Debates and discussions come about out of thin air here at the office. For instance, I was just working on some images for an upcoming feature when I overheard Mike D, our Photo Editor, bumping Devin The Dude's "What A Job" featuring Snoop Dogg and Andre 3000.

I then hit up Mike D on AIM, at which point we began praising Three Stacks' lyrical genius. The Dre kudos quickly turned into a lyricism conversation, in which Mike and I attempted to identify hip-hop's super lyricist. See, Luda's a lyricist, Beanie Sigel's a lyricist. Nas and Jay are super lyricsts. Big Pun, Pharoahe Monch and Ras Kass are super lyricists. Here's how the conversation went down.

Jackpot: Andre 300, his delivery is insane. The way he emphasizes the last word he rhymes or splits words up.

Mike D: Yeah he's a master craftsman. We should do a piece about the superlyricists. The ones who REALLY go above and beyond about lyricism.

Jackpot: PHAROAHE MONCH! This dude said, "I touch the youth like catholic priests."

Mike D: I'm not so hot on pharoahe but I think he's dope, but Andre, Jay-Z, Big L, Black Thought, Big Pun.
I dont think there's too many in that top class.

Jackpot: I dont think Thought is on that level. Early on, yes. Like, Illadelph
he absolutely murdered.

Mike D: It's a good debate. Jay gotta be the king.

Jackpot: Nah

Mike D: Who then?

Jackpot: Jay ain't more lyrical than Pharoahe Monch. Like, the thing with a Nas or a Jay, they dumb down sometimes. Monch never dumbs down. You got people like Ras Kass who is pretty damn insane too.

Mike D: And the old guys too, Kane, the early Eminem is pretty good too.

Jackpot: To be fair, Kane isn't as good as Jay.

Mike D: No, but for his time.

Jackpot: Nas and them, they took what Kane, Rakim and them did and took it to another level.

Mike D: Yeah, but then after them it got dumbed down.

Jackpot: There's still nothing as lyrical as Illmatic and Reasonable Doubt in 2009. Those albums are 15 and 13 years old, respectively.

Mike D: What does that say about rap? The evolution has stopped. We're only going downhill from here, like the heyday of rock n roll or jazz. It still gets made but it sucks in comparison.

Jackpot: Yea

What do you guys think?