When it comes to sharing his thoughts about fellow emcees, Royce da 5'9" isn't one to hold his tongue. In the latest edition of All Def Digital's Fill In The Blank video series, the Detroit veteran was asked who he believes is the most underrated rapper.
Royce could have easily said "me," or he could have even doubled down on his claim that Big Sean is "pathetically underrated," but instead he listed The Roots frontman Black Thought and fellow Motown native Elzhi.
Those two guys are the most criminally underrated artists I've ever heard in my life. Why they're not huge is beyond me.
Being labeled as "underrated" could be viewed as either a compliment or a dig, depending on the subject and the labeler, but in this instance, it's clear Royce had nothing but the best intentions.
However, it's important to note that Royce believes both artists are underrated because they are "not huge." While it's true neither artist is a household name based solely on their music, not being super popular doesn't necessarily qualify an artist as underrated.
For instance, Black Thought, as an individual, isn't as well known as the group he's been a part of for the past 29 years or the nationally-televised late night show he appears on daily, but in hip-hop circles, you'd be hard pressed to find many rap fans who wouldn't consider him among the best emcees alive.
Ultimately, no matter where you fall on the supremely subjective "underrated" continuum, it's hard to disagree with Royce — Black Thought and Elzhi are two of the most talented, technically skilled, savvy emcees to ever bless a microphone and no matter how many people are familiar with their work, it will never be enough.
By DJ Z, who loves to argue with you on Twitter.