10 Most Underrated Rappers

#10. Immortal Technique 
Few rappers are as relentlessly vicious as Immortal Technique. This Peruvian-born, New York-bred MC has been dropping the same message of social justice and political activism since he debuted in 2001. Like Chuck D before him, Technique somehow manages to express complex political reasoning in song mode without ever getting in the way of his message. His calls for hip-hop to rise above mediocrity is sometimes met with resentment, but Tech is not one to adjust his message in order to suit popular consensus. If anything, his latest CD The 3rd Worldturns up the admonition a million notches. 

#9. Beanie Sigel 
Ever since he out-rapped Black Thought on The Roots' 1999 smash "Adrenaline," Beanie Sigel has remained a hot commodity in hip-hop. His unique drawl and imaginative metaphors have blessed four solid albums: The TruthThe ReasonThe Becoming, and The Solution. Beans is confident and outspoken, ever eager to expound upon his views on societal ailments or to narrate his personal struggles. His status as one of the brightest MCs around was often obscured at Roc-A-Fella, where Jay-Z held a much larger clout. 

#8. Jean Grae 
Her stage moniker may have been inspired by a comic book character, but Jean Graeâs in-your-face lyricism makes her a real life hip-hop superheroine. JG is not a joke. This unsung lyricist has 6 solid albums under her belt, not counting her work with early 90s crew Natural Resource where she rapped under the alias What What. Jean is often overlooked when veteran MCs are discussed, but she has proved herself to be well ahead of the league of underground rappers--male or female. 

#7. Royce da 5' 9 
Ryan Montgomery (aka Royce da 5'9") is one of the few rappers that can single-handedly hold down an entire album from start to finish. Royce teetered on the brink of mainstream exposure during his brief relationship with fellow Detroit native Eminem. But after a heated battle with D-12, Nickle Nine threw his crown away and became a hip-hop nobody. Still, no greatest MCs list is complete without Royce. 

#6. Black Thought 
If there was an award category for great MCs that never dropped a solo album, Black Thought would be first in line. Thought has been laying down rhymes consistently for 18 years without ever plundering into redundancy. But by todayâs standards, an excellent lyricist typically ranks below any chart-topping puppet fastened to the strings of a major label. No wonder Thought's hardly ever mentioned among the upper echelons of rap greats. 

#5. Wise Intelligent 
Most people remember the progressive-rap group Poor Righteous Teachers, but few acknowledge the rhyme alchemists behind their sprawling catalog. That oversight is not without justification. Like most hip-hop crews, Poor Righteous Teachers reached loftier heights as a group than they did as solo artists. That notwithstanding, Wise Intelligent has managed to prove that the sum of a group is not always greater than its individual strengths by successfully establishing himself as a veritable standalone MC. Wise, who has now added 2 impressive albums to the PRT body of work, is one of the most creative MCs of our time. 

#4. Louis Logic 
Louis Logic was not nicknamed the Drunken Dragon for nothing. He has a knack for bullying good beats into submission, after all. Louis Logic's favorite topics revolve around failed relationships and personality chaos, but he approaches them with a unique blend of style and substance that rarely exists in today's rap scene. Despite those stately hallmarks, Logic is still crawling under the fog of the unknown in Hip-Hop Nation. 

#3. Sean Price 
There's no arguing the fact that Sean Price is more articulate than your average rapper. Though Sean P has always been as lyrically deft as (if not better than) his Boot Camp Clik comrades, his name rarely comes up when hip-hop greats are mentioned. P is 2/2 with his splendid catalog that includes Monkey Barz and Jesus Price Supastar. It's only a matter of time before he gains much-deserved free access into hip-hop's ivy league.
#2. Masta Ace
A veteran of the game since the late 1980s and a member of the legendary Juice Crew, Masta Ace spawned many of the slangs and techniques employed by todayâs big names, including Eminem. Ace has been Sittinâ on Chromes way before twinkies became a hip-hop trend, long before the ability to use "chrome" in a rhyme became a prerequisite for scoring a major label deal. Yet, for some reason, this no-nonsense wordsmith is constantly overlooked by a big swath of the hip-hop community. 

#1. AZ 
As surprising as it sounds today, AZ's verse on Nas' "Lifeâs A Bi**h," the sole guest contribution on Illmatic, was his official demo. He followed that brilliant performance with a flurry of street anthems like "Rather Unique," "Sugar Hill," and "The Essence." Despite his smooth flow, unparalleled lyricism, and unquestionable longevity, AZ has never achieved the mainstream recognition of his Firm peers Nas and Foxy Brown. So, to those who think of the 48th state each time they hear AZ, this one's for you: Go pick up his first 3 albums, check out his music videos on YouTube, and you just might discover a new favorite MC. 

Source; Henry Adaso,
Uploaded 06/30/2012
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