Lists

The ten best storytellers in hip-hop

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10. Andre 3000 Although Big Boi and Andre 3000 both brought their individual strengths to OutKast's "Da Art of Storytellin'" series, Andre has always had more of a flair for a visceral communication of emotion and vivid imagery, which make for some compelling stories. Lines like "I remember her number like the summer" and "Look out the window. Golly, the sky is electric blue" are such clear expressions of a moment that they place you right in the middle of the story. And while some storytelling rappers tell stories that seem to exist only for their own sake, OutKast's always seem to be indicative of some greater significance.

9. Big L Part of Big L's appeal was his authenticity. Whether he's talking about pulling heists for money, doling out street lessons or reflecting on real life struggles, he always impresses his dark, witty personality on his music. Like in "The Heist," when Big L is about to bust in on his wife and her lover with his crew and start killing, he has to pause on the stairs to say, "I'm out of breath. Them cigarettes gon' be the cause of my death." It's out of left field, but funny and appropriate. When the rapper talks about his mother's drug problem in "How Will I Make It," and then says "his dad went out for a fast snack" and never returned, that's the biting humor of the late Big L.

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