Who can flow both this way and that?
June 15, 2012 1:34 AM   Subscribe

So many rappers have a unique "flow"; Snoop, Busta Rhymes, MCA, Kool Moe Dee, etc. I find it interesting that so many of them have a singular style that they excel at. Suggest rappers that are able to switch between various distinct & different styles of delivery.
posted by radiosilents to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Forgive my brevity - I'm tapping this out on my phone while I nod off, but here's some names that immediately spring to mind:

Pharoah Monch
Craig Mack
Eminem (yes, really)
Ras Kas (probably spelling his name wrongly)
Shock G (you may know him best as Humpty Hump, but that's just one of his characters and they all have unique rapping styles)
posted by TheTorns at 3:01 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Eminem is a perfect example of this - he's always had an extremely elastic style, shifting from nervous tension to really raw and angry. Sometimes he'll play multiple characters in a single song.
posted by windbox at 4:35 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Possibly too far toward pop now for the purposes of your question, but this is how Nicki Minaj originally got big. Go back and listen to her older stuff.
posted by dekathelon at 5:25 AM on June 15, 2012

Nicki Minaj has varying styles like this too. Maybe not in the songs you hear on the radio. Her spot on Kanye West's "Monster" is quite impressive, for example.
posted by erstwhile at 5:40 AM on June 15, 2012

Mos Def's tracks are pretty varied. He tends to sing a lot as well.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:19 AM on June 15, 2012

A$AP Rocky switches between Houston style and a near-perfect Bone Thugs imitation in his verse on Trilla

You might be interested in this Aries Spears video to get an idea of what's possible.
posted by scose at 6:47 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Kool Keith has a few different personas including Dr Octagon that are fairly distinct from one another.
posted by jessamyn at 7:23 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Echoing Mos Def and Eminem.
posted by Nabubrush at 8:13 AM on June 15, 2012

Eminem also is a example of this in a horribly bad way, in that he has his classic style of rapping that he started off with, and then years in his career he adopted this stupid voice that many fans cannot stand. He did it originally in response to a battle with Benzino, and the irony of that (because really? Benzino vs Em?) is that so many of his songs since then have been garbage because of that stupid voice he used. Well that and he stopped using drugs.

I don't know how Ras Kass or Craig Mack would fit here.

Scarface has his speedier flow and his preacher flow.
KRS has his typical flow, and then he gets all rude boi with it.
Ice Cube's yelly angry flow is noticeably different (and I think worlds better) than his later years flow.

I'm not sure Ludacris formally fits into what you're describing but I think he has the most styles of almost anybody. Check the flow on Future Thugs, compared to Ridin Solo, compared to Oh, compared to He Man, compared to Child's Play. Then the slow flows on Coochie, Lovers and Friends and Ultimate Satisfaction. Differing rhyme patterns, emphasis, just finessing the flow over the track.

R.A. the Rugged man - Break the Walls Down vs his tongue numbing flow on Chains and Super. And on a sad note, D.O.C. pre and post accident (though I remember reading he had surgery in the last few years).
posted by cashman at 8:33 AM on June 15, 2012 [2 favorites]

Azealia Banks raps in at least two distinct styles (and sings as well) in 212 [NSFW, vulgarity]
posted by mountmccabe at 9:03 AM on June 15, 2012

Danny Brown. Start with his album The Hybrid. It's his Ph.D presentation and styles. The following album XXX (as in 30, Danny Browns age, not porno) is more consistant style wise but contains a stronger lyrical consistancy. The trilogy of Scrap or Die, Fields, and XXX that closes out the album is my favorite stretch of tracks from this year.

I'll 2nd the previous posters rec of Nicki Minaj. If you go the Nicki route I reccomend this sequencing of her newest album Romans Reloaded.

1. Roman Holiday
2. Roman in Moscow
3. Come on A Come
4. I Am Your Leader
5. Beez in the Trap
6. Stupid Hoe
7. HOV Lane
8. Pound The Alarm
9. Starships (DalePlay Rmx)
10. Va Va Voom
11. Roman Reloaded
12. Champion
13. Gun Shots
posted by TaconibsPHD at 11:36 AM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Black Thought from the Roots does this amazingly on "Boom!" from their album "The Tipping Point". The first verse is him, the second verse is him doing an impression of Big Daddy Kane, and the third verse is him doing an impression of Kool G Rap.

I believe the liner notes told a story like this: When played for Big Daddy Kane, Kane said "yo, I didn't know you got Kool G Rap to spit on this track" and when played for Kool G Rap, Kool G said "yo, I didn't know you got Big Daddy Kane to spit on this track".

They did a version of the song on the concert movie "Dave Chappelle's Block Party" with Kane and Kool G, each rapping their respective parts.

(Not that this is a particularly helpful answer to your question, but hey, now you have hip hop trivia you can use to impress your friends and family.)
posted by paulus andronicus at 1:02 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

Brother Ali, echoing Black Thought (I have to go find that Block Party clip) and Mos Def, Big Boi. Also, I would say Freddie Gibbs. Plenty more, these are just a few I hadn't seen mentioned.
posted by SpicyMustard at 6:08 PM on June 15, 2012

Slick Rick! How did I forget about Slick Rick?
posted by elsietheeel at 6:19 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

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