31 March 2014

Hip Hop March Madness: Elite 8

TwonJonson: Let's not get crazy wit this one fellas. Sure Kendrick is a beast, his future is bright, and I would even go so far as to call him the leader of the new school but it is TOO damn early for him to even be compared to Tupac on any level. As far as I'm concerned, Pac BIRTHED Kendrick. He is one of that youngin's biggest influences. Tupac's reign won't last forever, but I still think we have a long way to go before he gets de-throned. If we want to talk about if these two were to ever battle, sure Kendrick's bars will most likely be more complex and rewind-worthy, but I think Tupac's verses would cut deeper just because of his style. Pac moves on to the Final Four.

The Niftian: Man, this is like the battle to end all battles right here. Four corners of the American landscape and they all came with monsters...sheesh, this is what hip-hop is about! I'm a huge fan of Kendrick Lamar and honestly, the kid can seemingly do no wrong, but Twon is right: it's too early, especially when comparing him to a heavyweight like Pac. Tupac has hit after hit after hit under his belt and is a mainstay in the conciousness of the culture. Kendrick is a rookie, and this Cinderfella isn't going all the way to the ball. EDGE: Tupac

stayfly: pac v kdot - kendrick is a student of the game..a true emcee. the kid is years before his time..and has shown a lyrical versatility that is almost extinct in the game today. his first solo mixtape (overly dedicated) was solid and his follow up (section.80) was a classic mixtape. and of course his first studio album was further confirmation that kdot has cemented his name in the game. his accolades are all well deserved. but i think he still has a way to go. the mt.rushmore of hip hop still has tupac's spot chiseled permanently for the foreseeable future. pac is the still the teacher. pac was able to see the true power of his words. with tracks like brenda's got a baby, keep ya head up, dear mama, i aint mad at cha, changes..pac was able to speak to and relate to a generation that wanted more from their hip hop. while he didn't have insane metaphors like kendrick..he still had one of the best flows in the game. kdot is versatile now..but pac was versatile forever. from murals all over ny..to the slums of 3rd world countries..pac is global. dude even has a statue in germany (google it)! MAKAVELI

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Pac/Kendrick- Kendrick is hot no doubt about it. He been sparking Hip-hop and it's tone. With that "Control" verse he started up something that we haven't really seen in a while. He has talent and is one of the rawest MC's out. I love him (pause), & GKMC was an amazing album, debut albums at that (depending on how you call it). King Kendrick has is empire of a fan base but he doesn't have the West outright like Pac did (including affiliates and camp mates).  K.dot and TDE has a large share of the west but what Pac did was monumental. Pac continuously made classics. You can't walk into a party and throw on a random Kendrick verse and people know it word for word. Pac's catalog is so vast and potent people will start losing their voices from rapping. Pac got my vote.

Irish Ninja: Tupac vs. Kendrick - Classics? Impact? Status? Fuck all that. We are talking about who would spit hotter bars. I get it, Tupac is a legend and has done so much for hip hop and he did this and he did that. I swear on everything I grasp the concept of that. What I'm not accepting is that the status of the emcee and their past songs is going to be ranked higher than their lyrical ability when it comes to this tournament. Look at the lyrics of Picture Me Rollin' and the lyrics of Backseat Freestyle. The lyrical ability of the "rookie" is WAAAYY past the vet. Picture Me Rollin' is my shit, but you can't honestly tell me that Kendrick's verse doesn't destroy that. I would even go so far as to say put these dude's lyrics side by side and dissect them shits, like heads like to do. I don't listen to Kendrick that much and I have mad respect for Tupac but real talk, Kendrick the MC is better than Tupac the MC. I'm Tupac had that emotion and realness when he spit, Kendrick has the same AND his wordplay is better. Kendrick for the win (Let the hate begin)

Winner: Tupac

TwonJonson: WOW. These two are MONSTERS. Both are neck and neck lyrically and have done nothing but grow over the past decade plus. Em's career and impact clearly outshine Royce's, but I personally feel like Royce is a better rapper. Em's goofy shit over the years is finally starting to work against him in this round. Royce has always been raw and has never rolled with any gimmicks, but as we all know, he doesn't have a strong enough catalog of solo material. I wanna give Em the nod simply off the strength of his accomplishments, and Royce off the strength of actually being nicer than the Rap God in my opinion. God damnit man this sucks! Hmm...I'm rollin wit Royce for the HUGE upset!!!!

The Niftian: Eminem vs Royce is probably one of the most equal matchups we have here today. Both are lyrical monsters and both pack a wallop in the metaphor and pun department. People who don't know Royce that well would think that he is automatically the weaker link because of his lack of celebrity. However, the truth is that they are damn near one and the same. Honestly, if you take any aspect of the art of flowing and place them side by side, they can go tit for tat with one another, be it speed, complexity, metaphors, etc. Their styles are so similar. But there can only be one, right? The difficulties I have lie in the fact that Royce never really dropped off, whereas Eminem had that flaky period in his life where he was either overdosing on drugs or trying to come off of them and it severely affected his style and career. Royce never went through any mess like that, plus Royce is funnier. However, Royce never really took off in his own right. Rumor has it that the reason the two of them started beefing years ago was because Em didn't reach back and pick Royce up after he got signed, instead signing the all but defunct D12 to the Shady Records label. Even after the beef was squashed and Royce got on, it was as part of a group. I honestly don't think you can judge this round off of talent alone, because they are so evenly matched. I'll have to go with successes and the resurgence that Em has experience with his last album, and in that regard, Em barely walks away a winner. EDGE: Eminem

stayfly: eminem v royce - this is an easier one. i am not the biggest em fan..but dude is hands down one of the best freestyle emcees ive ever heard. most of the time his track are just rhyming words..with no theme or continuity. my fav em track is stan because his ability to story tell is amazing..dont know why he does it more often. but his influence is global. royce is a detroit legend..and with the help of shady is growing his brand and influence in hip hip as a whole. together..bad vs evil..they probably do some of their best work. but em is still 2 light years ahead lyrically. being with royce forces him to tighten up his thought process and deliver the quality of hip hop he is capable of. SHADY

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Royce/Eminem- I'm so uneducated on Royce Da 5'9 this isn't a fair fight for him. I hear his freestyles and love them, but his tracks on albums haven't appealed to me I have to give him some more plays. I'm going with Em solely off comfortability.

Irish Ninja: Royce vs. Eminem - 2 of Detroit's finest. I used to wonder why Eminem decided to pull D-12 up from the D instead of bringing Royce with him. Those two would have possibly still been ruling rap right now. I have a theory about that. Remember when Eminem did a guest spot on Renegade and blew Jay-Z the fuck out of the water on his own album? I wouldn't be surprised if Em didn't run with Royce for that same reason of not wanting to be out-shined. Em started with the crazy rhymes and subject matter and then got more rugged with it in later releases. Royce was always a beast. Em resurgence would have gave him the win if Royce would have stopped rhyming, but he didn't. I have to give this one to Royce, but just barely. Although I'll probably catch some flack because of the albums Eminem's and lack of hits on Royce's part, I would challenge that by saying that even the Rap God himself said that he couldn't take Royce on the mic.

Winner: Eminem

TwonJonson: Definitely one of the more well-balanced matchups this round. There was a time where Jay held us down every single summer and we were pretty much guaranteed a solid project. Nas, not so much. His consistency was shaky during the rise and height of Jay-Z's reign, so much so that it was tough to see Nas ever rebounding. But like I pointed out in previous rounds, steel sharpens steel. The beef between Nas and Jay in the early 2000s reminded the world of Nas' greatness established with his first two albums, and also shined some light on the fact that lately Jay-Z was only as good as his production. In hindsight, the battle may have been a glimpse into the future as Nas' career thrived for the rest of the decade while Jay retired, came back, and somehow completely lost his ability to rap like he used to. Nas has been able to grow as an artist and still makes relateable music. Jay nowadays is a shadow of his former self and makes music only he, his wife, and maybe Puffy can relate to. Nas for the win.

The Niftian: Well, isn't this one for the masses! It feels like 2001 all over again! Everytime I think back to that moment in my life, I get nostalgic as all hell. The Takeover versus Ether! Nasty Nas versus Jay Hova! Man, rap battles just don't come better than this. Although the two have squashed the beef on wax, there is always that lingering competition between them. Alas, that doesn't translate to sales, as Jay has been drowning the masses in music. Well, maybe "drowning" is a strong term, because a lot of his product is actually wanted, like that Watch The Throne album. I was so damn pleased with that. Other offerings, not so much. Nas, on the other hand, hasn't been able to recreate the same fire and intensity that Stillmatic brought us, but he hasn't really been faring that badly either. I personally feel that Nas has been more consistent than Jay has, even though Jay-Z has been doing, and selling, much more. If we had to have a Takeover vs Ether, part two, I see Nas with the repeat win, because we all know he won round one. EDGE: Nas

stayfly: nas v jay - ha..2001 anyone? let's start with hova. ima we just go by emcee skill. i know mr.carter has the numbers game on lock. but that means nada to me. you know who else had numbers? mc hammer..vanilla ice..and will smith. they aint on list. but platinum status is not a shot at jay. just means he went more commercial. arguable where most of his hits came from. white people love jay z..and that equals sales. the jay z brand is one of the most influential in the game today (along with puff..because he is puff now..and dre). but the music has suffered..i honestly dont need another jay-oncĂ© track. it is hard to punish him for his success..but how can you rap about fighting the man..when you are the man (barneys..brooklyn nets)? so..nas. my bias would make this take too long..so uall know im going god son for the win. but even if you take away his golden gun (nintendo 64 reference..classic on classic) debut illmatic..we still have it was written, stillmatic, the lost tapes, hip hop is dead, the n, distant relatives and life is good. dude is a street laureate and hood poet that in my opinion is the quintessential essence of the emcee. yeah he has had a few low points..but so has jay (best of both worlds? and there was 2 of them!). Nas has the lyrical growth and thematic evolution I need in my hip hop..daughters!  i know i used this argument in the last match-up..but it is relevant now. head to head? the hip hop community has spoken..ETHER. NASTY 

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Nas/Jay- Nas is one of the greatest story tellers of all time. Nas is very influential and has a great impact on the culture and actual MC's that exists today. God's Son can box with anybody in the game but he can't box with the God. Yeah I know Nas supposedly beat Hov with Ether but I'm still reserving my judgement. Hov is just the GOAT to me. I'm still decoding lyrics from Reasonable Doubt. The man can spit and knows how to encrypt a text. I love Nas but I'm going with Jay.

Irish Ninja: Jay-Z is a better than average rapper, but he's not a great rapper. I don't give a damn what anyone says. I am still a strong believer that Jay-Z has had so much success because he was able to afford the best in production. Dude is like the Keanu Reeves of rap. He was average for a long ass time and then because of some power moves, he was able to align himself into some big production and made sure he did what was necessary to stay in a position of power. I'm not faulting that, it's great business. But I don't see Jay-Z beating Nas in a battle. I mean seriously, we are talking about Nas. Mr. If I Ruled The World, Mr. Nastradamus, Mr. Made You Look, Mr. Life's A Bitch. Compare the lyrics from these two at any time period. Nas has consistently been the better rhymer. Hov just need to bow out gracefully. Nas takes it.

Winner: Nas

TwonJonson: This is an obvious one, but it doesn't make it any easier as both artists have done so much for the south. They share some similarities also in that they are (were?) a part of legendary duos who helped shape the entire landscape of southern music forever. Andre 3000 gets this one though, because of his versatility which has led to him remaining relevant despite not releasing a project since 2006, and a proper album since 2003. His style of music and rhyming was so ahead of its time that, now that people are finally catching up over a decade later, his music is still sought after. The mark of a truly timeless artist. Stacks.

The Niftian: I have to give this one to Three Stacks because his formula is ever changing. Bun B, OG that he is, hasn't really strayed much from his original style of delivery in recent years. Don't get me wrong, "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" is perfectly applicable here but Mr. Benjamin's technique and lyrical prowess and smooth sailing style with easy verbal gait may prove to be too much for Bun. Although Bun is riding a wave of increased popularity, that's not enough to put down Andre 3000, who is easily amongst the top ten emcees out today, and all of this without any recent albums. EDGE: Andre 3000

stayfly: stacks v bun-b - easy one for me. 3000 has reinvented himself but at the same time kept true to himself for the past decades. Whether he's experimenting or just murdering a track (as of late it has been the toe tag bars on anyone who features stacks on their track) this cat is the epitome of uniqueness. Comfortable in his skin..stacks is able to float from instrumental to instrumental with the greatest ease. Ain't a true hip hop head out there gonna front..if a new track drops..and it says stacks (or featuring stacks)..their next move in life is to hit the repeat for the next few days. STACKS.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: 3 Stacks/Bun B- Trill vs. Ice Cold. Bun B has elevated his skill as time has progressed. He is undoubtedly a heavyweight of the south. I just don't see an upset happening against 3 Stacks. Andre 3000 has done nothing but dismember tracks. He can hop on a dance track and make you feel like it should be a completely different song I.e. Walk It out remix....Andre 3000 is the victor with ease. 

Irish Ninja: Andre3K vs. Bun-B - My vote is for 3000 hands down. There really isn't much to say that hasn't been said already. Bun-B definitely has a solid formula for delivery that has carried him this far, but that damn Andre continues to hit folks with a little something different every so often. He'd probably change it up on Bun during a cypher and leave him in the dust, mouth wide open.

Winner: Andre 3000


We have finally narrowed it down to four artists. 

NAS vs ANDRE 3000

Check back later this week as the BITM Squad chops it up and fights tooth and nail for who we feel deserves that top spot! Shit is gettin crazy...good LAWD

29 March 2014

Hip Hop March Madness: SWEET 16




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.

Winner: 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.

Winner: Eminem

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.

Winner: Tupac

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.

Winner: Nas

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.

Winner: Jay-Z



25 March 2014

Hip Hop March Madness: FIRST ROUND

Herrrrrreeee we go...



The Niftian: Eminem over Black Milk, no contest

Irish Ninja: I have to go with Em. As much as I love Black Milk's work, Em is the biggest reason, next to Dilla, that Detroit gained national recognition as a heavyweight contender in the Hip Hop game. 

Ra'z Al Ghoul: I'm going with Em. He shows he can still do what he used to do especially in those ciphers. 

TwonJonson: I mean it's not even a competition. Black Milk is a better producer than he is a rapper. He is big for Detroit but there's just no comparing these two lyrically.

stayfly: while em has less subject matter than black..you can't front on his influence in the game. consistency is an issue..but when em hits..he goes hard. em.

Winner: Eminem 

The Niftian: Elzhi defeats Common. Common has lyrical history but his strength has waned greatly since the early 00s.

TwonJonson: I'm going with Elzhi, but this is a tough one because of Common's career and how it kinda got rebooted by Kanye's production. Common will clearly still be doin' this shit when he's 70. I personally feel like Elzhi is stronger lyrically but how much has he done solo? The Preface, some Euro tape, and Elmatic are all that come to mind. But these days Common is more focused on being an actor.

Irish Ninja: I'm not sure yet. I hear you about Elzhi's output but I'll be honest, there are a couple Common albums that I'm good without. I know the impact is important but I think how strong they are now is a factor too. Common has flow, but a lot of them I am hearing just aren't as solid as Elzhi. Careers not withstanding, I think if these two were to battle right now. Elzhi might have the edge. Common may rhyme til he's 70, but he might not be good until he's 70. My thing is, if the contenders are still rhyming, who would win it present tense? Everything else is somewhat of a factor but if they are still cutting records presently, then their current performance should be a factor also.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: I love Common.  He is true to the culture. Elzhi I have none of his solo work. I have Slum Village stuff and I introduced myself to them. I agree that his Lyrical talent will keep him in this. This is where my question comes into play. 

stayfly: this is tough..but I gotta go with elzhi. common a vet..and to drop the dreamer/believer joint..testament to skills. but elmatic..that is just super duper tough. one hit knockout.

Winner: Elzhi

Irish Ninja: So, here I gotta give it to Royce. Not saying Lupe isn't a monster, but Royce was nice BEFORE Slaughterhouse and hasn't let up in a minute. That Lupe Lasers was meh and I'm not sure if there was anything memorable about Food & Liquor 2 besides the name.

TwonJonson: I was bout to point that out...Lasers tainted that mans career. He returned to form wit Food n Liquor 2 but people barely know that album exists. Royce hasn't had anything close to a classic album yet though. Lupe's a lyricist and has at least two great albums. But I'm still rolling with Royce because he's just a better rapper, period.

stayfly: Nickel over Lupe for me. Royce got more longevity. One on one, no match. Plus Lupe really been on some extra hard avant garde super conscious shit for a min now, it comes off fake. He was better when he wasn't trying so hard.

The Niftian: I think Lupe wins based off the strength of his first two albums and the fact that Royce doesn’t have a strong singular effort, save his mixtapes. However, those mixtapes banged and I think had a pretty strong influence on the genre. Unfortunately, we can’t give him props for siding with Slaughterhouse.

Winner: Royce Da 5'9 

TwonJonson: Tech been doin it longer, and has remained true to his style the whole time. This new age of Kanye Kardashian and his bitch fits have carried over into his music and ruined it. But i would still prefer to hear some Kanye shit over TECH tho. Give me anything from 808s on back and I'm good.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Heard two of Tech's songs. I respect his hustle and he owns his shit, but Ye. I'll literally listen to Yeezus before one of Tech N9ne's tracks. I don't rock wit dude like that but I have listened to a few of his joints. I think as an artist Kanye is more accessible than Tech N9ne because of his sound and what he talks about and what not. But as a rapper? I think if these two went toe to toe over the same beat in a cypher, Tech would do work on Kanye.

Irish Ninja: This is where I'm getting stuck. I am siding with Tech on this one. It's not for some indie reason either. I like Kanye's music over Tech's anyday but for real, Tech would rap circles around Kanye. He's got that speed which is a little gimmicky at times, but he has metaphors that go a little deeper. He straight up raps better than Kanye. The way I'm looking at it, this isn't a referendum on their careers. I'm looking at it more as a if these two were two meet somewhere face to face and battle right now, who would take it? 

stayfly: I listen to more Kanye. Respect Tech's underground hustle though. 

The Niftian: Tech Nine has such strength in his albums. Yes, Kanye has that rapper/producer credit to his name, but Tech can honestly rap circles around Kanye, and not just because of his lyrical speed and prowess. His content is fire. Kanye gets off on some socio-political stuff and that gives him points but his metaphors, and style, have been so weak lately. He’s experimenting with his production, which is fine, but his lyrics have suffered as a result, making his albums weaker over time. TECH NIIIIIIIIIINE!!!

Winner: Kanye West



stayfly: TI - been a TI fan longer 

TwonJonsonWith TIP and KRIT its a longevity issue at this point. They are very similar types of artists, the major difference being TI has seen far more success but times were different back then too. I have all of their albums and still enjoy TIs shit. Not all of KRITs projects are great, nor are hardly any of them even considered albums, but I could see him leaving his mark on the game when its all said and done.

Irish Ninja: TI vs. KRIT - I'm siding with KRIT. I think if these 2 were to battle each other in their prime, KRIT would take him, but barely. He's got a little wider range of shit he flows about and I think he could edge TI out

Ra'z Al Ghoul: T.I.- when I was in middle school that's all I heard was him. My aunt had both of his first 2 albums and burn copies for me. K.R.I.T. is nice and he got good music but I gotta go with the King.

The Niftian: Hmm...T.I. has a major strength: he can go street h.a.m. OR he can take it and be introspective. He makes awesome club hits but he can keep his core fans happy. K.R.I.T. is a beast and I'll always be a fan but he doesn't have the strengths, or album dexterity and length, that T.I. has.

Winner: T.I.

stayfly: Stacks - no explanation needed

TwonJonson: Yea its a no brainer between Wanye and 3000. Prolly wont find no backlash amongst us but I would be interested in someone tryna fight Wayne's case lol.

Irish Ninja: Wayne vs. Andre 3K - Andre all day. Even though it really doesn't require explaining, I'm going to. Regardless of whether or not I like Wayne as an artist, he's been doing it a while and has perfected the way HE does it. Like I said before, he's the king of one liners. Wayne has at least one or two lines that he's spit that has taken everyone by surprise, truthfully. With Andre, his rhyme game is stronger and he spreads metaphors over several bars or a whole damn verse. One liners aren't going to stand up to verses crafted like 3K does it.

The Niftian: Fuck Lil Wayne. He has career tenure but that's it. He literally has NOTHING on 3 Stacks. There is not ONE category that he can get 3000 in. 

Winner: Andre 3000

stayfly: Luda - same as TI..been rocking with him longer

TwonJonson: Luda and Bun B....hmmmm. Thats a tough one. Ludas best albums were in the early 2000s then he just fell into that ho-hum slump. Bun B has reinvigorated his career several times and honestly may be more relevant today than Ludacris. Luda has NEVER caught a 2nd wind no matter how hard he tried.

Irish Ninja: Luda vs. Bun B - I think the biggest comparison for this match up is the style. Bun B has shown he has staying power for a minute and Luda has been kinda coasting for a minute, but that's because he was tough all the way and hasn't had to change really. I think if you put both of these cats against each other in their prime, it's a tough call. I'm going to say Bun B, but just barely since he can probably reinvent himself to pull this win out.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Luda- I listened to UGK frequently and love them but I have/had so many Ludacris lyrics in my head it's not even fair. When Ludacris first came out he was my favorite out the south. I got him hands down.

The Niftian: Luda was a beast when he first came out. His metaphors were unrivaled but I believe that overall he pales in comparison to Bun B's braggadocio and bravado. Bun has revived his career in the wake of Pimp C's passing while Luda is barely making it. 

Winner: Bun-B

stayfly: Scarface - assuming we are taking geto boys into account also..dude is the OG.

TwonJonson: Scarface...the legacy speaks for itself.

Irish Ninja: Scarface vs. Killer Mike - Can't do it, I'm saying Mike all day. Looking at Scarface in his prime and looking at Killer Mike now (considering that he's in his prime now) Killer Mike is a better rapper. I know Scarface is the GOAT of the South but this isn't a question about careers, it's about who can take who in lyrical combat. Cats can have an outstanding record, until they come up against someone that is a little more hungry than they are. Prime time Mike is going in right now. Killer Mike for the upset.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Scarface- I didn't even know he was from the south until like my senior year, I was surprised. I had to download his albums because I realized he wasn't in my collection up until a few weeks ago. I didn't come up on Killer Mike like that, or at all really, but I think Scarface and 3 stacks top 2 out the south anyways so yeah.

The Niftian: Ooh. Scarface v Killer is a hard one. I'm gonna have to take...fuck, I don't know. Scarface. Fuck.

Winner: Scarface



stayfly: Pac - grew up with this dude. Arguably one of the emcees with most impact in game. Def woulda been movie and rap star. 

TwonJonson: Pac / Quik - I know if we had some true west coast reps on here they would say Quik did more for the overall signature sound of the west coast, but thas really just from a production standpoint. Pac's influence reaches further than just a coast tho, he has done more for the overall culture of hiphop than probably anyone in any category.

Irish Ninja: Tupac vs. DJ Quik - Tupac, hands down. Like Twon said, Quik made more of a mark from his production sound, not his rhymes. Tupac would eat him alive in a cypher

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Pac/Quik- stayed in rotation in my dad's Monte Carlo and Explorer. I love Quik I know both of them had a heavy impact but Pac was global. Quik was just on the west coast. Even now rappers like Dom Kennedy and Schoolboy have mentioned Quik but these are West Coast natives. Pac all the way.

The Niftian: I got mad love for DJ Quik, but not enough to put him over Pac. I think we all agree with Twon's analysis, that Quik stamped his foot on the Left Coast predominately in a production standpoint. Pac stamped his foot all over the damn culture!

Winner: Tupac

stayfly: Snoop - doggystyle is forever a classic.

TwonJonson: Snoop / Short - yet another case of local appeal versus mass. Snoops impact and brand are far more recognizeable, but Short is still doing his thang at 47 and gettin called in for collabs left and right. Snoop got it tho.

Irish Ninja: Snoop vs. Too Short - This one goes to Snoop. Too Short has been in the game FOREVER but I never really thought he was that good. Outside of pimpin' and shit, I don't know what else Too Short raps about. Snoop's style, broader range, and elevated pimp game take this one.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Snoop/Short- Both also stayed in rotation. I remember way back to Too Short 's freaky tales track. Short still doing his thing dropping nice verses. But Snoop is "Uncle Snoop" he is the living legend from the West. Every rapper that comes on his GGN online show pays homage to him about Doggy Style and some story they have with it. Snoop is the OG. Gotta give it to him.

The Niftian: Too Short and Snoop BOTH have lasting power but in different arenas, so to speak. Yes, Snoop has branched out in various aspects of pop culture, much like Pac before his untimely death. Hell, I would say that Snoop is the MOST prolific rapper in history. But does that translate to a powerful emcee? No, but that's a topic for another day. Too Short and Snoop BOTH have bangers in their catalogue but I think it's fairly safe to say that Snoop's breakout style and flow has had a larger influence on the genre than Short. Short is known for pimpin and Snoop is known for weed, but Snoop's sales and style demolish Short's.

Winner: Snoop

stayfly: Kdot - strictly on potential..and what he's put out so far. Gkmc..def close to classic status.

TwonJonson: Kendrick / E-40 - this situation is similar to the others except Kendrick hasn't had any longevity under his belt compared to the rest. We are def going off potential here but the potentials are so strong its hard to deny him the W.

Irish Ninja: Kendrick vs. E-40 - On an objective level, Kendrick is levels above E-40 in every possible way: subject matter, delivery, wordplay, all of that. Kendrick attacks a mic while E-40 worries about how many syllables he can fit into 16 bars. Kendrick is the champ in this one On a personal level, FUCK E-40. That nigga sucks. I didn't like him when I lived in Cali and it got worse after I moved to Va. I wish his ass would get permanent laryngitis.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Epheezy/K.Dot- I have every E-40 album. My dad had this in my ears as well. The Hall of Game was my favorite album by him. Definitely put on for the Bay. His slow to fast pace raps and made up verbage is amazing, but I gotta go with Kendrick. Off skill alone K.dot is even more dynamic than E-40 was/is. GKMC is his Reasonable Doubt, Doggy Style, Illmatic and not even because it's his first album, he really crafted the album. With all the controversy he caused based off his Control verse and his freestyle he SLIGHTLY has a 3 Stacks effect. Gotta go with the King of N.Y.

The Niftian: Kendrick all day. It's almost not fair since we only have mixes and independent releases to go off of for K.Dot but the kid is a fucking genius and will be scoring for a long time. It's apparent that's he isn't a one hit wonder and will be lyrically slamming cats for years to come. E-40, as goofy as he can come off, is still a beast of his coast. I'd go so far as to say that E-40 still has more rank and stain than K. Dot in the west...but that won't last long. And MIKE, how can you say you don't like 40 water?!?!?! YOU'RE the one who turned me on to him in Afghanistan, bruh!!! You forgot about "My Ghetto Report Card???" That album is a banger ALLLL the way through!!! "Yay Area" with the Digable Planets sample?!?!?!?!?!?! "She Say She Love Me" with Bun-B?!??! "Tell Me When To Go" used to get you HYPE in the gym after work!!! Man, it's not often that I can listen to an album from cover to cover and stay crank. That album does it for me, and it came out eight years ago! If Kendrick wasn't such a fucking beast on the mic, I'd give it to E-40 on the real. However, Kendrick cannot be denied.

Winner: Kendrick Lamar 

stayfly: Game - It was good day is probably one of my top 25 hip hop songs. And nwa was revolutionary. But can't front like I eff with them a lot. Like PE or Beastie Boys or RUN DMC..I respect their stamp on history..but I don't got em on repeat. Been a Game fan from day 1..documentary..Classic.

TwonJonson: Cube / Game - I feel like all of my picks would be the exact opposite if I was from LA but I cant front like I grew up on Cube either. The Game was the strongest, and other than snoop, the ONLY west coast rep making noise for most of the 2000s. Gotta give it to Game.

Irish Ninja: Game vs. Cube - Cube maybe a pioneer, but Game is the stronger emcee. Comparing lyrics from these cats in their prime, Ice Cube just doesn't have it to the degree Game does. The fact that Cube also pulled an Eddie Murphy and started doing family movies while Game stayed true to his makes me think that in their prime, Game Would have been hungrier. Game is the victor here.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Cube/Game-  I didn't really come up on cube like that and outside of N.W.A. I only heard one album. Game however, I was rocking with him heavy when he first came out. The Documentary I played from front to back. He still is putting out nice albums. Jesus Piece was hot. Game got my vote.

The Niftian: I want Ice Cube over Game, and this is why: Game's first album was fucking bananas. His second album was aight. Then he turned into a whining, sniveling bitch. His lyrics reflected that. He's wishy washy. Sometimes his shit bangs and sometimes his shit is rank like skunk weed: you want to like it cuz it's weed but it's low quality, so you just tolerate it if there is nothing else around. His last album was ok but it was very skippable. What hits does he really have, save the strength of one album? Cube has classics for DAYS! Ignore the fact that he has turned into an actor, because that is not relevant for this convo. Snoop has been acting, too. Pac was acting, too. Cube is staying true to his style and it still works for him. Despite the family safe movies, he is still grimy with his lyrics. Yea, you don't hear him on the radio like when we were kids but it doesn't take away from his impact. He's still getting features. Game also has one fractured group behind him (G-Unit). Cube? N.W.A. and WCC, anyone? Game doesn't have too many hits outside of what he did with Fif. Cube has achieved legendary status with two groups AND by himself. Cube all day. Game isn't a scrub, per se, but he can't wrestle with Cube's discography or street status. Cube making family movies and Coors light commercials and will STILL bust Game's ass upside the head, lyrically and physically!

TwonJonson: I think regardless of number of votes, Cube should get the W off Darts breakdown alone. Im not afraid to admit I was ill qualified to even speak on his career.

The Niftian: Man, and I'm not even a huge Cube groupie. I just know that he has a better EVERYTHING over Game, and I do like Game. That Red Album was nice, for the most part. But I honestly think ALL of us (except maybe Ra'z, not being funny) know more Cube songs than Game songs. *shrugs* I could be wrong but I doubt it.

Irish Ninja: You are right, but I still stand by my decision. I'm not looking at what they did, those are stats as far as I'm concerned. I'm looking at who takes who in a battle. I don't think Cube would take Game.

The Niftian: Bro, I honestly see Cube over Game in a battle, real talk.

TwonJonson: I dont think its anywhere near that clear cut. No Vaseline??????? Colder than ANY diss record in Game's stash. 

The Niftian: Hell, colder than a lot of people's disses. Damn...shit went hard. He took on a whole fucking group. Even made one nigga die of AIDS...damn! lol ok, I'm done,

TwonJonson: Now that I think about it, it really would not feel right puttin Game over Cube. That would just be REAL "young-nigga" of us to do that. I think CUBE should get the W even tho Game got 4 votes, myself included. Darts breakdown trumps ours and I feel we would be doing Hip-Hop a disservice putting Game over Cube.

Irish Ninja: I'm gonna have to sit with this one and get back to you. I'm not going to change my vote because hip hop says I have to though. I think that would be more of a disservice to hip hop than anything. I rocked Lethal Injection,Death Certificate and Predator like it was no one's business. It's because of those albums I really didn't fuck with too much he did after 2001. I feel after he hit the 2000's for some reason a lot of his stuff sounded stale to me. Anything he was doing new sounded like the same shit from the 90's with updated beats. Since they are both rapping now I have to compare what they are doing now. not what they did that led up to now. And right now, I don't feel Ice Cube can take the Game in a battle. We keep going back to why someone SHOULD win based off their stats, but if we are doing this in March Madness fashion, stats don't mean a guaranteed win. I still say for those that are still doing it now, current skill should be a factor.

The Niftian: Game is good, yes, but I really don't see him having the intensity to defeat Cube. And yes, overall career should be a factor. Game has no classic songs, just a really fucking good intro album. But without Dre and Fif, his light has been relatively dismal with a few flashes of niceness.

Winner: Ice Cube



stayfly: NAS - no explanation needed..just fyi..ima vote nas all the way. once i was mature enough to listen to illmatic..i was done. goat. plus..like i said before..he cut from rakim cloth..but easily surpassed him imo.

TwonJonson:  Nas is like Rakim 2.0. Rakim will always be your favorite rapper's favorite rapper, but since i'm nowhere near 40, I could never see myself calling him MY favorite. I respect his
influence on Nas, but I feel like Nas is easily in the top three best rappers of all time, if not THE best.

Irish Ninja:  Nas vs. Rakim - Rakim has definitely earned the right to be considered the definition of a dope MC. He is the mold that a lot of East Coast MCs are cut from. Having said that I think we all in agree, so far, that Nas took Rakim's lessons and ran with them. This a case where the student became the teacher. Nas for the win.

Ra'z Al Ghoul:  Nas/Rakim- I respect Rakim and everything he did for the culture and how he is "your favorite rappers favorite rapper." I used to rock with Rakim and a lot of other old school artists tough when I was a kid which is why I know the stuff I know now, but Nas is NAS. He has had a heavy influence in the game for niggas who can actually rap and are lyrical. He's somehow came up in every hip hop conversation I've had with people like LeBron James does so Nas get the dub.

The Niftian:  Although Rakim is the God MC, I have to give this one to Nas. Rakim will always be a legend but his torch had been passed down a long time ago. As far as I'm concerned, if the torch is passed, then you don't get the same level/amount of kudos. And since that torch was passed to Nas, he gets it. Yea, Nas had a couple of subpar albums (sorry, Ang, but "I Am" sucked lol) and questionable singles (his bodyguard's "Oochie Wallie" verse was better than his) but he has bounced back in fiery fashion after Stillmatic. He realized that he didn't need commercial hits in order to be favored in the limelight. And well, winning hip hop's second largest beef in history against Jay-Z definitely helped (yea, he one, but that's an argument for a different day, lol). Rakim can get play on my Sirius XM anytime and I'll listen now and again and I'll always respect the R, but he doesn't have the overall strength and ability to damage like Nas does.

Winner: Nas

stayflyRAE - yes the roots hold a solid spot in my personal hip hop timeline ("you got me" is top 10 hip hop songs for me)..but the wu played a larger part in my life. and the purple tape is a 1000% classic. i even copped actually tapes recently (twice)..money well spent..now just need cassette player.

TwonJonsonOh my LAWD. This isn't fair to have to choose one. Black Thought is one of a very small handful of artists who began their careers in the early 90s and has maintained that same level of ability throughout.
But at the same time, so has The Chef! Only Built for Cuban Linx was one of the first albums I ever heard, and I still keep it in heavy rotation. This one's a toss-up for me. But I'm leaning toward Thought. I feel like The Roots as a whole DEFINE what the true essence of Hip-Hop is.

Irish NinjaRaekwon vs. Black Thought - I can already tell this one is gonna be a hot button one, if not in BITM then definitely with the readers. Both these cats are dope emcees. Both will be remembered as influential and for some both of these cats will be in their all time top 5. Personally, I didn't really fuck with Black Thought until Things Fall Apart, and even then I wasn't fucking with Black Thought, I was fucking with The Roots as a collective. I think Black Thought the emcee will not be remembered as strongly as The Roots as a collective. Black Thought has flow, but for me, he was never as LYRICALLY strong as Raekwon. I agree with Twon that The Roots as a whole define the essence of hip hop, and is because of all the parts coming together as a whole. But Black Thought's rhymes against Rae's ? Raekwon is the champ in this round.

Ra'z Al GhoulRae/Black Thought- I feel like this is out of my hands. I listened to the Wu slightly but this was hard for me to come across and actually acquire the work. The only nigga from the Wu I actually have a basis with is Meth who is my favorite member.I have Only Built 4 Cuban Linx but I only listened to one or two songs. I'm still trying to actually know where my culture came from while still paying attention to the new. Black Thought I have listened to even less from him AND the Roots not by choice, just from being overwhelmed with all of the music that y'all came up on and still trying to play keep up instead of enjoying it when it actually released. I'm doing double the work. I gotta give this to Rae solely off of my familiarity with him.

The NiftianRae v Thought. This one sucks. Y'all know I want to pick Black Thought, right? I mean, Raekwon is a fucking beast and my second favorite member of the Wu after Ghostface and before Method Man, but Black Thought is Black Thought! Man, fuck it. This one is too close to call for me, so I'm going with my homey, Thought.

Winner: RaeKwon

stayfly: HOV - no secret i aint big B.I.G. fan (i like the kid..but get outa here with top 5 talks). but that takes nothing away from jay. like nas..when i was able to appreciate reasonable doubt..i was sold. and most of college was rocafellad out. consistent..until recently. but he is a business..man. 

TwonJonson: These are the artists I latched onto before anyone else, and in my younger years I undoubtedly saw them both as the best. The fact that BIG's timeless legacy was built off the strength of ONE album is an accomplishment no other artist will ever be able to top. On the other hand, Jay has stayed true to his motto of "I Will Not Lose" and continues to make noise despite the fact his lyricall ability has kinda fallen off a little. Biggie's best work far exceeds Jay's, but Jay has more great work under his belt over his seemingly endless career. I'll give the W to Jay on this one.

Irish Ninja: Jay-Z vs. Biggie - The only true fair comparison between these two is to do it when they were both rhyming at the same time. During that period, Biggie was the better MC. It's even been argued that the only reason that Jay-Z is the man now, aside from his evident business savvy, is that his main lyrical competitor was gunned down. I can't say if Biggie would have taken him now because no one really knows. Look at the state of Bad Boy now. But if we take it back to where they were occupying the same space at the same time? Biggie takes it.

Ra'z Al Ghoul:  Big/Jay- I'm going to be rocking with Jay the whole tournament. I came up on Jay. The nigga literally got me through middle school, high school, college, and the military. I've been listening to Jay to keep me from spazzing out on people & whooping somebody's ass when I'm heated. Every time I think I understand a Jay lyric or verse, I read his book and get dumbfounded because I didn't know it could mean THAT. Hov was in my psychology book in college for his lyrics and his use of the English language with entendres, alliteration, soliloquies, and a whole bunch of other uses with poetry. Even now with MCHG niggas think his lyrics have fell off, not to me. If you read what the Magna Carta was and apply it to Jay's life you're just going to sit there like, "yo this nigga is smart." He turned an Era into an album off of his life. With the tracks on there its so much depth to his lyrics like on "Oceans" he's talking about the withering of our race as blacks because of "Yacub" (which he stated on that Nigga we made it track), niggas not realizing he's STILL dropping 5%er lyrics (now known as the Nation of God's & Earth's) but people not paying attention to the meanings of his songs. I hear a Jay's verse and I just know I'm not going to understand it all the way. I love Big Ready to Die was my favorite shit to smoke too but Jay on a different plateua now. At the time Big was better but now? Hell no.

The Niftian:  I'm not a big fan of Big, pun intended. However, that doesn't mean I don't like his work. Hell, I get crazy hype whenever "Notorious Thugs" comes on, but I only listen to Biggie's part. After that, I tune out. The man was a lyrical mastermind, and that was considerable given his size. People like Biggie and Pun put it down for big dudes and let you know that even though he black and ugly as ever, he couldn't be denied. I only ever fucked with cocaine as a police officer but that didn't stop me from blasting the "Ten Crack Commandments" and knowing every single one by heart. But...yes, there is a but...his impact isn't as sincere as Jay-Z's on the genre, in my opinion. I honestly feel that had he not been killed, he'd be floating in the wind right now. That's Diddy's recipe for success: use 'em and lose 'em, and I don't think he'd be as relevant today. Jay-Z, on the other hand, has a proven track record with multiple albums. His finger is on the pulse of the genre and he is widely respected from coast to coast. Who do you know that can sign their number one enemy to a record deal under them and then drop the label? Jay Z is not only a smooth lyricist, but he's a crazy businessman in the culture. Notice I said "in the culture." I'm leaving out the 40/40 club and the alcohol endoresements and allodat because it's irrelevant. He's a beast in the culture. Hell, he's Hova the God. He may not have been the lyrical tough guy that Biggie was, whupping ass on record, but really, there was no need to even talk about it. He stayed in his lane, for the most part, and took over a whole genre. My verdict is still out as to whether Jay writes his rhymes or not, but if that IS true? Whew...beast. Classic bars and classic lines...even if most of them are stolen just to big up his brother and big up his borough.

Winner: Jay-Z

stayfly: PUN - i hate to sacrifice ghost..but latins going platinum was destined to come. first time i had an emcee i "looked like" and could relate too. i loved having peoples asking me what he was saying in spanish. even if i stuttered i would still shshshshit on you.

TwonJonson: DeadInTheMiddleOfLittleItalyLittleDidWeKnowThatWeRiddleToMiddleMenWhoDidn'tDoDiddly. Yeah that line alone did it for me. Ghostface will always be one of my favorite rappers but what Pun was puttin out during his short lived reign was nothing short of brilliance. 

Irish Ninja: Big Pun vs. Ghostface - Yo, this one is a little harder for me to decide than I thought. Looking at the tale of the tape while Pun was above ground, Both these cats had crazy metaphors, they both were somewhat underdogs of their crews at the beginning(Pun being a bodyguard and Ghost being the faceless member of the crew). On one hand, I don't know too many people that thought that Ghost was gonna be the heavyweight of the crew, people just assumed it'd be Method. On the other hand, Pun's  3 albums were solo, where Ghost had two were collabs (Ironman, Bulletproof Wallets) But looking at the albums that came out between these two until 2001. Ghostface was stronger, and he wasn't even in his prime yet. Ghostface = victorious.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: Face/Pun- I remember listening to Pun because of my Pops. I can't remember too much of his lyrics now but I know I'm rocking with pun because I fucked with his hooks so heavy while I didn't know a lick of what it was he was saying. I like Face a lot and his Slick Rick style so this is a hard one for me because once I saw the similarities Ghost face was my nigga. I gotta go with Pun.

The Niftian:  Ghost and Pun. Man, Pun was a beast and that Deep Cover line Twon wrote gets me crazy every time...but I don't see him as being as full of range as Ghost. Man, Ghost is a master storytell, funny as hell and his flow is so different from what anyone else spits. Pun has spawned a generation of clones, but who can spit like Ghost? My only beef with Ghost is that his albums aren't consistent and some of his best works come with features, as opposed to him shining completely on his own. But, I vote for the Tony Starks.

Winner: Big Pun