Considering all the wayward individuals and struggle rappers that continue to crowd our culture, there has never been a bigger need for a Hip-Hop council—an official Board of Directors. Yes, let’s talk about it.
While for the most part, mainstream rappers generally play nice in the sandbox, they typically don’t unify until an unmistakable miscarriage of justice has befallen on one of their tribe (see Trayvon Martin) or Brown people as a whole have been disparaged (see Gucci).
Even then there is a clock that eventually times out any unified front. But imagine if there were appointed officials in place that governed over the genre in an effort to ensure the culture stays true and that outside forces keep ample amounts of respeck on our names? A lot to ask for but we can dream, right?
This committee would be comprised of minds from various walks of life, professions, ideologies, tastes, and eras. While the members would share too many differences to count, each is an undoubted authority on Hip-Hop whose opinion commands consideration. Thankfully, we have already done the heavy lifting and compiled the all-star cast.
HipHopWired.com proudly presents the 2019 edition of The Board. While there were many names that can be justified with (and deserving of) a slot, we went with relevance and voice.
Did we get it right? Who would you vote off Hunger Games style? Sound off in the comments section below.
1. Charlamagne Tha GodSource:Getty
Lenard has come a long way from being Wendy Williams’ sidekick. Within his near-decade run on The Breakfast Club, Charlamagne has become a defining voice in Hip-Hop for his no holds barred approach to critiquing popular culture. His ability to stay ten toes down even in the presence of a guest that he has thrown under the bus previously makes him more than qualified to take a seat at The Board.
2. Killer MikeSource:Getty
Few rappers can actually rhyme as proficiently as they can communicate the struggle of our people; this is what makes Killer Mike so special. In the last couple of years, the Atlanta native has proven to be a no-nonsense activist for disenfranchised communities all over the country. More importantly, he has specific direction regarding economic empowerment, voting strategy and raising the new generation to be leaders. And this was all before Trigger Warning.
3. LeBron JamesSource:Getty
While he is recognized as one of the greatest NBA players of all time LeBron’s impact off the court can’t be overlooked. Over the last couple of years, the All-Star forward has used his massive star power for the greater good of humanity. This includes representing for Trayvon Martin after his untimely slaying at the apex of his career to launching the I Promise School in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. In addition to all the philanthropic work he does, James also keeps a close ear to Hip-Hop with frequent video posts shouting out new music he is rocking too. What more could you ask for?
4. Joe BuddenSource:Getty
Whether you love him or hate him you have to respect Joe Budden. The MC turned cultural critic has become a household name for his very pointed and cutting views regarding today’s music scene. So much so it drew the ire of Drake so clearly the New Jersey native is doing something right.
5. Ebro DardenSource:Getty
The former radio station executive has proven to be worthy of his morning drive slot time on New York’s Hot 97. While he has been known to ruffle some feathers from time to time, his authenticity and knowledge of the game can’t be disputed. He has put the likes of Kodak Black on the hot seat without blinking showing that he is built for those heavy conversations.
6. Chance The RapperSource:Nicky Nelson / WENN.com
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an MC, not rapper, who does as much for his community as Chance The Rapper. The Chicago born lyricist is equal parts performer and equal parts advocate for the Windy City. With several initiatives in place to raise money for social issues that affect Chicago’s youth (i.e. mental health, education, homelessness) clearly his alignment with the not for profit organization SocialWorks is for real. Furthermore, Chano has not been scared to put his name on the line in the name of his city’s reputation against Spike Lee and also giving the Supreme Court a how-to guide on Hip-Hop.
7. T.I.Source:Greg Doherty/Getty Images
The man born Clifford Harris has swung on Floyd Mayweather, stood in front of a squad of armed police, lead a boycott on culturally insensitive luxury clothing brands. Within the last couple of calendars, Tip has also become increasingly involved in the community with promoting Black banking and criminal justice reform. Let’s not forget he reminded us that a positive Black family structure can succeed on a major television network.
8. Colin KaepernickSource:Getty Images
The former quarterback’s story reminds us all that if you do not stand for something you will fall for anything. Since playing in his last season in the NFL, Kaepernick has become a civil rights champion in his own right with multiple efforts to empower disenfranchised people. Even more impressive is that he has put up his own money to donate to various charities. It’s no cap with Kaep.
9. Karen CivilSource:Getty
The former Hot 97 intern has steadily climbed the corporate ladder of success and now is one of the go -o names in regards to marketing strategy in Hip-Hop. Karen has consulted the likes of Pusha T, Meek Mill, Nicki Minaj and even Hillary Clinton. She’s your favorite influencer’s influencer.
10. Jemele HillSource:Getty
Jemele has proven she doesn’t back down from anyone; including Donald Trump. Even when her livelyhood was on the line she remained vocal when it came to equal rights, discrimination, how Black athletes are portrayed in the media and many more touchy subjects that many other journalists are too scared to talk about. Add the fact that she knows her Hip-Hop and Ms. Hill is a no brainer.
11. Cardi BSource:@PhotosByBeanz
While Bardi might not always phrase things in a politically correct manner, she speaks from the heart and on behalf of the people.
12. Dapper DanSource:Getty
The famous tailor holds his own among fashion giants and gangsters alike.
13. DiddySource:Alberto Reyes/WENN.com
It’s Diddy—who’s not going to listen to what this man has to say?
14. Kevin “Coach K” LeeSource:Getty
The longtime record executive has helped groom Quality Control into the hottest brand in Rap; and this is after he managed the careers of Gucci Mane and Young Jeezy.
15. Angela RyeSource:Lars Niki/Getty Images
Over the last couple of years Ms. Rye has grown to be one of the most respected political commentators in the country. How she flamed Joe Walsh on live television should be the only proof you ever need that she is deserving of this slot.
16. Angie MartinezSource:PNP / WENN.com
If you are able to impress the Talk of New York in an interview then consider yourself in special company.
17. Steve StouteSource:WENN.com
The commissioner was a key architect in some of the best Rap music in the 90’s. He now has the hottest hand in advertising.
18. Lord JamarSource:TV One
You might not agree with all his views but the Brand Nubian rapper’s knowledge of the culture isn’t up for debate.
19. Funkmaster FlexSource:Getty
The DJ still commands top billing at Hot 97 and isn’t worried about hurting any rapper’s feelings when he gets on the mic.
20. Master PSource:Winston Burris/WENN.com
Percy still carries OG respect and has proven his business acumen is only getting better.
21. Sway CallowaySource:Photo by Bennett Raglin/Getty Images for WE tv
The media personality has an impeccable record of representing the culture for 20 years plus.
22. STAR aka Troi TorainSource:Getty
After breaking the Afrika Bambaataa sexual abuse scandal and other top stories we are convinced that The Hater misses nothing.
23. Elliott Wilson & Brian “B-Dot” MillerSource:Getty
The Rap Radar boys are moving out here.
24. Desus & MeroSource:Vice
If you follow the duo then you already know what’s understood doesn’t have to be said.
25. Big BoySource:Brian To / WENN.com
Another OG radio personality to round the list and give the West Coast proper representation.
26. Combat Jack – EmeritusSource:Getty
Unfortunately, the late, great Reggie “Combat Jack” Osse is no longer with us, but his spirit and presence lives on. We decided to keep this last at 25 but want to honor Combat since he was one of the first people we thought of that had a spot locked when we first toyed with the idea of “The Board” years ago. Combat changed the podcast landscape and left an indelible imprint in Hip-Hop before he was taken away from us way too soon. Rest in power.—Alvin aqua Blanco