TAKE A QUICK LOOK AT THE CURRENT STANDINGS
IT'S GETTIN' INTENSE, WILL YOUR FAVORITE ARTIST MOVE ON TO THE NEXT ROUND?
The Niftian: Damn...now it gets difficult.I'm a huge fan of T.I.'s work and he has really worked on his range of topics throughout the years. On top of that, his subject matter doesn't come off as forced. He can easily switch from the Trapstar to the introspective parent/downfallen soldier within the course of one song on an album. He's also a beast with his flow. His confidence is unrivaled and rightfully so. People who didn't know about him were wondering who that skinny yellow dude on Bone Crusher's "Never Scared" was but he has trapped his way into hip hop's elite. Despite the legal issues, he manages to stay relevant in the culture and also manages to bring out bangers. A lot of other artists falter when their attention is taken off of hip-hop and placed elsewhere. Andre 3000 is the epitome of an eclectic artist. His wordplay is sincere and dominant without coming off as preachy. His sense of humor tricks you; you didn't even know you were learning something. He manages to stay relevant, also, even though he hasn't released a solo project in ages. However, let someone say that 3 Stacks is on a song or on a remix and people are rushing to peep it, and understandably so: the man is a myrical genius. Unfortunately, however, I have a huge problem with his lack of solo substance. Yes, he can thrive without Outkast (probably unlike Black Thought with The Roots) but what is he really doing? Teasing us, that's what, and teasing doesn't get you wins in this arena. Also, as much of a lyrical giant that he is, I see Tip *narrowly* edging him out in a battle, with T.I. taking it to game seven. Andre 3000 is that good, but I think T.I. wins in the war of albums (sales of and number of), and the cypher. Plus, I couldn't really get down with "She Lives In My Lap." The song, not the video. EDGE: T.I.
Irish Ninja: T.I. vs Andre 3000 - One of thet. best out of trap against one of the best in rap; that's how I see this match up. T.I. definitely has mic skills and has elevated his wordplay during his career, but Andre was already on another level and just stepped it up from there. I see T.I. starting hard out the gate but getting stuck in his trap mentality, where Andre has shown and continues to show (rarely these days) that he can pull from a range of metaphors and scenarios outside the trap. And did I mention the brother can flow? 3 Stacks for the win.
stayfly: stacks all day. t.i. has had more (solo) commercial and even underground success. but if we take into account the outkast days..no contest. CLASSIC albums for days. and while his "solo" joint was a bit out of the norm..his singles and features are always fire. it gets to the question of why have 3000 on your track..he will body bag all verses on the track. STACKS.
TwonJonson: First off, Niftian, "She Lives In My Lap" is a CLASSIC. But man this is the worst. T.I. is one of the best artists from the south. Stacks is one of the best artists of ALL TIME. One argument that could bemade is that TIP's success was purely solo while the majority of Andre 3000's succes was mostly with Big Boi. But one thing people don't know is, 3000 wrote most of Big Boi's raps during most of Outkast's reign. And let's be real, Andre's writing is second to none in nearly any generation and he's only gotten better over the past 8 or so years we have been without an Outkast project. ICE COLD!!!!!!!!!!!!
Ra'z Al Ghoul: T.I./Andre 3000- I thought I was going to be deadlocked in my answer but it turns out I was swayed before it even started. 3 stacks is one of the most amazing artists ever to me. For the fact that he doesn't have to drop a solo project but if he is featured on a track the entire culture will go crazy. For instance Jeezy's "I Do" went through the roof because of his name and not to mention the actual verse he laid on there. However, his absence and lack of projects hinders him in this battle. T.I. has "trapped his way to the top like" Dart said, but he also can hang with the best of them like he did on "Swagger Like Us." Not many people expected Tip to stay on par and go blow for blow with three of the best (at that time). T.I. is the underdog in this round but I'm calling an upset.
Winner: Andre 3000
The Niftian: Bun B vs Scarface is equally difficult because I see them both as kindred artists: OGs in the game who spit knowledge but can get brolic with the best of them. There are no niceties spared and they both with bust you upside the head, either with a life lesson or with a brick. Not to mention that they both have amazing skill, something which has translated to long lasting life in the game of hip-hop. But, I see Bun B as more of a lyrical monster, edging Face Mob out ever so slightly. Add that to the fact that Bun B's career has flourished in the wake of Pimp C's death and I see the Trill OG as the winner. EDGE: Bun B
Irish Ninja: Bun-B vs. Scarface AKA The Battle of 2 Old Texas Boys - These two are pretty evenly matched. Scarface has dropped more solo joints but Bun is still going at it. Scarface definitely has more memorable tracks, but you already know that's just a stat for me. I think it comes down to style and delivery with these two. Bun's style and delivery is definitely his signature and I think that would make his flows more memorable in battle. Bun B moves on to the next round.
stayfly: this one is tougher. the ugk era gave us one of the strongest rap groups out the south. but face is face. while he hasnt been as relevant or visible as of late..i gota give it to him outta respect. even though he is dormant..i have no doubt that he can still go toe to toe with the best of em. FACE.
TwonJonson: Bun-B will always be a beast to me. I've never heard him get outshined lyrically by any of these young cats. Dude is one of few legends who have found a way to stay relevant without sacrificing his integrity and flow. Scarface's style hasn't changed either but his legacy is cemented in the golden era only. I haven't really been feeling any of his albums post "The Fix." Bun-B has had an enormous impact on the south, but Scarface I think has had a larger influence on Hip-Hop as a whole. Face-Mob.
Ra'z Al Ghoul: Bun B/Scarface- This is a heavyweight battle. I love both of these guys (pause), their style, delivery, subject matter everything. I had a phase where I would only listen to UGK and Bun B being 1/2 of the Duo of course grew on me the more I listened. Scarface is that dude in the south for me. Dude got lyrics, simple. I hate having to make this decision but I gotta go with Bun B.
The Niftian: This isn't about production, so take that off the table and away from Kanye West. With what is left, you have Slim Shady destroying him and running circles up and down the court. Kanye West has been known for slick metaphors and catchy songs, and not to mention incredibly potent politics, even on wax. None of that translates to the sheer dominance that Eminem has had in rap. Yes, there was a period where Em was being god awful lazy and an embarrassment to both himself and hip hop but he has redeemed himself. Just when people thought it was ok and safe to come for his title, he unleashed "Rap God" on that ass. He may have come across as gimmicky at first, but that translated to him becoming the highest selling rapper in history. Men lie, women lie...numbers don't. EDGE: Eminem
Irish Ninja: Eminem vs. Kanye West - Not talking production, just straight mic skills? Yo, there better not be one of y'all that gives this to Kanye. Kanye has those lyrics here and there that perk your ear up or make you say, " I can't believe he just said that." But Em will take 16 bars to spell out one metaphor, one complete diss. Shit would go so hard you'd get hyped before he finished what he was saying. You'd have to hit rewind and try to keep quiet long enough to get the entire meaning of what he was putting out there. Kanye doesn't/can't do that. Kanye gets destroyed, Eminem doesn't break a sweat.
stayfly: ye got my last vote begrudgingly. so i am happy to rectify that with a vote for slim shady. yea kanye is a very visible force in the game..but em is no slouch. both shady records and shade45 are very integral parts of the hip hop landscape today. he gave us 50..and in turn gunit..and now he is looking to make the next dynasty with the slaughterhouse movement. shady records 2.0 is gonna change the game again. SHADY.
TwonJonson: Look, let's face it, Kanye sucks now. There was a time during Eminem's druggie slump (the Encore era) where Jay had already retired and the game was hungry for someone new to take over. Kanye took advantage of that opportunity and ran with it. He was never a great rapper but his overall ability to make good music trumped that for most of the early part of his career. But lately it's just been trash on top of garbage. How does an artist FORGET how to rap? And the fact that he was never a great rapper to begin with means he's horrible now. Eminem can fall back for several years and then pop back up out of nowhere to remind everyone he's still here, and still a fucking beast wit it. Even though I don't particularly care for most of Em's recent albums, I am still blown away by his stellar lyricism and will take his overall catalog over Kanye's all day. And I don't particularly enjoy pointing out sales figures, but every single one of Eminem's albums have at least gone 2x Platinum, two of which have gone diamond. Ain't nobody fuckin wit that white boy...
Ra'z Al Ghoul: Eminem/Kanye West- Kanye West has not concerned his self with the art of rapping in these days. Ye makes "art." He is making music that comes to him, this is the stage that he is in/at right now and I can't consider him a competitor in this bout. Marshall Mathers has been a problem since he first came into the game when I was a kid. From doing drugs to rapping about his fucked up childhood and his mother's poor choices in life to his reformed at your neck style he's at now, he'd still rap circles around Ye. Em already has beaten out Ye on "Forever" with Drake and Wayne as well, and his BET cipher(s) were all better than Kanye's. No matter on wax or just freestyling, Em is the victor. Even if Ye was the Ye he was before when he was the Roc, I think Em still would pull out on top.
The Niftian: Unfortunately, I don't have a dog in the fight of eLZHI against Royce da 5'9. I didn't even truly know about eLZHI until Irish Ninja put me onto him (...) in 2011. I definitely liked what I heard but I've never had the thought that I liked his material more than Royce's. EDGE: Royce da 5'9
Irish Ninja: Elzhi vs. Royce Da 5'9 - Two Detroit heavyweights. I would pay to see these two actually battle; those bars would be NASTY. I want to say Elz would win; I just can't make myself believe it. Not even looking at the albums (or mostly mixtapes in Elzhi's case) that these dudes have dropped, Elzhi has shown that he is definitely a force to be reckoned with. But Royce? Royce is in one of the most lyrically destructive supergroups in rap today. I wouldn't doubt that these dudes battle each other. That is one hell of a training camp. And to be able to stand out in a pack of certified spitters like that. Elzhi is takes the "L" here. Royce is too much of a beast. Royce to the Elite 8.
stayfly: hmmm..i think elmatic is still gonna get el over this battle for me. nickel has been as consistent as any emcee..but if i start to add slum into the equation..plus the masterpiece that was elmatic..el for the win. ELZHI
TwonJonson: Elzhi and Royce da 5'9...come on now man. Elzhi, beast. Royce, beast. How do you even compare these two? The only thing that sets them apart is, Royce has been honing his skills alongside other monsters on his level from Em to Joell Ortiz. As we all know, steel sharpens steel, and as a result, Royce's ability has grown exponentially. I believe Elzhi is better solo than he ever was with Slum Village, but I also think that is because the whole group thing was holding him back. With that said, Royce still edges him out slightly. But if Elzhi was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a crew and a boss that was on his level, he might have took this round instead. Royce all day.
Ra'z Al Ghoul: Elzhi/Royce Da 5'9- this is a lopsided battle for me. I don't really listen to Royce. I just don't have an ear for him right now. Elzhi though? That's a different story. If he is on the mic then I'm all ears. Elzhi is also one of my favorite hometown Emcees so I gotta give it to him.
Winner: Royce Da 5'9
The Niftian: I don't think it's fair to have one GOAT; there are too many criteria that people would go for to determine that title. However, that being said, one person that nearly everyone puts on their list is Pac. Why? Because he was immortalized in life, and *not* after death. He was T.I. before T.I. was T.I. and he was better! Hardcore lyrics, positive mindset, gritty realism, crossover appeal, genuine poet. The man could seemingly do it all as far as the culture is concerned. Five albums before he passed and he still had more than enough material to surpass that in posthumous releases: the man's work ethic was outstanding, giving him the opportunity to stay relevant long after his passing. He's worthy of the life after death honor, Biggie is not.Snoop has been a mainstay in the hip hop community for what, two decades? Arguably the most popular rapper in pop culture. Everyone knows Uncle S.N.double O.P. D.O.double Gizeeee! He came out of the gates blazing but his lyrical prowess has dwindled in the latter half of his career. These days, if a Snoop song is hot, it is because of the production or the features, not because of Calvin Broadus himself. EDGE: Tupac
Irish Ninja: 2Pac vs. Snoop Dogg - Even though Snoop has became an icon in music all around, he hasn't really been a battle rapper. He went hard as shit during the Dogg Pound era, but even then it wasn't really battle ready type material. His shit has been more laid back and on some pimp shit. There is no problem with that at all. But 2Pac's rhymes were the the things battle cries were made of. While I will say this is going to be a little more difficult for him to win later on, I can honestly say 2Pac then flows harder than Snoop does now so when they were doing it at the same time, it's not even a question. This ain't the pimp game, this here is battle. 2Pac for the win.
stayfly: kinda tough..but kinda not. yes snoop probably has the more complete classic with doggystyle (this and the chronic were my first cds)..but thats about it. hes had some nice radio hits here and there..and has popuped on some nice features..but that debut formula is impossible to duplicate. pac is my top 5 dead or alive emcee..now and forever. dude took hip hop to a place thematically that was unmatched. the subject matter were ahead of his time..he was the original conscience emcee. PAC.
TwonJonson: Ain't nuttin butta gangsta party...
It's hard to give the nod to Snoop, as Doggystyle is probably his only GREAT album. He has had some pretty good ones throughout the 2000s but nothing that would stand up against PAC's aresenal. Even most of his posthumous albums were better than Snoop's. Tupac's thug image may have overshadowed the fact he was a true poet and revolutionary in the eyes of the masses, but that doesn't take away from any of his accomplishments. Gotta give the W to PAC.
Ra'z Al Ghoul: Tupac/Snoop- 2 of Americaz Most wanted (at one point in time), in the same mutha fucking battle. Pac need we say more was a revolution and a movement WHILE he was alive like Dart said. Pac was inspirational, a moniker of awareness. Snoop is Snoop, he's everybodys uncle and is cool as shit but Pac takes the cake.
The Niftian: This is tough, namely because I spent so much energy talking about why Cube was greater than the Game in the last round, and now I am about to tear Ice Cube down. We already know how I feel about Mr. I Am The West, and there's no taking his legendary crown away from him. However, no one is generating more heat in the west than K.Dot right now. On top of that, he is so confident in his own abilities that he threatened to juggle the West AND East Coasts, and hardly anyone sufficiently stood up to answer his "Control" challenge. Kendrick is one of the prime reaons why hip-hop is straying away from fast cars, flashy jewelry and big booty bitches. He's helping to bring back the essence, and in a major way. You add that to the fact that the kid steals nearly every song that he is on, and you have the makings of a winner. EDGE: Kendrick Lamar
Irish Ninja: Kendrick Lamar vs. Ice Cube - Nothing has changed in my opinion where Cube is concerned, so I'm not repeating that shit. Once again, this is not a question of who has done what in the past, it's about right now when we are talking about who would take who in a battle. Ice Cube ain't soft in the least *pause*, but if you are getting ready to tell me he is about to out-rhyme Kendrick, you need to fully explain why. Kendrick for the win.
stayfly: easy one for me. kendrick is the next gen emcee..taking the best of the past..and taking it to the next level. i can def see black hippy making as big of an impact as nwa..but just with overall better emcees. KDOT.
TwonJonson: As far as Cube and Kendrick goes, a lot of this boils down to what era of Hip-hop you grew up in. Personally I feel like from a lyrical standpoint Kendrick slays O'Shea. But the only thing holding Kendrick back in my eyes is his tenure. 15-20 years from now I'm sure it will be more clear-cut. Ice Cube has already put in the time, but much like Face, he left his mark on the game in the early-to-mid 90s. Again, off potential alone, I reluctantly give this one to Kendrick Lamar.
Ra'z Al Ghoul: Kendrick/Cube- Kendrick. I'm really not explaining. I fuck with Cube but come on now, let's be real. It's ironic how Cube went to the East Coast and Kendrick crowned his self the King of N.Y. but the better Set tripper has been K.Dot.
Winner: Kendrick Lamar
The Niftian: I hated this battle only because I'm a big fan of both artists. Both Nas and Raekwon are fun to listen to and give me life but Irish Ninja made a good ass point: there has been more content and less missteps on Nas' part. Although I'm down with the Chef, I see Nas rapping around him. It's not a sound victory (see what I did there?) but Nas has it on content. EDGE: Nas
Irish Ninja: Nas vs. Raekwon - Shit......I hate this. I don't want to see either go, but it has to happen. Raekwon is a dope emcee. He'll be remembered not only as stand out in the Wu, but as someone who could walk on his own two feet. The kung fu metaphors were ahead of his time when he started and he has shown to be a solid lyricist that could take your head off with the quickness. Nas is damn near legendary and he did it solo (besides The Firm, but we won't go there). Any thought of him waning lyrically went out the door when he dropped Stillmatic, and he has only gone up from there. Rae has had more missteps in his career than Nas, so I'd translate that to Nas being stronger and more consistent in a battle. The winner here is Nas.
stayfly: as i said before..aint really gonna be an emcee ima put over nas. but rae is def in that emcee bracket. as much respect the chef..gotta go with the god son. no? one word..ether. NASTY.
TwonJonson: This is another tough one. They both came up during the same era and are still seen as fairly relevant with steady album releases that have all been good. But Nas' legacy still outshines Raekwon's. Illmatic, It Was Written, and STILLmatic trump Cuban Linx. Also, Nas is more versatile as an artist with his subject matter. The metaphors about cooking crack that are heard throughout most of RaeKwon's albums get old after awhile. The God's Son gets the W again.
Ra'z Al Ghoul: Nas/Raekwon- Story telling and lyrics is the only outcome out of this match up. I think would be slugged out to the end but I got Nas. Nas is God's Son. I just think Nas' ability to story tell and HOW he raps will let him prevail.
The Niftian: I'll just be honest. I've always been "cool" with Big Pun but I've never really been what I call a fan. Refer to my comments from the last round against Ghostface. On the other side, Jay-Z's impact, range, influence, skill, cred, sales and longevity make him a formidable opponent, one that Big Pun is ill equipped to stomach (see what I did there?!?) and besides: it's Hova the God. EDGE: Jay-Z
Irish Ninja: Big Pun vs. Jay-Z - If this was on Pay-Per-View, this would be the match when I'd go refill my drink. I mean, Jay-Z is a good rhymer and all, I just don't think he is that good. His business side has allowed him to put together some well produced albums, but with production like that, who wouldn't sound good? Back in the Roc-A-Fella/Terror Squad days, Jay's album sounded better, but Pun rhymed better. I get the point that he's done so much for the game and look what he's accomplished and blah blah blah. I do not care. If there was a way to get Pun and Hov to both rhyme on the Politics As Usual beat, I am pretty sure Jay would be picking his face up off the floor. Big Pun is victorious.
stayfly: i think ima be in the minority..but ima go punisher. even though i believe that pun would destroy jay in a battle..rebuild him..and destroy him again. hes done things with syllables that are unmatched..even today. if he aint leave us so early..wouldnt even be a question. what you want..hardcore..commercial..you wanna dance?! PUN.
TwonJonson: I have no problem admitting that Pun is a better rapper than Jay-Z. HOV would easily get bodied if these two were to ever go head to head in a battle. But what impact has PUN made on the culture? HOV's influence spans the course of a couple decades and he is single handedly responsible for several thriving careers that have done nothing but boost the culture to new heights. I can't even part my lips to say Pun gets this over Jay. I can't think of any of Pun's albums I enjoyed over Jay's, nor was Pun around long enough to build a career worthy of stacking up against Jay. I'm rollin wit HOV.
Ra'z Al Ghoul: Jay Z/ Big Pun- I think the same argument that was made against Big can be made for Pun as well. I know Pun has more releases than Biggie however we're talking about him going against the person who is (IMO) the GOAT, and if in some others he is within mention. Jay is still dropping gems that people seriously do not want to give him credit for. How you gone box with the God? Quoted by Dart with Eminem and Kanye, "Men lie, women lie, numbers don't.
STACKS VS BUN-B? EM VS ROYCE? THE NEXT ROUND IS GUARANTEED TO BE CRAZY! CHECK BACK NEXT WEEK FOR THE ELITE 8 SHOWDOWN!