But the dudes that belong on this list are Joell Ortiz and Papoose. Don’t front on Ortiz. And Papoose blew my mind the first time I heard him on “Alphabetical Slaughter” That nigga Pap is a beast. He’s my favorite new school cat, and one of my favorite rappers in general. Very few dudes can be as lyrically coherent as him. Listen to him point out inconsistencies Murder Mook’s bullshit story about getting shot on “Who Shot Ya?”, or rationalize Sadam’s last days on “Gang Bang Salute”, and don’t even get me started on Law Library and all the hip hop police records.

    • og bobby j

      Co muthafuckin sign. Pap is one of the illest. This nigga put out like 20 mixtapes…..and anyone who listens to the first 5 alone cant deny he is one of the best lyricist.

      I fucks with crooked I too…

      and Cassidy can be a beast “my weed fluffy/ and got red hair like peggy bundy!”

      Also….Termanology is blessed with flo-nomics. Plus, he stays on them hot premo beats….

      Big Pun= best flow ever!

      • Pierzy

        Great call on Termanology – I totally forgot about him. He’s incredible…

  • major

    Y’all boys ain’t ready for damage, you need extra planning
    You in the game, but you off-sides and gotta extra man in
    And I’m the coach doing your reprimanding
    I got a team to run, boy respect my standards

    This was the first time i heard Phonte, Ive been sold ever since.

    And i been tellin niggas bout Boosie since forever, dont sleep on the nigga cuz he make club songs. He’s not so much lyrical but he spits real shit.

  • 1980


  • Mean Greene

    Bout damn time!

    Phonte is someone who uplifts, challenges and enlightens, the type of MC people say there’s no more of these days. Far from Stan status but damn man this cat is one of the most consistently dope verse droppers in the game.

  • Drew Ricketts

    I think Phonte is nice, but not mind-blowing. Go figure. I agree with most of your other sentiments. I think Te is relatable but not especially refined with his style of rhyming. Elzhi does this same syllable patterning but much more diversely. I think the best flows should mimic more than just parts of the drum beat. They should weave between pianos and horns well too. That said, I would be curious to see what Phonte does on a solo joint.

    New cats I’m feeling: Mickey Factz, Joell “OF COURSE” Ortiz, Cavalier, Homeboy Sandman, A Pinks, AC, Black Milk, Ill Legit, Guilty Simpson to name a few.

  • henry

    usually you have to be a multi syllable rapper to be mind blowing

    big pun,nas,AZ, whoever else

    lupe is still the best

  • lookadeez

    quit trying to look cool and placate the south by choosig Lil Boosie dude. He sucks, no matter where he is from. It only shows how ignorant you are to who the dope shit is down here lyrically.

    Devin the dude,Ceelo, even Banner before him. he aint even on the charts.

  • Deez Nutz

    Are you a f*cking retard? Dis nukka said lil boosie…i’m about to lose it…how you gonna say these nukkas have lyrics? some of these nukkas have lyrical skill but don’t put them in the same breath as nas, andre 3000 or even Kanye…

    name one line in the lil boosie song that made you wanna rewind…man lil wayne got more lyrical shyt than these nukkas

    Lil Wayne-Lollipop Remix
    ” Safe sex is great sex
    Better wear a latex
    Cuz you dont want that late text
    that “I think I’m late” text”

    Lil Wayne and Bun B song “I’m so Cold

    “1 2 3 way, 4+4 makes 8, 9 times outta 10 its 11 or a 12 gauge
    Friday the 13th thats the day that hell raise
    But yall boys 2 weak(week), like 14 days”

  • daz_oc

    Wayne does say some dumb shit sometimes but that verse off Im so cold is hot……..

    I always felt Phonte was a good rapper since the listening…

  • W.Harris

    Joel Ortiz..definitely…I also like Wordsworth,though I guess you really can’t consider him a “new cat”.Including Lil Boosie in the mix kind of left me puzzled..I’mma have to do some checking into that

  • mr.martin

    Anybody that wears a tee that says they too intelligent, usually is a character in the first place. On the last album he said he got accused of being an elitist. Maybe cuz of that shirt. Plus the style changed a little after the first album to a more comical way of emceeing


    Surely you must never heard of a guy by the name of Lupe Fiasco? Surely you never heard his two Classics( yep if New York niggas can call anything they feel the same about a classic why can’t we?), or that he would body any MC in the game right now?

  • phantom

    lupe and kanye. Looking to hear more from b.o.b. , Crooked I been around forever, it would be nice to get his cd in the collection. Then me;) phantom peace

  • thoreauly77

    phonte for sure. there’s a weirdo emcee from chicago named serengeti that kind of defies categorization, but he is a new favorite. bishop lamont was dope on caltroit with black milk (the only thing i have heard from him).

  • Club Med

    What about this guy Jay Electronica? The internets seem to have a lot to say about him, though I haven’t heard much. And Rich Boy, although he isn’t mind blowing or even sick for that matter, he is surprisingly lyrical. Throw some deez on that, BITCH! I personally like Murs and Blu. I’m not from the west but both them dudes can flow. I’d by either of their CD’s before anybodies on that list.

  • A-

    love Crooked Sai & Phonte alot….all hella sick BUT….

    Lupe > any new school MC

  • AlSween

    “Raleigh niggas try to Cary me but I’m Already at my Apex” yea phonte is nice with it. when i first heard speed years ago it made me fall in love with little brother’s music and that opened me up to 9th and the rest of the Justus league.

  • cocotaso

    blu, joel, phonte, black milk

  • lyricallydope

    blu, phonte ,jay electronica, skyzoo, drake, wale = the future

  • fasteddie

    yeah, phonte is super lyrical. it’s about TIME he got noticed for his lyrics. i’m from nc and am PROUD to have little brother hailing from my state (even though Pooh is from VA). they have definitley raised the bar along with a lot of other people that were named in the comments (joell, terminology, cassidy, murs, etc.) little brother spits that 94-98 style hip hop and it’s undeniable. the only reason they didn’t blow up commercially is because kanye west came out and filled that niche in music (think about it). they will get their time to shine; and even if they don’t real people recognize real music. great plug for lil boosie. got to start listening to him a bit more now. don’t forget joe budden either. man, you come with awesome topics. its like you’re reading real hip hop heads minds’!! keep up the good work.

  • Brian “B.Dot” Miller

    Just to stray off topic for a second, but do you guys honestly believe that some the rappers mentioned in these comments have the influence, star power, and music to bring the rap artform back to its domincance?…Most of these “new” rappers popularity are soley confined to a computer monitor. *cough* jay electronica *cough*
    I like to call em, “flash in the pan buzzes” (c) <—B.Dot, 2008

  • jackpot

    B.Dot has a point, fellers.

  • Believer

    wale is the future of hip hop. Check out his mixtape about nothing and you’ll see. Not only is he lyrical, but he has the right team behind him(grammy winning producer mark ronson+interscope records), he is bringing a new sound (go-go infused hip hop), and he has hella charisma. Yoy can download the tape at

  • Jason

    Thank you!! ive been saying Tiggalo is the best rapper out at the moment – tough call – but i wholeheartedly believe this

    Peep his track ‘Next Day’
    Niggas wanted a deal so bad that they can taste it
    But everyday it seem it would be a no go
    With a palm that’s sweaty and a hand that’s jittery
    Signed to Atlantic and the rest is misery
    Oops! Freudian slip – I mean the rest is history
    I’m just still a little hot – excuse my niggery

    damn…and he almost always outshines any guest spots he does

  • Dee El

    Cosign to the fullest!! But, you have to listen to his verse on “Whatever You Say” That shit was ILL!! ILL!! ILL!! I rocked to that verse the first time I heard and and rewound that shit after the last line to see if it was true, and I’ll be damned if it wasn’t, what do you think. How many emcees have done that so dopely?? I can’t recall anyone doing it before or since, well at least that well. All that have tried it came off wack. Goes to show you how much flow and cadence carries a rhyme or in this case a verse.

    Dee El Sends


    gotta be crooked I no doubt

  • the real jay

    phonte is dope i heard joints from the little brother album. he needs to do some solo albums. my favorite new nigga is uncle murda.though.

  • ncprecise

    I’m going with PHONTE aka tiggalo aka tegravy… overall he’s the best “new school mc”… lupe has the most thought provoking lyrics… crooked i has the best/most rhyming words, saigon… well saigon has just blaze… Phonte is the best overall package. He’s the Lebron James of the rap game minus the accolades…
    “every now and then u gotta ask yourself, do you really wanna win or jus look good losing?… its no illusion”

  • Jones’n

    Papoose is the best new lyricist, straight up.

  • Take that!!!

    Saigon and Phonte got the spot but i think Sean Price should be on there he is not getting enough props. Also Joell Ortiz, and Wale need to be check out!!!!

  • Take that!!!

    Phonte and Saigon should get those spots, but i think SEAN PRICE needs to be up there cause his lyrics are funny and also he says some smart stuff but he brings some much needed humor back to the game. Also Joell Ortiz and Wale need to get a spot cause they are blowing minds!!!!

  • Marlo Stanfield

    as fans of real hip hop we need to take the time to go out and buy the albums that deserve to be purchased, and boycott this other bs…real talk lets just boycott this other shit and go out and cop music by saigon, little brother, slum village, redman, nas, ghostface, kweli, dead prez etc its up to us to save Hip Hop the good musics out there we just need to stop catering to flo ryder, rick ross, lil wayne, jim jones etc stop copping that shit download it if you still wanna bump it but that real hip hop pure shit we need to go out and buy the legimate CD or were just gonna have another gen that sound like Stupid boy tellem


    When it comes to the mcs mentioned above, Saigitty holds the crown. But Im feeling that BOB Mixtape too. Phonte and Crooked nice but Boosie??? Dont know man…

    But I´ma throw some names in the ring: I see Joell Ortiz, Blu, Bobby Creekwater, Bishop Lamont and Jay Electronica up there too…

  • Cam Jones

    While I respect your love for Phonte because he is one of the top lyricists without question, but come on how you not rate Lupe, Joell Ortiz or Chamillionaire. Matter of fact Joe Budden is dope as fuck and still be considered a young buck even if he is criminally underrated.

  • k02

    Joe Budden, Crooked I, Lupe, Joell Ortiz and gotta agre with you Phonte is ill also

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  • Cinsere

    Some newer lyricists I’m diggin’ (and examples of why they’re “sick”):

    -Joell Ortiz (125 grams pt. 1, 2, and 4)
    -Torae (Save the Day, Click)
    -Jay Electronica (Bitches and Drugs)
    -Sha Stimuli (verses on 125 grams pt. 3*, Save the Day, and They Wanna Murder Me)

    I like Phonte, but he’s never spit with enough passion/aggression to really make me feel him on some “sick” shit. He’s definitely “nice” though.

    * “I don’t know if there’s a better MC / Some people get better with time, I say time’s getting better with me.” ILL!