12 April 2014

Hip Hop March Madness: Championship

After weeks of pissin each other off because (insert favorite artist) didn't make it to the next round, we here at BITM have finally narrowed it down to two artists. Who knew Eminem would edge out Tupac? And Stacks over Nas? You all probably think we're wildin, and if so feel free to visit articles on previous rounds to share your thoughts versus our own analyses. But without further ado...


stayfly:  Honestly..I ain't even think we'd have this final match. I guess that's what March Madness is all about. But..at least we co-signed by the great Kendrick Lamar (from the feature verse of the year, "Control"): I heard the barbershops be in great debates all the time/ Bout who's the best MC? Kendrick, Jigga and Nas/ Eminem, Andre 3000, the rest of y'all/ New [dudes] just new [dudes], don't get involved." Here we go. 
Marshall's style is a unique addition to the gumbo that is the art of rapping. He will def go down as one of the greatest figures in the game. But I don't want to beat a dead horse with my comments..I just can't say he is the greatest emcee (from the 80s until now). As great as SOME of his albums were..I can't sit back and listen to every track. The MMLP was probably the album that I hit repeat on the most. The balance he found on the album was perfect. And that is where I feel he struggles. As much versatility as the kid has..he struggles with keeping himself in check. Which is why I will beat this dead horse: Em is consistently able to create great songs when paired with another great emcee. One emcee that has the versatility but is able to keep a strong balance is Andre Benjamin. It is kinda hard to put Stacks in this convo since his solo discography is just The Love Below (and you could argue this as a solo record). But the range he was able to find is amazing (made sure I ran through TLB before writing)..it has the essence of a hip hop album with an amalgamation of many influences from multiple genres. It is not just a country dude singing the hook (like Headlights for Em). Stacks successfully blends his style to fit each track like a music chameleon. Even though it isn't his more lyrical offering..it is the most creative and unique. But if it is lyrics you want..there is no better catalog than that of Outkast. And if you need to hear Stacks sans Big Boi..peep any of these features: Green Light, Throw Some D's remix, The Real Her, I Do, Lookin For Ya, Interlude, Party, Pink Matter, Sixteen, What a Job, Walk It Out remix, Royal Flush, 30 Something remix, Sorry, The Art of Storytellin Part 4, and International Players Anthem (I Choose You). His verses just keep getting better..and the diversity of the artists he works with and the themes he touches show he can flow like water through any track. And if we doing the rap battle thing..Stacks is probably the best equipped to take on Shady. There isn't any flow..or style (within and outside of hip hop constraints)..that Tres Stacks can't own. His longevity speaks volume..and his impact as 1/2 of the almighty Outkast put Andre 3000 over the top for me. TRES STACKS.

Ra'z Al Ghoul: I'm not going to beat a dead horse. It's nothing else to be said for me. 3 stacks get on tracks and destroy in which Angel named an arsenal of them. Em nice but like Angel said, he is at his best when on a track with another great artist. It's the Battle mentality Em has in him and probably just what we as Detroit natives do, we're better in competition. Outside of features and ciphers I don't really rock with too much of Shady. 3 Stacks got my vote.

TwonJonson: Yeah there really isnt too much more that needs to be said from me either. Both Em and Andre 3000 come wit off the wall wordplay but what sets Stacks a couple worlds beyond Eminem is his ability to be creative with his subject matter. This dude just never runs out of ideas man. He's even taken basic cliche situations and flipped them in ways you would never imagine a rapper doing it. And no matter how big his legendary status grows, he ALWAYS raps about shit that anyone can relate to, unlike EM. Andre 3000 is just the greatest rapper to me. The man was more than a decade ahead of his time, much like Hendrix, but the game still has yet to catch upto him though. ICE COLD for the crown.

The Niftian: We already know who I am voting for, and I know I am in the minority, but I am going to offer my rebuttal anyway. Andre 3000 is an amazing emcee, and his lyrics never fail to wow me. His content is pure and heartfelt, his subject matter is relateable, his delivery is flawless. He's truly a boss among bosses. However, his STYLE is what fails to give him the 'W' from my side of the camp, at least when compared to Eminem. I could never take anything from 3 Stacks, but when we talk about actual battling, Eminem would fly circles around Andre. Could Mr. Benjamin get in some great lines? Of course! But they wouldn't be enough for someone of Em's caliber. Slim Shady is damn near literally made for this type of shit, and no one has been able to dethrone him. To say that he does his best work when coupled alongside another artist is bullshit! Yes, you can look to songs like Renegade as an example, but one must know that Renegade wasn't even meant to be a Jay-Z song in the first place. What Em spit on that track was BEFORE S.Carter came into the picture. That's classic Eminem all day. The days of crazy ass, bubble gum Marshall Mathers are gone, and in that place has risen an artist more skilled, more polished, more daring, and more brash. Em has finally laid the stupid Ken Kaniff shit to the side and decided to demolish rap once again with sword, shield and microphone. He finally takes the craft seriously again, and it's not too little, too late because he is STILL a badass. His content makes more sense, and he has finally embraced the humanity that is Marshall. He doesn't get off on raping his grandmother or cutting his ex-wife anymore, but instead can knock you upside the head with lyrics that are actually realistic! Andre is a god emcee, yes, but he can't take on Eminem. And that's saying something, because no one I know in their right mind would push Andre to the side as a singular artist. The fact remains, however, that 3000 would be left out in the ice cold if he ever stepped to Detroit's Champion. EDGE: Eminem aka King Marshall

Irish Ninja: There can only be one. While this is a battle I would definitely pay to see, there is no way Em can take this now, not with the emcee he has become. I'm not hating on him for evolving as an artist, or whatever it is he did. But there is no way the current Em can take 3 Stacks. While technically Em can make a verse sound good with speed and cadences, Andre has a way of putting shit together that gets you hype and then when you decipher it later, you realize that the verse you thought was dope went deeper than you imagined. Real talk, if we were talking about Slim Shady that dropped that first EP or the first Marshall Mathers joint, I'd have gone with Em all day. As wild and crazy as his rhymes would have been, he'd have come with some off the wall shit that would have been perfect in a battle. The current state of Eminem would be battling an MC that hasn't changed steps since day one. Em would be coming at Andre like an attack dog, but 3000 would be responding like the dude that breaks and trains dogs. Classic example is the verse that 3 Stacks spit on the Walk It Out Remix. Andre shitted on all them cats to the same beat, but his shit was so hot it stayed on the track. There have been a fair number of cats that have taken shots at Eminem, whether the shots were subliminal or direct. I think there is a reason why you don't catch folk talking sideways about Mr. 3000, and that's why I think he shuts Mathers down for the win.


Andre Benjamin himself probably wouldn't even want the crown over the talent on this bracket. His humility, despite being heralded as a god in this game, is yet another feather in his cap that has allowed us here at BITM to place him atop rap's elite. The ultimate test is longevity, but no other artist in history has ever been able to do it the way Stacks has. He helped craft albums that were decades ahead of their time. So much so that the more the game catches up to him, the more they respect his nearly impeccable resume. While other artists struggle to remain relevant and typically fall off in 4 years, Andre 3000 has spent more than 10 years trying to escape the limelight and the label of being one of few that could save hip-hop,  all while consistently climbing fan's lists of all-time favorites without the help of any proper album (save for the Idlewild soundtrack). He is living proof that eccentricity and having a unique style coupled with the ability to seriously rap will stand the test of time when executed correctly. Andre has been blessed with the ability to accomplish this and more with little effort on his part. All of this plus the fact he has not dropped in album in years and is still considered (one of) the best in most people's eyes is what earned him the crown in our tournament.

Let us know your thoughts 
@BestInTheMix @TwonJonson


  1. Even Em would agree "It goes Reggie, Jay-Z, 2Pac and Biggie
    Andre from OutKast, Jada, Kurupt, Nas and then me"

  2. Finally keep in mind that in hip-hop you can never go to far wrong if your riff plays on the first beat of a bar, is quickly muted, and then picks up again from around the third beat. Seriously, this is a winning formula - try it out!
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