Hmm, interesting counterexample to my assertion from the last entry that hip-hop lyrics are paramount in importance for me: Outkast. I don’t place much stock in their lyrics, but I love the music as a whole. Probably because it’s so energetic and, to risk misusing (or inventing) a term, maximalistic.
Eh, and another one is Anti-Pop Consortium, maybe. Although I really dig the flow of the rapping, which is generally absolutely amazing in its speed and cadence, the words themselves are too damn stream-of-consciousness to mean anything to me. So maybe that assertion just bullshit, and lyrics don’t necessarily take primacy for me even in hip-hop.
I might replace it with a somewhat modified contention that in hip-hop, vocals (not necessarily lyrics) are far more important than in most other genres. But that just seems like a truism. Rapping, after all, could be considered in its most basic form spoken word poetry. So obviously the voice is the key element.