Fat Joe Asks Why Big L Was Excluded From Top 50 GOAT Rappers List

"I know they could rap, I know they could spit," Joe said of some of Billboard & Vibe's choices. "But some of these guys on here don't got no hits!"

BYErika Marie
The Apollo Presents In Conversation: Fat Joe

As several rappers dismiss Billboard and Vibe's recent list, Fat Joe continues to comment on the choices. The two outlets partnered together to reveal their picks for the Top 50 Greatest Rappers of All Time. Every artist deserved recognition and made an unforgettable mark in the genre. However, not everyone was happy with where some rappers were placed, and Fat Joe questioned why Big L was excluded.

"Yeah, no Big L. I mean, if you're gonna like—because some of these guys on here ain't got no hits," said Joe. "I know they could rap, I know they could spit. But some of these guys on here don't got no hits!" The Bronx hitmaker seemed confused about how the list was put together.

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“So, how do you judge who’s on the Top 50 rappers? Because there’s some guys here that never had a hit. And so, what are we basing it on? Lyrics? So, why isn’t Big L on there? This is the problem when you try to make this list. The only point I’m trying to make to you is this is not law.”

New York icon Big L tragically passed away after being killed in 1999. He was reportedly shot nine times during a drive-by shooting that still is unsolved. The industry fondly remembers him, and what he could have accomplished in the industry is often debated among hitmakers. Many rappers list Big L in their top lists, so it is no surprise that Fat Joe questions Billboard and Vibe.

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However, elsewhere, Joe agreed that the outlets were correct in giving the No. 1 position to Jay-Z. Hov's name is often included in these conversations, and Joe shared why the Roc Nation mogul earned his placement. “Historically, there were certain rappers that were the gods at the time. Who had flows like nobody else. But when they got older in age, it almost sounded” outdated, said Joe. “It don’t sound current with 2023. Jay-Z just dropped ‘God Did’ where he spit for eight minute straight! And not ’cause he’s the richest. It’s just, I agree with it.”

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About The Author
Erika Marie is a seasoned journalist, editor, and ghostwriter who works predominantly in the fields of music, spirituality, mental health advocacy, and social activism. The Los Angeles editor, storyteller, and activist has been involved in the behind-the-scenes workings of the entertainment industry for nearly two decades. E.M. attempts to write stories that are compelling while remaining informative and respectful. She's an advocate of lyrical witticism & the power of the pen. Favorites: Motown, New Jack Swing, '90s R&B, Hip Hop, Indie Rock, & Punk; Funk, Soul, Harlem Renaissance Jazz greats, and artists who innovate, not simply replicate.