Legions of folks claim inside information when it comes to my taste in hip-hop. Numerous writers even venerable Houston Press scribe John Nova Lomax have proclaimed hometown hero Devin the Dude "your favorite rapper's favorite rapper."
Los Angeles emcee Murs sells T-shirts and bumper stickers boasting that "Murs Is Better Than Your Favorite Rapper," while Ludacris claims that my favorite rapper "went to Ludacris's training camp." The MySpace page for Harlem rapper Sadat X imagines that he "sits atop the lists of your favorite rappers [sic] favorite rapper."
As if this phrase wasn't overused enough, The Onion's A.V. Club wrote that Lil' Kim might very well be my "favorite drag queen's favorite rapper." There's even a 17-year-old artist from Hawaii who calls himself Your Girlfriend's Favorite Rapper!
Ludacris and Lil' Kim
I call bullshit. First of all, how do these people know who my favorite rapper is? I've never even met them, and it's not like I have a T-shirt or even a blog that spells this all out. Then again, I list preferred artists on my MySpace page, so perhaps they've done their homework. But even if that were the case, how does The Onion know that I'm into drag queens?
Further, calling yourself better than my favorite rapper seems like a pretty weak boast. In the old days, emcees hedged less and simply proclaimed themselves number one. If today's rappers are so hot, why not just, "Murs Is Unequivocally the Best"? or "Sadat X sits, alone, at the top of a list compiled by all of humanity, as the greatest rapping professional ever to exist"?
I have been wrong before, however, so I decided to put these claims to the test. As a former mathlete (Murray Jr. High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota, stand up!), I first attempted to determine if all this favoritism was even logically possible. Perhaps my favorite rapper picks Devin the Dude as his number one when he's talking to people, but when compiling lists puts Sadat X ahead of him. But if my favorite rapper went to Ludacris's training camp, and Murs is better than him, does that mean Murs went to the same camp more times?
Maybe, I concluded, out-of-date information about my preferences was leaked. I can't blame people for thinking Chicago emo rapper Serengeti is my favorite, even though I've largely forsaken him since I fell off the treadmill while listening to one of his songs last month. "Well, I guess everyone's favorite, MF Doom," Serengeti said when I asked him who his fave was, also mentioning Breezly Bruin and Hi-Fidel. (He made absolutely no mention of having been bested by Murs in a rap-off.)
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More recently, I've been into Brooklyn emcee Louis Logic, so I asked him the same question. He agreed that the phrase was overused, akin to clichés like "hits hard like Mike Tyson," and "played like Nintendo." When pressed, he cited Brother Ali and Tonedeff as inspirational, but concluded, "I don't think I have a favorite rapper."
Ah-ha! At this point I was ready to pronounce victory over illogicality in rap music (who would have thought?) when another possibility occurred to me. Perhaps Louis Logic isn't my favorite at all. Unusually heavy doses of psychoanalysis have recently been trying to convince me that I, myself, am my favorite emcee. It's true I actually rap. You can hear it at www.myspace.com/mc401k.
In that case, Murs's claim would make a lot of sense because, yes, my skills are indeed very weak. I never went to Ludacris's training camp, although if someone tells me where it's held and when to sign up, I will certainly be first in line.
And, for the record, I tried contacting my favorite drag queen to ask who her favorite rapper was, but she didn't get back to me by press time. If you must know, she is a Tupperware saleslady named Dixie Longate, and if you don't get the joke, just try saying her name three times slowly.