Lists

The ten best storytellers in hip-hop

Page 4 of 5

6. Lupe Fiasco Lupe is known for his storytelling with tracks like "Kick, Push," which speaks to the existential crisis of the misfit and "Bitch Bad," which tackles the lofty subject of gender relations in hip-hop. But Lupe's greatest achievement in storytelling has been the abstract and epic saga of Michael Young History, a boy abandoned by his father, raised by metaphorical characters The Streets and The Game to eventually become The Cool. Though which of Lupe's songs touch on this tale is debated, it is generally accepted that the story begins on Lupe's debut, Food & Liquor with Michael's childhood on "He Say, She Say" and ends just a few tracks later with (spoiler alert) his resurrection on "The Cool." The meat of the story is stretched across his first two studio albums and possibly beyond containing at least six tracks and according to this interpreter, eighteen.

5. Eminem As far as storytelling is concerned, The Slim Shady LP is one of the greatest -- if not the greatest -- albums ever: "Brain Damage," "As the World Turns," "My Fault," "'97 Bonnie and Clyde," and especially "Guilty Conscience" are all creative and entertaining stories that would make the cut as nearly any album's token storytelling song. Eminem's very best story, though, didn't come until The Marshal Mathers LP with "Stan," a Shakespearean-level tragedy compressed into a less than seven minute song.

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Noah Hubbell