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From Jay Z to Biggie Smalls: Drake names the five greatest rappers of all time

“Everybody has an addiction, mine happens to be success.” – Drake

While the above quote verges on the line somewhere between narcissistic and egomaniac, when it comes to Canadian rapper Drake, it’s hard to argue with. With over 170 million records sold to date, Drake is one of the best selling artists of all time, solidifying a dominance that coincided with the online streaming age of the music industry.

Drake, widely credited as being a pioneering figure in the popularisation of the Toronto sound, has established himself as one of the prominent and influential rappers of his class. With chart records that go toe to toe with The Beatles for total dominance, Drake ushered in a new dawn of music consumption, doing so while riding the wave a genre that was bursting at the seams.

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While the rapper pushed his own sound to the top of the pile, that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t, like countless other hip-hop heads, mulled over the greatest rappers that have come before him. While many of his selections are pretty standard, there’s one which has piqued our interest.

“Perfection to me is, I walk away from a situation and say, ‘I did everything I could do right there. There was nothing more that I could do’,” Drake once said in a quote that typifies his approach to making music. “I was a hundred per cent, like the meter was at the top. There was nothing else I could have done. You know? Like, I worked as hard as I possibly could have. That’s perfection,” he added.

In regards to perfection, there are five rappers that Drake believes are as close to that label as possible. As part of an Instagram comment, Drake selected Jay Z, Biggie, Lil Wayne, Andre 3000 and a little known Toronto rapper Young Tony, AKA OVO Hush. While Young Tony may seem like an unusual name among some of the game’s greats, Drake has been a long time admirer of the rapper and has been tweeting about him since 2010. Hush has been working with Drake for a long time, credited as a writer on songs from his albums Take Care and Nothing Was The Same. It’s clear that he rates him very highly indeed.

That is largely because of the company he is in. Drake has picked some legends of the game, while Biggie is no shock on anyone’s top five list and Hova is always likely to be near the peak of the rap scene he also found room for Andre 3000 and Young Money man Lil Wayne. Drake’s affection for Weezy knows no bounds, in fact, on Father’s Day, he commented on the mogul’s post: “You are my brother but you raised me so Happy Father’s Day I love u g forever.”

There is one common factor in the list that can be easily seen in Drake’s own style: swagger. Style seems to be the over-arching influence of all of his selections. Biggie’s flow and structure has always been dripping with elegance, Jay’s swag is what defines the word, Lil Wayne’s sliding, glittering grit is what turned him into a megastar and Andre 3000 is the most stylish man in music.

If, for some reason, you’ve never managed to catch the searing rhymes and thumping grooves of the aforementioned legends of the game then we’ve got you covered. Below find an introductory playlist to Drake’s favourite rappers.

Drake’s five favourite rappers:

  • The Notorious B.I.G.
  • Jay Z
  • Lil Wayne
  • Young Tony
  • André 3000