Dee-1 has been consistent in his stance against music that glorifies violence and negativity – and it’s for that reason that he can’t justify having a Top 5 MCs list.
In the latest segment of his extensive Art of Dialogue interview published on Tuesday (January 23), the New Orleans native explained that he’d essentially be a hypocrite to put a majority of the rappers he once loved on a top list because of their music content. However, Nas was able to make the cut because the legendary rapper’s message has evolved.
“I’m to the point now where I realize that I can’t have a Top 5 no more because my Top 5 would have been people who at some point in their life or their career, they were glorifying the stuff that we need to be fighting against,” Dee said. “And that’s something that I gotta be like dang, did they ever graduate from that or elevate from that? If they did, then cool. Nas my favorite rapper. Always been my favorite rapper.”
He continued: “But outside of Nas, I was definitely infatuated with the ignorance in music and very much in love with the music and ignoring the message and putting people on a pedestal that they didn’t deserve. I gotta have a whole new Top 5. I can put Nas there, I feel comfortable putting Lupe Fiasco there. Outside of them, the other names that I normally would have named would definitely make me feel conflicted in my spirit to say that.”
He also noted that JAY-Z has evolved, but didn’t name him in his Top 5.
You can watch the full clip below:
In an earlier part of his interview, Dee expressed a similar sentiment regarding N.W.A. , explaining how he feels they should not be considered a legendary group because of their glorification of violence, among other things.
While he noted he wasn’t old enough to have witnessed their impact in real time, he did say they should be stripped of their legendary status.
“What do we do with that?” he began. “Once we acknowledge what you have contributed to the genre, your whole career, and if we acknowledge that you’ve contributed a bunch of negativity, a bunch of violence, a bunch of disrespect of women, what do we do?”
He continued: “Do we call you a legend or is it like – wait, we don’t need to call you no legend. I think that calling people legends in Hip Hop is also a force of what helps to perpetuate negativity and that’s a trick of the enemy. That’s the devil’s work at his finest.
“We’re going to make it to where y’all start to call people legends and immortalize people inside of Hip Hop, and the main thing they’ve contributed is the glorification of violence, the disrespect of women, the glorification of drug dealing and drug use. Like, that’s crazy. We need to take the legend status off of a lot of the people who we call legends in Hip Hop and that’s going to hurt their ego, but that’s going to help our community.”