Irv Gotti Eats From the Tree of Knowledge

Even though he ran out of Bad Boy records to sample from the 90s, dude successfully nails why Jay-Z > Eminem 

Black Album > anything Eminem has done post-Marhsall Mathers LP

Hell, Blueprint 2 > anything Eminem has done post-Marshall Mathers LP

American Gangster soundtrack > Relapse

I think the problem with Jay was that he became the Shaq of hip hop: so utterly unstoppable for so long, people took him for granted. From ’99-’04 Shaq was the most physically dominant basketball player I’ve ever seen. 

His reward?

1 stinkin’ MVP award for his career.

I remember during Shaq’s heyday, the Sixers trotted out Theo Ratliff at center.  If he scored 18 points and grabbed 9 rebounds, people were jumping out of their chairs!  That’s a line Shaq would put up in 7 minutes against the Clippers.

Eminem was literally Steve Nash–white boy done good who gets overacclaimed for a short burst of greatness.  Yes, the Suns were fun and fast-paced.  Yes, Nash was the leader of a team winning 60 games and nearly making the Finals.  But the fact that Steve Nash won an MVP award scoring 16ppg is absurd.  And the fact that he has more MVP’s for a career than Big Cactus is asinine.

Bottom line is that Eminem’s catalogue, influence, and dominance in hip hop is akin to those 2 years when the Suns were the hottest ticket in the NBA: definitely memorable, but should never be placed over the clear cut dominant players who did it year in and year out.

My overall issue is this:  Why is it uncool now to just pronounce Jay the King?  What HASN’T he done?  Bar for bar, song for song, who touches him over the span of a career as long as his?  It’s not the guy who at 35 years old just dropped an album about getting raped by his stepfather and namedropping Jessica Alba, Sarah Palin, and Tony Romo, I don’t care how dope his verse in “Renegades” was.



  1. Irv Gotti’s actual argument (the shit about the battles, at least) is preposterous, though. Detroit is fucking HARD. Certainly harder than Yonkers and probably harder than Brooklyn too, so this whole “they’d pull a gun on you, so you gotta have writtens” shit is just retarded.

    Also, what does age have to do with someone’s content? Mel Brooks is a very old man and he still writes stuff that has poo and pee jokes in it, for kids. This only seems to be an issue in music and, more specifically, in rap. Rappers and rap music fans haven’t learned how to enjoy aging yet. I saw a few reviews mention the same thing–I can’t listen to a grown ass man rap about getting raped by his uncle–and I just found the argument to be completely hollow. Sacha Baron Cohen is 38! Let’s leave it at that.

  2. Lukas:

    I agree that Irv’s basis for #1 (battling and lead singles) is ridiculous. I just liked the idea of outrage over Eminem being picked over Jay, and the fact that Em has made some worthless singles but never gets called out for it, is fine by me!

    RE: aging in hip hop. You’re totally on point. I’m just personally uncomfortable with Eminem NOT quite acting his age on the new album. The same schtick from ’99 doesn’t fly with me at least anymore . I wanna hear him talk about new stuff cause he’s an outstanding technical writer and MC (see “Rock Bottom,” “Stan”, etc). It’s not like his career is based exclusively on an outsized rock-n-roll persona like Gene Simmons on something.

  3. lol@your last paragraph. truth.

    i agree with Lukas that the specifics of Gotti’s argument aren’t all that, but the broader point that he kinda alludes to — Eminem never completely transcending his gimmick(s) — is pretty on-point. and i don’t think it’s so much about him not acting his age as that he’s basically working with a dumbed-down, more forced template of his old shtick. truthfully his old stuff probably gets a little too much credit for being “satirical,” “ironic,” whatever too, but the actual delivery was aeons better.

    i remember saying this over at Passion a while back, and probably on some other of my overlong tangents, but i stand by “BP2” as maybe Jay’s most underrated album. i mean there’s no real concept like “BP” and “The Black Album,” but the album in general sounds great, even if “The Curse” isn’t as good. and it was the last album before he kinda started to fall into the breathier flow that i don’t think hurt “The Black Album” that much, but has become a more obvious detriment to his rapping since then. but yeah. “BP2” gets shortchanged in the double rap album world. i rank it with “Life After Death” among my favorites, and give me it over “AEOM” or “Street’s Disciple” anyday.

    back on topic, am i the only one who thinks that Eminem can’t rap anymore, period, no buts? pretty much every negative review i’ve read has taken pains to stress that technically he’s still got it, but i’m not hearing it. sure, he can rhyme, but his current flow is garbage. even if they released a “Relapse: No Dumbass Accents Edition” i doubt his flow would sound any less choppy.


    • Trey:

      I revisited BP2 last month–it’s really great. If you add 3-4 cuts from The Cure to the The Gift, you have a top 10 rap album of this decade and something that rivals Black Album in terms of great east coast big willie rap. You do hear the emergence of the Philly flow, which Jay swiped wholesale from Young Chris, in terms of the whisper flow and the up-and-down cadences that are commonplace in just about every rapper today. And is it safe to safe that MOP on “U Don’t Know” remix bogart their way into top 5 most fitting guest appearance ever??!? Dump FIIYAH!!!!

      I think Em can still rap, he’s just lost with concepts. I read an interview with him where Dre or somebody told him when it came time to make the new album, “just do that wild shit people want to hear from you”. That became the obituary for Relapse. Other people have said it way better–Eminem is entertaining and great when he’s funny. He’s just not funny anymore. Thanks for the comments, bro.

  4. I think Blueprint 2.1 proves that you can’t save the Blueprint 2 from being anything but mediocre.

  5. c’mon now, anyone who likes the first “BP” has to be able to find something to like about “BP2.” i mean even if you don’t like the synth jams (which are mostly great) there’s still “The Watcher 2,” “All Around the World,” “Poppin’ Tags,” “Some How Some Way,” “Some People Hate,” etc., etc…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s