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Following some underground work and cameo appearances, most notably on Wyclef Jean's "Gone Till November" remix in 1997, hardcore rapper Canibus feuded famously with LL Cool J. The resulting exchanges -- Canibus' "Second Round K.O." and LL's "The Ripper Strikes Back," both spirited battle tracks -- garnered significant attention. Expectations were therefore high when Canibus unleashed his Wyclef-produced debut full-length, Can-I-Bus (1998), shortly afterward on Universal. Most critics panned the album, but it sold over 500,000 copies in the United States alone, earning it gold status. The MC returned two years later with his follow-up for Universal, but it did not fare as well, and Canibus soon found himself without a major-label deal. Through the early 2010s, he retained a cultish following and continued to release albums independently of the majors, occasionally firing off more of the battle raps for which he is most known.

Born Germaine Williams in 1974 in Jamaica, Canibus moved to the United States with his mother at a young age. Because his mother's career required constant relocation, the family moved frequently and the soon-to-be rapper found solace within himself. His rhetorical abilities blossomed later, once hip-hop became the guiding force in his life. He began rhyming and in the mid-'90s joined a group called T.H.E.M. (The Heralds of Extreme Metaphors), which also consisted of his partner Webb. Following a fallout with his Webb, Canibus pursued a solo career and began infiltrating the mixtape circuit. By 1997, he had approached the brink of the major-label rap game, guesting regularly on high-profile releases: he contributed to "Uni-4-orm," an inclusion on the Rhyme & Reason soundtrack also featuring Heltah Skeltah and Ras Kass; "Love, Peace & Nappiness," an inclusion on the Lost Boyz's Love, Peace & Nappiness also featuring Redman and A+; "Making a Name for Ourselves," an inclusion on Common's One Day It'll All Make Sense; the non-album remix of Wyclef Jean's "Gone Till November," and most famously, "4, 3, 2, 1," an inclusion on LL Cool J's Phenomenon also featuring Redman, DMX, and Method Man.

Of the several guest appearances, "4, 3, 2, 1" certainly meant the most, as it brought together many of New York's preeminent hardcore rappers and thus ushered Canibus into that same elite class. At the same time, however, Canibus lashed out shortly afterward with the Mike Tyson-featuring "Second Round K.O.," where he rhymed, "So I'ma let the world know the truth, you don't want me to shine/You studied my rhyme, then you laid your vocals after mine." In fact, the entirety of the song directed barbed rhymes at LL: "You walk around showin' off your body cause it sells/Plus to avoid the fact that you ain't got skills/Mad at me 'cause I kick that sh*t real n**gaz feel/While 99 percent of your fans wear high heels," and so on. Shortly thereafter, LL sought his revenge, releasing "The Ripper Strikes Back" on the Survival of the Illest soundtrack (1998) and thus channeling even more attention toward Canibus. From the track's chorus to practically every line of the verses, LL unleashed a fury of insults and threats. The media elevated the battle to grand heights, as even MTV gave the story headlines. In the aftermath of 2Pac's and Biggie's deaths, such confrontations fascinated the rap community, and Canibus certainly capitalized on his newfound publicity.

As for his debut full-length, Can-I-Bus (1998), though, the response was mixed. Critics expressed little support, while it sold over half a million copies. Negative reviews targeted Canibus' delivery (more than his lyrics or themes), as well as Wyclef's productions. The momentum that "Second Round K.O." had generated simmered almost immediately, and it didn't help that LL's "Ripper Strikes Back" found substantial acceptance at the time as well. In the two years following the release of Can-I-Bus, the rapper maintained a low profile, much in contrast to the regular guest appearances he had made leading up to his debut. As a result, when he finally did return with his follow-up album, 2000 B.C. (2000), he did not have the same level of mainstream clout, and the album was not promoted heavily; Canibus subsequently returned to the underground after parting ways with Universal. He continued to record albums and release them on the independent circuit. These discs included 2002's Mic Club (the first release on his own Mic Club Music label), 2003's Rip the Jacker, and 2005's Mind Control. During this period, Canibus also served in the U.S. Army. He was just as productive following his discharge; he released several additional sets through the following years. On 2010's Melatonin Magik, his confrontational nature led to swipes at D12 and Eminem, but he was no lone wolf. The 2011 releases Lyrical Warfare and Rip the Jacker II: Infinity saw him working beside the likes of Killah Priest, Ras Kass, and Royce da 5'9". ~ Jason Birchmeier, Rovi
full bio

Selected Discography


Are you guys serious best ever? The ill est? He's was dope, but the fact Uncle L murdered him , I can't say he's the best hell naw!
bigkevigarci a
Diz killed bis. Check it out on YouTube. Dizaster vs Canibus
Was he beefing it with Eminem by this time?
My nikka raw business
i gotta look up s**t he says in a dictionary or thesaurus .....he is ahead of the game and the best of all time.....gen i u s man ......genius
Lyrical demon
Amazing. That's it.
Canibus is the illest ever. If you don't like him, then you don't appreciate real hip hop, period. "9 outta 10 n**gas is frauds/ you know who you /are always talking bout your b**ches and cars/ your jewelry and your girls/ you motherf**ker s really get on my nerves/ I'm beyond yall on some futuristic cyborg s**t." Real spit from a real emcee
Wow... Canibus was way ahead of his time, He's amazing period.
Somebody better know that this n**ga is dumb nice
the realest rappers are under similar artists...
Can't wait til Lyrical Law starts getting added on here.
canibus is living proof that the game is changing for the worse. its all image now. and the real raw lyricists like nas, canibus, immortal technique, etc refuse to conform to this bullshit a** game, they stay real even though they know they wont get what they deserve, and i respect that with a passion, stay real RIP.
Greatest of all Time
Check out my new track wit Bis @ v e g a x t e r r o r !
this bio covers like 3 years of his career, and ignores his real peak and artistic accomplishme n t s in the last 7 years.
After reading Pandoras Bio of Canibus, I recall a line he spit, "If they say I'm the best after I've died / dont be surprised." Simple as that...
Pure genius. Bis is to hip hop as Albert Einstein was to science, greatest to ever represent the craft...
Way ahead of his time. Smartest MC ever! Not even close!
dude is ill nuff said
Even my hip hop head friends who don't like Canibus have to admit that Rip the Jacker is a great album. Probably because Canibus was out of the country and DJ Stoupe (Jedi Mind Tricks) did the whole thing on his own. Canibus is an ill lyricist but he has poor choice in art direction, etc. Kind of like the Mike(Mic) Tyson of rap - incredibly gifted and brutal, but been screwed (and let himself be screwed) by the industry.
All I know, is that I could put together a 60 minute, mix tape of Canibus, illest, that would go toe toe with any other emcee's illest and most of the time, embarrass that emcee. I just wish Bis, Chino XL, and Rass Kass , would unite and shut down the industry.
i personally agree with melo when he says those things about canibus not getting his proper of the illest spitters in the game...recog n i z e .
He dont get the respect for his work like he should
Poet laureate is some of the illest stuff written in my opinion. Man I can't believe people sometimes with their criticisms. "too lyrical" and stuff like that. The beginning of hiphop was just lyrics and people in a circle man. article must be outdated not including rip the jacker.
ahead of his time. the poet laureate is the still the sickest out there...i hear people criticize cuz they say he rhymes too much and needs better hooks...F*@# em if they can't LISTEN to what is being said.
Too talented for his own good...
Not to mention that Canibus' last album, which isn't even mentioned here, sold at least 60,000 hardcopies (according to wikipedia) which is considerably more than a lot of underground cats you listen to. It is also more than his past two albums sold, which means he's getting more popular again.

Also he's got an album dropping with Keith Murray and Pete Rock called the Undergods, which is pretty high-profile for a 'nobody'.
I agree, the review/artic l e here is overly negative. Mic Club and especially Rip the Jacker are well-regarde d by critics and I think many people in the underground scene consider Rip the Jacker to be his high-point as an artist.
dude was sick but he didn't follow through.he had some of the illest freestyles especially some old clue tape sh@#.i think it was the cluemanatti from 97 that he ripped the most
sharleen3360 7
Illest MC EVER!!
Jason Birchmeier provides a review which is arguably too negative. 2000 BC and Rip the Jacker were at least critically acclaimed. The basis for Jason's review cannot be record sales as Canibus's first two albums went gold - better than Redman or Common. Mind Control, Hip Hop for Sale, and C True Stories are weak albums, yet the numerous freestyles on Tony Touch, the Wake Up Show, Hot 97 and others certainly impress and help Canibus remain a relevant lyricist despite his commercial shortcomings .
"Mr canibus is definitly the most rawest mc to ever clutch a mic, talk about qaulity of a verse? Nobody body puts more thought into a verse, the mans a lyrical savant his style is unique... i mean nobody can copy that style. Last but not least the mans a beast on the freestyle tip, you dont wanna mess with can-i-bus you'd probley rather hop in front of a bus or somethin
Em better than bis? lies. As far as them making a track together... it is more than highly unlikely, they had beef. Who knows though? They need to get more of his work up here, they don't even have For Whom the Beat Tolls.
The illest MC...would love to hear him and Eminem make a track together.
Canibus is nice..unfort u n a t e l y he didn't really go too far, but I would love to see a battle between him an Eminem..I bet anything Em can still tear him down
ugggggggghhh h h h h h Get Retarded is the slap-da-dap! ! ! !
definitely one of my favorite artists but I think he didn't go as big as he should've because he is too hardcore. It's ironic.
yo canibus is one of the 5 best emcees of alltime and anybody that dont see that must have an I.Q. of 90 or below
My lyrical idol is Can-I-Bus!!! ! The most graphic, intellectual , potent lyrics ever spit from an emcee's mouth has come from him!!! The black man is nice for infinity!!!!
"My raw metaphors will keep you high for months, fly around the world twice without refueling once. . ." Canibus has lyrics that are out of this world. There's not many that can even come close to his level as far as lyrics go.
lyrical demon...he has a vocabulary that puts most rappers to shame
Top 5 lyricist point blank no question son. He way ahead of his time. The general public not smart enough or have a big enough mental attention span to undestand what he talkin about.
LL has more swagger, style and versatility, that's why he's still making millions, getting p**sy and still accepted in the major hip hop community... C a n i b u s is just an underground rapper with nothing more to offer than possibly the most mindblowing lyrics of all time.But unfortunatel y that's not everything in hip hop, and someone with nothing else to offer than that, who is not willing to switch his style up even a bit .. might as well be a ghostwriter.
"i SPEAK IN FREQUENCIES DOGGZ ILL HAVE TROUBLE HEARIN...cAN I B U S IZ THA LYRICO VERSION OF GERMAN ENGINEERIN!! ! " . . . . . C a n - i is my dogg.....he has tha "IT" factor and all are scared of em like e y fear his power so he cant be tha king!....
One of the illist MCs ever. If you don't agree, your just plain wrong. If you make a mix tape of his best versus, it would kill any other Mc's best versus mix tape. " Rip the Jacker" with Jedi Mind Tricks, doing the beats, it's insane, must have.
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