Melle Mel has been named the greatest hip-hop vocalist of all time in a list put together by another veteran rapper, Kool Mo Dee.
Eminem does not yet have "longevity", according to the list
Mel, who rapped on records by DJ Grandmaster Flash, beat artists such as Rakim, KRS-One and Big Daddy Kane.
Kool Mo Dee named himself as number five in the chart, listed in his new book and a BBC radio documentary.
Contemporary stars such as Eminem and 50 Cent fail to make the list because of their "lack of longevity".
The top 20 of MCs - the term comes from "microphone commander" and before that master of ceremonies - includes Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls and Jay-Z.
TOP FIVE MCs
1. Melle Mel
4. Big Daddy Kane
5. Kool Moe Dee
All of the top five emerged during the formative years of hip-hop in New York City during the late 1970s and early 1980s.
Izzy Fairbairn, who has made a show on the chart for 1Xtra, the BBC's black music radio station, said: "We go right up to date to the present time, and pick out certain criteria to look at what makes a great MC."
Dee cited Melle Mel as "the originator" who shifted the focus from the DJ to the MC.
"His rhyme style is still followed to this day, he was the first to use his own voice, rap in French, and paved the way for soloists and duos in hip-hop as opposed to groups," he said.
"Check the poetic value, lyrical mastery and vocal presence on tunes like The Message."
Dee said Rakim was "the inventor of flow" and the "MCs' MC", while KRS-One was chosen for his "delivery, flow, voice, cadence". Big Daddy Kane was "the best in the business at delivering the metaphor punchline".
And as for his verdict on himself? "One of the original kings- prototype for the intricate MC. Pioneered the fast style rap."
The 1Xtra documentary, There's A God On The Mic, aired on Wednesday, but hip-hop fans can vote for their own top five MCs on the station's website.