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From Rakim to Tupac, Meet the Mt. Rushmore of RapPosted by Nathan S. on 02/15/10 | Filed under Top Stories, Features
One quick note before we get started. it's a fine line, and there's obviously a lot of overlap, but Mr. Rushmore does not connote the "best" presidents/rappers, it instead is meant to honor the "most important," the men who provided the blueprint for the current game. And no, that wasn't a subtle Jay-Z reference.
Ok, so I know Flash isn't technically a rapper, but George Washington wasn't technically a president, not in the way we think of the presidency now. Instead it was Washington's job to serve as a figurehead, as a uniter who could bring people together and help establish the foundation for our then infant democracy; kind of like the way Flash brought together the Furious Five and set the blueprint for modern rap with "The Message". Plus I hear Flash wears wooden dentures, so, you know, they're practically twins.
Let's see. Our most scholarly president, the man spoke eight languages, Jefferson was also such a dope writer, so ill with the pen, that he got picked to write the Constitution, a document whose language all other laws would come to be measured by. There can really only be one choice here, Rakim. One of the most fiercely intelligent emcees in hip-hop history, Rakim essentially invented the idea of a lyrical rapper. I'm pretty sure Rakim wouldn't be pleased about being compared to a man who owned a plantation and slaves, but other that that, you've got to admit, it's a great call.
Roosevelt was a brash, loud and often violent president who almost single-handeldy started the Spanish-American War, then personally fought in it, was shot several times and survived and was known to be a man who wasn't afraid to indulge his appetites, be it food, women or smoke. Sound like anyone you know? Rossevelt never displayed the same poetic side as Pac, but the two men have far, far more in common than first meets the eye.
Ok, I'll admit this is the hardest comparison, but stick with me. First, I shouldn't have to explain the obvious assassination connection. Second, both men served during a civil war (Lincoln literally, Biggie during the more metaphorical but tragically violent east coast vs. west coast rap "war). Third, both men were incredible orators whose flows went down as some of history's best: "Four score and seven years ago...it was all a dream." Fourth, both men came from poor and humble roots but rose the top of their respective fields. Fifth...I think that's actually everything, but you have to give it up, that's a pretty damn good comparison.
Appendix: They're reportedly beginning to consider adding additional presidential faces to Mt. Rushmore's famous facade, so here's a few more options for both the real Mr. Rushmore and it's rap twin: F.D.R./Jay-Z (steady, dependable leaders who could always be counted on), Obama/Lil Wayne (we've never seen anything like them, but they're ultimately still unproven), and, of course, William Howard Taft/Mase, because they were both terrible at their jobs. Ok, maybe not that last one.