For my birthday Cosmo gave me There's a God on the Mic: The True 50 Greatest MCs, by Kool Mo Dee. Kool Mo (Mr. Dee?) rates his top MCs on a variety of 1-100 scales such "Flavor", "Substance", and "Flow". It's nice to see such nuanced hip-hop criticism, even though he doesn't always bother explaining his fine-grained distinctions. (I'm still baffled by this passage from his ranking of Tupac: "there are emcees, rappers and Hip-Hop artists, when it comes to rockin' the microphone. Some of us are all three, and most of us are better in one aspect than the other. Tupac was a great emcee, and an even better rapper, but ultimately he was the greatest artist." I... see. Not really though.)
The funniest part of the book is when he gets to himself-- #5 on the list, if you were wondering.
The God himself on the mic. One of the three original kings. The prototype for the intricate emcee. The intricate lyrical emcee.
I would venture to say that there is not an emcee in the game who has shown that he has a deeper vocabulary than Kool Mo Dee.
Without question, one of the most technical lyricists in the game. One of the few people who absolutely makes sure that things are gramatically correct, things are articulated properly, energy and voice are definitely in effect.
The records are not hit records, but still have the meaning and the impact in terms of what the subject matter is about... Absolutely one of the most substantive emcees, period.
Vocal presence: 100
Without question, the vocal attack was impeccable. One of the more recognizable voices, used as a weapon, especially in battle.
Weakest part of the game is absolutely the flavor. I didn't really play with the voice too much, just stayed in attack mode and didn't really use the voice like a weapon. Once in a while I'd take the energy off with the "Wild, Wild, West" song or the "Go See the Doctor," to use my voice instrumentally there, but for the most part it was not really my forte.
At least he's modest, then.