In Zoolander they had the Slashie award for best actor/model (“and not the other way around”). In this blog the slash stands for best rapper/singer, and lord knows there’s a ish load of ‘em. Don’t be fooled this trend has been going on way before Kanye got his heartbroken or Ja Rule threw on a letter cardigan. So without further ado I offer to you my top five rap “sangas.”
5. Everlast – He may not exactly be a “sanga” but that’s only cause he’s white (I Know Rap People [The White Edition] is coming baby). Most hip-hop heads wrote the former House Of Pain frontman off when he picked up an acoustic guitar for his breakout solo album, Whitey Ford Sings The Blues – including fellow cracker Eminem – but the man’s talents earned him a multi-platinum success as well as a Grammy for his work on Santana’s “Put Your Lights Out.” With cuts like “What It’s Like,” “Ends” and “Gone For Good” with DJ Muggs you can’t deny the gravely- voiced Irish Muslim’s talent.
4. Andre 3000 – While three stacks’ voice may not be the smoothest – with some writing off his efforts as a bad Prince impression – the man was the first rapper to my knowledge to put out an entire record singing – (sans the last joint on The Love Below). Not just sticking to funk, Dre also tried his hand at blues (“Idlewild Blue”), pop (Kelis’ “Millionaire,” Gwen Stefani’s “Long Way To Go”) and show tunes (”When I Look Into Your Eyes”). But in my book it all boils down to two words – “Hey Ya!” – “Shake it, shake it, shake it like a polaroid picture”
3. Mos Def – Another musically ambitious, talented mo’fucker, Pretty Flaco knows how to work his pipes (pause). Whether blessing the hook for Da Bush Babees on “The Love Song” getting soulful on “Umi Says” or rocking out with his short-lived band, Black Jack Johnson on “Zimzallabim,” dude gets busy, Mos Definitely. Peep his rendition of Bel Biv Devoe’s “Poison.”
2. Lauryn Hill – Before she went psycho with the clown makeup, L Boogie was a problem. With almost as many Grammy awards as she has children, Ms. Hill undeniably has the most technically sound vocal chords of anyone on this list. In her prime she could not only rip shop along with her Fugees rhyme partners, she could outsing most of the ladies on the R&B charts. And with only one official solo studio album over 10 years ago, fans are still waiting for a comeback, but there’s one artist that takes the spot above her…
1. Cee-Lo Green- …is the freakin’ Soul Machine! The former Goodie Mob MC has been putting in work since the early ’90s, and with one of the most unique voices in the game, Sweet Suagr Lo is among the premier go to guys for hip-hop hooks. With equal success as both a solo artist and member of Gnarls Barkley, Cee-Lo easily tops the list, epitomizing what a rap sanga is supposed to sound like.
Who’s your top five rap sangas? – Jesse Gissen