The Philosophy and Opinions of Bushido Garvey

The boom-bap analysis, reflection, and expression of an educator.

My Top 5 Emcees That Are From Where I’m From

Trying to name my top 5 emcees from Rochester, New York has been like an NBA fan trying to narrow down his or her ideal starting five. There are over 70 emcees that I can quickly name from here that are extremely talented. No matter what you choose, extremely talented people that you respect and admire won’t go into the five. I did my best though. These are my personal five for now (they are not in order, that was too hard):

Hassaan Mackey

              I grew up sneaking into the Bug Jar to listen to this man. His ability to freestyle isn’t human, and On The Fly album was a classic project that let me know amazing hip hop can be made here and that I can be a part of that. His story is quintessential Rochester, and it’s relayed through music in a way relatable beyond the 585.

Gary Lamar

              Gary Lamar is an emcee, drummer, producer, DJ, but the emceeing is what gets me the most. His approach to emceeing is one part traditional poetry, one part cryptic hip-hop, and one part folk lyricism. He’s mad non-chalant with it on top of that. As a rhymer in a similar vein, I recognize his sharpness on the mic.

Coach P

             Coach is street consciousness. His voice is distinct, his concepts and lyricism are creative, complex, and still accessible. Pre-Volt is probably my favorite project of his. Western New York State is starting to be recognized for a distinct hip-hop sound, and I’d argue Coach P aka Build Parsells is one of the forerunners of that sound.

Moses Rockwell

              I’ve always had a heart for hip-hop lyricism that was abstract and true to the spitter. Moses Rockwell manages to make being a nerdy awkward introvert seem like one of the toughest and most thorough things you can be. My favorite project of his is Mack Rocks (Hassan Mackey on production). Extremely comical, honest, and lyrically dense to the point of envy (confessions), this dude is serious about his craft.

38 Spesh

              For some reason I feel like people would be surprised with this emcee being in my top five because “we’re in different lanes,” but that don’t stop me from valuing the road as a whole. 38 tells the story of a Rochester hustler clearly in a style that’s very distinct. Being from the Rochester streets as an emcee post-Y2K, it was easy to sound like D-Block and Dipset copies, but 38 always stood out. Rochester is New York, but it’s NOT the boroughs. That’s clear in .38’s references, lyrical style, and most importantly his drawl. Son of G. Rap is a hard project.

Honorable Mentions

Rahsaan P, Azariah, Skribe, Mars McGowan, Todd Bangz, OoWop, Crotona P, KZA K’Lee, Volatile, Blast Blicka, Rablo, Mooney, E Moore, ID, Eto, Chi the Realist, PA Knit, MF Skum

And too…many…others to be named.

Peace and Progress!


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bushidogarvey • April 16, 2019


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