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-oncé 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

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