Flow and delivery are very important attributes for an MC to be great because anyone can rhyme, being able to write a strong verse is a skill but if you cannot deliver it you will not be a great MC but a great ghostwriter. I hate when the producer outshines the MC , when this happens it means the MC’s flow off, the MC does not know how to choose beats that compliment their sound, or they just are not good. Another attribute that is key for an MC to be great is versatility. MC’s should be able to rap about any topic, over any beat, and still be able to shine. Lyricism should be an obvious attribute needed for an MC to be great, MC’s must have substance. Topics like women, money, and drugs are commonplace in hip-hop but an MC’s entire album cannot be solely based on those topics. Wittiness is a very under-appreciated attribute that I believe every great MC must have because sometimes the straightforward approact of getting a point across can be bland, with metaphors and analogies the MC is able to be even more creative and clever.
A great MC should be able to take their style, their story, and their sound and the gain a big following just from being them. That is the greatest attribute an MC can have, just being themselves and not just be accepted but be praised. Let’s be honest you can’t be a great MC if you aren’t known. There are some real good underground MCs, in fact most of my favorite current MCs are underground, but there is a reason they are underground. In order to be great you have to be known but you can’t be great if you sell out to do so.
Kanye West came into the game in a pink polo while gangster-rap was at it’s peak yet he succeeded, took over the game, and changed it. Kanye is easily the best MC in the past decade and when he came in the game he was the odd man out, now the game is molded around him.