My name is Shaun, a.k.a. SYpher, and I will potentially be a new writer here at Cultured Vultures. I thought I’d make my first post a bit of an introduction so you readers can get to know what I’m about. For a little over a year I’ve run a website called SYpherSights where I’ve written a ton of concert reviews, album reviews, and other cool articles all relating to hip-hop music. While I plan on continuing to write concert reviews on SYpherSights, I hope to also bring a lot of my hip-hop flavour here to Cultured Vultures.
I first thought I’d share my top 5 favourite hip-hop artists with you guys, but that’s a topic that tends to get repetitive on the internet, so I decided to put a little twist to it. I’ve been to a LOT of concerts over the past five years, so if you don’t see your favourite rapper here, I’ve likely already written about them on my website. These are my top five favourites who I haven’t been able to see perform live yet, and for this list I’ll exclude those who have passed (otherwise it would be another obvious 2Pac, Biggie, Big Pun, Big L, Gang Starr/UGK list).
The world had their eyes on OutKast this year as they made a triumphant return for their 20th anniversary tour. They even came to my hometown Toronto a couple months ago, and yet I still didn’t get to see them. This was because the cheaper tickets sold out in a couple minutes, the expensive tickets were too expensive, and I’m personally not a fan of Drake’s music, whose OVO Festival hosted OutKast’s return to Toronto. There’s really not much I can write that you haven’t already read or heard about OutKast; they’re one of the greatest hip-hop groups of all time with the highest-selling rap album ever. I did get to see Big Boi perform solo at the 2009 Rock The Bells festival in Los Angeles, but OutKast just isn’t OutKast without Andre 3000. I hope they continue to tour by doing their own shows, as opposed to headlining every major festival in North America.
4. Lupe Fiasco
Lupe Fiasco’s music was a huge influence on me when I was in high school, and I think his first two albums are classics. Strangely enough, I haven’t even heard of any opportunities to see him in Toronto since the 2008 Glow in the Dark Tour, on which he opened for Kanye West. Although he’s made himself scarce over the past couple years, he did release a few albums and mixtapes since that tour. Many hip-hop heads seem to feel he’s fallen off, but I’ve actually enjoyed his last couple albums, although not as much as Food & Liquor and The Cool. Wherever you are Lupe, we’re waiting to see you shine again.
3. Army of the Pharaohs
I’ve seen Jedi Mind Tricks perform with guest appearances from Reef the Lost Cauze and Crypt the Warchild, and on separate occasions I’ve seen Heavy Metal Kings, Apathy & Celph Titled as a duo, and Apathy as a solo artist. I’ve never seen the entire Army of the Pharaohs crew perform together though. For those that don’t know, AOTP is one of the illest rap crews TODAY, as they prepare to release their fifth album just six months after their previous one. With a legendary crew like the Wu-Tang Clan not releasing a group album in a few years, Army of the Pharaohs has been able to fill that void, being a crew that’s just as deep and just as dope. I’m unsure as to why they haven’t gone on tour across North America, save for a handful of shows in New York, Philadelphia and Los Angeles; I think their fan base is definitely strong enough to support a nation-wide tour.
2. Royce Da 5’9”
So technically I did see Royce stand on stage at the 2011 Rock The Bells festival in New York, but since it was the last thirty seconds of Slaughterhouse’s set, I didn’t get to actually see him rap. While I love Slaughterhouse, Royce makes this list as a solo artist because he’s had that much of an influence on me. His Death Is Certain album is one of the most influential on my life, and the sense of humour and competitive spirit shown on his Bar Exam mixtapes capture the essence of what I love about hip-hop. Royce has kept his name out there though, as he recently announced a joint album with DJ Premier under the name PRhyme, as well as new music with Bad Meets Evil and Slaughterhouse on the upcoming Shady XV and Glass House albums respectively. I think it’s only a matter of time until he hits the road again.
1. MF DOOM
Also known as Viktor Vaughn, King Geedorah, Zev Love X, or simply DOOM, this is probably the hardest concert to come by. A real hip-hop supervillain, DOOM has had a reputation for occasionally sending imposters to his live shows wearing his metal mask; and for the past few years he seems to have secluded himself in his evil laboratory in England, releasing new music while making grand appearances scarce. I’m such a huge fan of his music though, as his witty wordplay and complex rhyme patterns are second to none. His most recent release is an album where he mostly produced the beats for Bishop Nehru, called NehruvianDOOM. As for projects where he’s the primary emcee, there have been rumours of a Madvillainy sequel and a collaborative album with Ghostface Killah, but you never know what DOOM’s plans are until he implements them.
Honourable Mentions: Big Daddy Kane – A legend from before my time Common – Another hip-hop legend that keeps things fresh Hieroglyphics – I’ve seen Souls of Mischief and Deltron3030, but never the entire crew together ¡Mayday! – One of my favourite bands that emerged in this current decade, check out the new ¡MursDay! album Nitty Scott, MC – I love her, check out her new album The Art of Chill
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