i liked early stuff like young mc, dj jazzy jeff and the fresh prince, salt n peppa. Of course i am aware rap as a genre began in the mid to late 70's, and i am a fan of some of that stuff too like grandmaster flash, fab 5 freddy, curtis blow, etc.
i got into NWA when i as in midle school which was not great for my self esteem. i had a reputation as the school slut, and NWA dictated what being a slut was all about, and i believed it.
they helped pave the way for ice cube, dr. dre' and easy e's solo stuff as well as people like ice t, tupac, biggy, and the whole east vs west thing. I was not into any of that. It was too fast, unfamiliar, degrating and violent, not to mention that i'm talking about mid-90's rap right now, and those were the grunge years. i was much more into alice in chains, pearl jam, nirvana, stone temple pilots, smashing pumpkins, tool, nine inch nails, violent femmes, dinosoar jr, etc...
During these years there was some rap released that was actually kind of grunge-rap like beastie boys - ill comunication and check your head, cypress hill, everlast...
and i also really liked arrested developement who were neither grunge rap nor gangsta, their messege was of peace.
also in the 90's, there were of course great bands like rage against the machine, red hot chilli peppers and faith no more, who mixed rap with hard rock, and did it well. Then in the late 90's we were bombarded by those annoying rap-rock groups like limp bizkit, linkin park and kid rock. All that shit was huge and i wasnt into that.
In the late 90's early 2000's i listened to grunge, alternative, and a lot of folk music like ani difranco, ellis paul, erin mckeown, tracy chapman and melissa ferrick amoung others. i've also been a classic rock fan since i was 12... like pink floyd, the doors, jimi hendrix, moody blues, neil young...all that good stuff.
In about 2002 i think it was, i heard an Outkast song on alternative rock radio. I bought their CD that day and one thing led to another and i fell in love with hip hop. First Outkast, then Dead Prez, Eminem (who i hated at first), Tupac (who i used to think was all gangsta and hate filled but have since learned he was brilliant and not the man the media made him out to be)
Then through a podcast i found Pigeon John, Blackalicious, Common, Jedi Mind Tricks, Gym Class Heroes, stuff like that.
I was in Newbury Comics a few years ago when i stumbled on a compilation of Boston hip hop, and fell in love with the Perceptionists, Breeze Evahflowin', Kreators, Mr Lif, Akrobatik, Chan, Edan, Skitzofreniks, etc. I've read books on hip hop, studied the lyrics, compared some of the best rap albums to some of the best rock albums. (for instance, Eminem's "The Eminem Show" is, if you really pay attention, almost the same story Pink Floyd tells with their album "The Wall")
i'm in love with hip hop.
However, even though i'll occaisionally listen to it, i'm less into Jay-Z, 50 Cent, Ludacris, TI, etc. They can definately all be good, but i'm not into the mainstream gangsta rap right now. i still love NWA though, even if they did make me think i was just an orafice.
As for queer hop/ gay hip hop, i love Katastrophe. He is an ftm rapper and i saw him once live. He's really neat and there are not a lot of transgender rappers out there. I like Bitch and Animal about half the time, Goddess and She are kay... Q-Boy, Jen-Ro and Deep Dickcollective are the my other favorites in that genre.
British rap like The Streets, Life, Dizzy Rascal and Lady Sovereign have helped me open my eyes to hip hop projects all over the world. Korea has a pretty good hip hop scene actually. They have some amazing beatboxers and b-boys. I've heard a few Australian and Canadian rappers who are great as well.
there are many other rappes i like that i didn't mention, but thats basically the story of how i grew to love rap. I'm a music feind and right now hip hop is my drug of choice.
As Kanye West said:
"Sometimes I feel the music is the only medicine
So we cook it, cut it, measure it, bag it,sell it
the fiends cop it
nowadays they cant tell if that's that good shit
we ain't sure man
put the CD on your toungue yeah, thats pure man."
Who are your favorite rappers if you like rap?