Vakils Top 5 Artists

Like many of his favorite artists, Vakill doesn’t rush out material. The Chicago rapper hasn’t put out an album since 2006’s “Worst Fears Confirmed,” but that’s more of a nod to the old school way of doing things than Vakill’s lack of things to say. He’d rather just come out when the time is right.

The five-year layoff has, if anything, made Vakill more potent, as evidenced throughout “Armor Of God,” Vakill’s new album. The rock-solid collection features guest appearances from Crooked I, Rhymefest and Juice, as well as top-tier production from Panik, Jake One and others. The thematically sharp “The Apology” and “A Lynched Legacy” are among his best cuts to date. There’s also his signature confrontational, braggadocio rap, as on the wicked “Mean Mug Muzik.”

As he prepares for the June 14 release of his new album, “Armor Of God,” Vakill sat down with us to detail his Top 5 Artists With The Most Mystique, something he knows plenty about.

5. Eminem

“Em takes hiatuses. This is the first time we’ve seen him give back to back albums in a long time, considering what he’s been through with the drugs. The game is all brain power, so for somebody to go through losing their best friend -- because Proof is the reason the dude’s even here. Let’s be real. Without Proof, ain’t no Em. Proof approved of him, pushed him, co-signed him."

"When people like Proof approved him, we were like, ‘Cool. We’re riding.’ For him to go through that, the whole drug shit, the baby momma shit and to come back and still be as sharp as he is, that speaks volumes, man. That means he deserves to be where he’s at. His spot isn’t going anywhere. It’s still there. No matter how many albums Jay-Z or whoever puts out, Em is still there. None of his fans left. When he came back, they came back.”

4. Maxwell

“This dude came back like he never left. You know how long he’d been gone? He was gone like eight, nine years. To come back and do what he did, man. Your catalog holds weight. If your catalog holds weight, you’re going to hold weight. So, whenever you come back, the game’s going to be there for you."

"That’s mystique, man. ‘I wonder what he sounds like now?’ He’s the same old dude, still killing it. Panties are still getting wet. He’s the same dude. It can be done. You don’t have to be a blog hog, which is what I like to call them. ‘Man, it’s been two weeks and I ain’t put out shit. Damn. Give me a camcorder. Camcord me doing a freestyle.’ I understand marketing and promotion, but the product speaks for itself. You’ve got the Internet now. You don’t have to do all that.”

3. LL Cool J

“Before he started rushing out albums, when he took his time and was actually creating space between his albums was when he was at his strongest. He didn’t start regressing until he started rushing shit out. It was like, ‘Damn, he’s got another one. Damn, he’s got another one.’ Before that, he was taking like two-to-three year hiatuses between albums."

"When “Walking With A Panther” came out, he had a 1-900 number for you to call and listen to 30 seconds of the album. Do you know how many dudes were getting their ass kicked by their moms when they saw that phone bill? That shit was like $2, $3 to hear like two bars of “Nitro” and then it would hang up. After “I’m Bad,” we were hooked. We were like, ‘What is he going to do next?’”

2. Rakim

“Ra takes nasty hiatuses. People have to understand, “The 18th Letter” dropped in, what, 1997? Before that, the last joint was in 1992, “Don’t Sweat The Technique.” That’s a huge leap, a huge gap to come back from. And a lot of people don’t know, “The 18th Letter” almost went platinum."

"To see a dude do that, to have been gone so long, is crazy. That’s mystique, man. He touched you that much that you waited around and said, ‘I can’t wait to see what this brother does next.’ He had that. He’s still got it. Let him announce, ‘I’m finna drop’ and it could be the most garbage shit ever, but I bet they wait around for it because he’s Ra.”

1. Dr. Dre

“People ask, ‘How is Dr. Dre still relevant after all this time?’ It’s the mystique. Mystique, it carries the listener. You already know he’s a talented brother, that he’s got good ears. His winning percentage is pretty damn good, so you’re hanging on to whatever the next thing is that he touches. Dre don’t make a move until he gets that itch. He knows, ‘OK. It’s time,’ whether its “Detox,” an Em album or whoever."

"He’s good at seasons, at picking seasons to put shit out. Only so many dudes can do that and once he picks that season, that’s his season because he’s going to put out some shit that ain’t nobody else doing. He’s going to put it out and shift shit. Shit shifts when he puts it out, whether it’s production, the way the album is packaged, the way it’s presented, the way videos are shot. If he’s not Number 1, I don’t know who is.”

For more from Soren Baker follow him on Twitter: @SorenBaker

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