Beginning this weekend, REVOLT TV will be airing its School of Hip Hop specials, celebrating education and the experience that is going back-to-school, including school-inspired music videos, interviews from your favorite figures in hip-hop revealing their favorite lessons, and more. For most kids and young adults, preparing to return back to school is one of the most exciting times of the year, as you get to expand or refresh your wardrobe and resume old friendships and cultivate new ones. While education is of the utmost importance, school is also a way to meet and interact with people of all backgrounds and walks of life, and can be essential in informing who you are socially. The experiences and moments made, good or bad, are ones that are often remembered for a lifetime and serve as moments of truth.
Throughout your years in grade school, college and elsewhere, we often run into classmates that possess certain traits that make them memorable, whether it be their hair, style of dress, humor, or intellect. This also applies to hip-hop, as many of the artists we listen to possess qualities that make them stick out from their peers and force the fans to take notice of their every move or statement, whether you like it or not.
With school back in full swing, REVOLT TV decided to put together our own list of superlatives for the first class of legendary rappers to help shape the culture and earn our attention, as well as one for the current stars that have proven to be unforgettable in their own right. Class is in session!
BIZ MARKIE | When looking back on the 80s, few rappers were responsible for more chuckles than Juice Crew member Biz Markie, who reminded his fellow classmates that although lyricism and being emcee was important, the ultimate purpose of hip-hop was to have fun. Infamous for humorous and lighthearted songs like "Pickin' Boogers" and "Toilet Stool Rap," as well as his willingness to take on various characters, Biz Markie was undoubtedly the class clown of rap's Golden Era.
6IX9INE | In spite of his career being shrouded in controversy stemming from his legal battles and beefs with other artists, Brooklyn rapper 6ix9ine has managed to win much of his detractors over through humor. Trolling his enemies, the media, and even his own fans at times, 6ix9ine has emerged as one of the more hilarious and self-aware rap artists in recent memory, with his antics and his outlandish appearance making him the perfect class clown.
KRS-ONE & MS. MELODIE | One of the first true romances that bloomed in rap was the relationship between Boogie Down Productions co-founder KRS-One and rapper Ms. Melodie, who tied the knot in 1987, during the peak of KRS-One's career. Although Ms. Melodie and KRS-One would separate in 1992, their standing as one of the first power couples in hip-hop is not to be forgotten.
REMY MA & PAPOOSE | Marriage is all about couples sticking together, through better and worse, and no couple in hip-hop history have endured the trials and tribulations rappers Remy Ma and Papoose have faced during their decade-long union. Following Remy Ma's 2008 conviction on assault, illegal weapons possession and illegal coercion charges, Papoose was her biggest supporter throughout her entire prison sentence and, in the wake of her release, the two have gotten married and become a beacon of what true love can be, making them rap's favorite new couple.
MC HAMMER | The 80s were filled with rap acts that were not only nice on the mic, but swift on their feet, but one artist whose moves stood out from the others was Oakland rep MC Hammer, one of the biggest crossover stars of his time. In videos like "Can't Touch This" and "Too Legit to Quit," Hammer and his 357 posse captivated viewers with their choreographed movements, and MC Hammer as the central focus of it all.
BLOCBOY JB | Popular dance moves are nothing new in hip-hop, but one of the latest to catch fire is Memphis rapper Blocboy JB's 'shoot' dance, which has become the latest dance craze in the wake of his Drake-assisted Top 5 hit "Look Alike." Despite his relatively brief tenure on the mainstream radar, Blocboy JB has already proven himself to be the best dancer in his class, with moves so smooth that fans and his peers alike have attempted to mimic his swagger.
Most Likely to be President
CHUCK D | Leading the charge on the seminal classics It Takes a Nation of Million to Hold Us Back and Fear of a Black Planet, Public Enemy frontman Chuck D played a huge role in bringing sociopolitical matters to the forefront of the hip-hop conversation. Always one to challenge the status quo and take politicians to task, on and off wax, if the rap community were to vote for their president, Chuck D would be the most likely to wind up on the ballot.
CHANCE THE RAPPER | In a time where rap artists have been outspoken and involved in their communities in a way that we've never seen before, Chance The Rapper has emerged as one of rap's biggest activists and philanthropists. Lending his voice to shed light on various issues and his platform to enrich the lives of children in his hometown of Chicago, Chance The Rapper's prospects of landing a presidential campaign is far from a stretch.
Best Best Friends
SALT-N-PEPA | Best friends can be described as 'when you see one, you see the other' and no duo was inseparable during the 80s like rap group Salt-N-Pepa, one of the premier acts of the time and true-to-life friends. From coordinating their style to complement one another, to donning matching outfits in photo shoots, music videos and on album covers, Salt-N-Pepa was the trio every group of friends wanted to emulate during their heyday.
FAT JOE & NOREAGA | Rap is becoming increasingly dominated by the younger generations of artists, but as veterans that have managed to remain relevant and reinvent themselves after two decades in the rap game, Fat Joe and Noreaga have managed to stay afloat, in large part to their brotherhood. From appearing on each others' podcasts, to being featured on each others' albums, Fat Joe and Noreaga's friendship is one of the stronger bonds in rap and the product of mutual love and respect.
ERIC B. & RAKIM | Having style was an important attribute in rap during the 80s, and rap group Eric B. and Rakim helped define the decades street aesthetic throughout the prime years of their career. All it takes is one peek at the covers for albums like Paid in Full and Follow The Leader, which showcase the duo in all of their Dapper Dan splendor, to see how they were the best dressed in their class.
A$AP ROCKY | When one of your nicknames is 'Fashion Killa,' it's a pretty good chance that you're known for getting fly, which is something that can be said about Harlem rapper A$AP Rocky. In addition to name-dropping luxury brands in his rhymes, he also models for them, as the rapper is among the new faces of designer giant Dior, a role he assumed in 2016—all indications that his standing as rap's most stylish gent is without reproach.
Most Likely To Succeed
LL COOL J | No solo rap artist during the 80s wielded the popularity and star power that LL Cool J possessed during his rise as one of rap's first phenoms. Coming out of the gate with four consecutive albums to achieve platinum or double-platinum certification and a bevy of hit singles, the kid from Hollis, Queens proved to have the midas touch, making him the most likely rapper to succeed of the decade.
DRAKE | Being the king of rap is every emcee's dream, but few actually survive the ranks to reach the mountaintop. One artist that has tested his mettle against the field and come out on top is Drake, who has been one of the premier stars in not only rap, but of music since his debut album, Thank Me Later, debuted atop the charts. Say what you want about the rumors and controversies surrounding the strength of his pen, nearly a decade later, Drake continues to make history and shatter records at a constant clip, making him rap's ultimate winner in 2018.
FRESH PRINCE | Similar to Biz Markie, the Fresh Prince (Will Smith) has always been unafraid to crack jokes or have fun at his own expense, evidenced by the music videos for songs like "Parents Just Don't Understand" and "I Think I Can Beat Mike Tyson." One of the more friendly faces in a genre predicated on street cred and attitude, the Fresh Prince was a likable and personable character within the genre, enabling him to become embraced by fans from all walks of life and become a TV and movie star.
CARDI B | In high school, there's always that one person with the bubbly personality that may be a bit too obnoxious, talkative, rough-around-the-edges and speaks their mind, but everyone, from their classmates to their teachers, adores. As far as rap in 2018, that person is Cardi B, the Bronx dynamo and former stripper who flipped social media popularity and appearances on Love & Hip Hop into a successful rap career. Charming the public with her charisma and humor, Cardi B has become a media darling and fan favorite in short order.
Life of the Party
THE BEASTIE BOYS | Making their arrival on the rap scene with their 1986 debut album, Licensed to Ill, the Beastie Boys immediately announced themselves as hip-hop's preeminent rowdy bunch, with their hit singles "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party!)" and "No Sleep till Brooklyn"—all encapsulating the decadence that entails a New York night. As rap's original ragers, The Beastie Boys were always the life of the party and the kind of guys you'd want to have a few brews and hit the town with.
RAE SREMMURD | When Mississippi natives Rae Sremmurd released their debut single "No Flex Zone," the rap could not foresee how the Swae Lee and and Slim Jxmmi would dominate the airwaves with a succession of hits catered to becoming the soundtrack of rap fans' turn-up sessions. However, the two brothers have done just that, becoming the go-to guys to get the party started in this new era of rap.
Most Likely To Be A Model
BIG DADDY KANE | When 'tall, dark and handsome' became a popular phrase among the ladies three decades ago, the inspiration behind it was none other than Brooklyn rapper Big Daddy Kane, who wooed the ladies in between pummeling his competitors lyrically on Long Live the Kane and It's a Big Daddy Thing. In addition to posing for Playgirl, The Juice Crew member was so much of a heartthrob that Madonna, the queen of all things erotic in pop culture, tapped him to appear alongside her and model Naomi Campbell in her 1992 sex book.
DAVE EAST | In the age of Man Crush Monday and Instagram thirst, few rap artists have created the frenzy that Harlem rapper Dave East has among the ladies, as the former basketball player has become the object of affection of female rap fans. From appearing alongside the likes of Trina and Christina Milian on play-dates, to supermodel Tyra Banks herself co-signing his features, Dave East is a shoe-in to be voted best looking in his class.
Get schooled with REVOLT TV's 'School of Hip Hop' all month long, every weekend at 12 p.m. ET, starting Saturday, September 8.
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