Redman, Method Man, Andre 3000, Killer Mike, Big Pun
If your favourite MC in hip hop is Eminem then you have one man to thank and that's New Jersey's finest rapper Redman. For mainstream audiences, he's the guy who had a verse on Christina Aguilera's hit record 'Dirty' all those years ago. However, those who are true fans of hip hop know Redman is one of the best lyricists to ever come out of the east coast. If you're not fully aware of Erick Sermon's protégé then check out his debut album 'Whut? Thee Album' and get ready to be blown away.
When you're in an influential collective like the Wu-Tang Clan, being able to stand out amongst a murderers' row of rappers is about as easy as telling Kanye West that his Yeezy sneakers really aren't that nice. However, Method Man was able to do just that, using his husky voice, thunderous punchlines and outstanding ability to change up his flow depending on the beat he was on.
There's a strong possibility that if Andre 3000 had actually released a solo hip hop album at some point in his 20 year career that he'd be on this list, that's just good of a rapper he is. His ability to use intricate wordplay, yet make it seem effortless and the way he's able craft the sort of punchlines that would make any other MC worth their salt jealous means that whenever he's on a song you better listen carefully.
Killer Mike might seem like a surprise choice, but the former Dungeon Family member has always had solid bars and like fine wine he's only getting better with age. After teaming up with former Company Flow rapper and co-founder of legendary indie hip hop label Def Jux, El-P, for his last solo effort R.A.P Music and their critically acclaimed group Run The Jewels, Mike has gone from strength to strength and deserves to be on a list with the greats.
There's nothing worse than wasted potential, so it's difficult to remember New York rapper Big Pun and think about what could've been if he'd been able to stay healthy. Despite this, the music he managed to put out during the time he was alive was simply outstanding. His first album, Capital Punishment, was an instant classic filled with songs that still stand the test of time 17 years later and his follow-up album, Yeeeah Baby, was just as good.