Pop culture essays, criticism, fistfights

The Top 5(ish) Best Ad-Libbing Rappers

When I got word that Dipset was getting back together, I sat back and smiled. As I have previously discussed, I really like silly rap. Jones, Juelz, Cam and Freaky Zeaky are about as silly as it gets (hello… dude’s name is Freaky Zeaky).

Sadly, when people discuss the greatest emcees of all time (and I am, in no way, here to make the case for anyone in Dipset in that discussion. No shots, just sayin’), the criteria almost never include a rapper’s ability to ad-lib. Ad-libbing is often an under-appreciated tool in a rapper’s arsenal, but oh boy let me tell you it is one of the most unique aspects of rap, and one of my favorites.

For most, starting off a rap song is no easy feat. Here is a place where we can distinguish an up and comer from a seasoned vet.  A rapper has to captivate the listener and instantly set the tone for the rest of the song, all while exuding plenty of confidence. Or… talking nonsense. Sounds are bonuses.

I also appreciate a good echo. What’s an echo? Jim Jones, demonstrate an echo for everyone! Got it now?

At the end of a song, ad-libbing gives the opportunity to throw a couple more shots at someone or remind everyone how rich you are.

In order to fully appreciate the journey that I am about to take you through, your best bet is to follow along by clicking whatever hyperlinks that I put in here. I’ll make sure that the link takes you to the part of the song that I’m talking about, or just give you the minute/second mark. I promise you, this stuff is really freaking funny. Besides, I’d be pretty pissed if I spent all this time looking up music for you idiots to not use the links.

With that out of the way… here we go!

(So excited!!)

#5: Jadakiss

While he may not be “Top 5, dead or alive” as far as emcees go, Kiss makes top 5 list here just off his "AHA!!!" and the intro to the "Made You Look" remix. I love that. I’m going first on the next Instant Movie Club so I can yell “I need it from the top!!!!”

#4: Rick Ross

While Big Pun and Fat Joe made breakthroughs for fat dudes in rap, Rick Ross somehow made it cool. What Ross lacks in ad-lib range, he makes up for in hit-rate. The self-proclaimed “BAWSE” of Miami gave the streets “Trillaaaaaaaa” (I highly recommend listening to the entire first verse if you want a good “RAWSE!” at 0:48), and even started (inexplicably) calling himself “Ricky Rosé". Ross also gets recognition for the most ballin’ ad-lib of all time, going off for 32 seconds at the end of “Speedin”, closing out the song by simply reminding, “we own things.”

#3: Jay-Z

Hov gets recognition largely due to consistency. Like I said, ad-libbing is pretty hard but Jay has made it seem effortless since "Feelin' It".  Over time though, Jay-Z has gotten significantly more arrogant and taken ad-libs to an atomic level. Responding to Jim Jones’ “Ballin’!”, Jay mouths off: “you playin' pitty pat with a chess player” (0:33) and, after going at Jones and all of Harlem for 3 minutes, reminds listeners "it ain’t about boroughs…”

#2 (Tied): Lil’ Wayne

Weezy would make the top 5 even if he didn’t light up into the mic as part of his intros. But he does, so he’s tied for number 2.

(I would like to point out that Wayne’s phone rings at the 0:36 mark of "Sportscenter", after which he mumbles, “I ain’t cut it off, I just hung up”.

#2 (Tied): Dipset

Nevermind the fact that Dipset songs generally sound like freestyles anyway… when it comes to ad-libbing, these guys… are… awesome. Individually (Juelz with his “AYE!”, Cam with the “Killa!!”), collectively, whatever. The unintentional comedy scale has a new level and that is "Dipset ad-libs". A few weeks ago, the Dipset reunion was announced and "Salute" was released. I don’t feel like spending the time to figure out something to follow up the beginning of that with, in fact, I don’t even care to try.

#1: Diddy

LOL, DUH! This guy Diddy talks, and talks… and talks. All he does is talk. And even as he’s unknowingly (or perhaps, knowingly) become a caricature of himself, he’s a caricature of Diddy and that’s dope. Also, if you have ever wanted to watch someone ad-lib with out actually saying anything, watch Puff’s face during the first 15 seconds of this.

You can argue that this is technically a top 6, but arguing gets you nowhere. Especially with me, but particularly with Jeff. And if he didn’t care, you shouldn’t either.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. What do you think, though? Who did I leave out? (Yes I know I left out Too $hort, but we have a female writer we’re not The Daily Show.

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14 Responses »

  1. I guess I can go ahead and kick off the comments, since some people have expressed displeasure of a few oversights, namely Flava Flav, Jeezy and O.J. Da Juiceman.

    -As much as I love Flav, I'm just not really up on much music from that time period. Maybe I should be, but I'm not. All he really does is ad-lib though, so I'm sure there are great examples; feel free to share.

    -Jeezy is pretty awesome with the "yeaaaaaaah" and "haHAAAA!", but I feel like his ad-libs don't match the ignorance of his rhymes. How do you compliment "It's Snowman, bitch / I don't even wear the same drawers"?? Exactly.

    -Ok... Da Juiceman warrants some consideration

  2. Turn my headphones up!

  3. Blizzard Man! Ludacris! Both ex-treme-ly famous!

  4. i LOVE too $hort. i'm always trying to blow him. what about lil jon? YEAHHHHH!!!!!

  5. Best Too $hort track? Probably "Invasion of the Flat Booty Bitches".

  6. where in the world is Gucci Mane....when you think adlibs he is what comes up to mind

  7. bxtch stfu, Yo Gotti got the BEST ad lib. is goes " I AM" , "Cheeaaaaaaa" and "GOOOTTTIIIII"

  8. fools no one utilises adlibs like e-40 or keek da sneak no one n aint sayin keek is too good but 40 is awesome

  9. Gucci hands down

  10. oj da juiceman ayye ayye okay


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