Reality Check: Why Drake Could Never Top Eminem

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Historically, the music business has been built on a great deal of ego-driven power struggles. For the most part, we don’t hear about these conflicts until the participating parties come out with the story years on (see: David Geffen vs anyone who pissed off David Geffen). When it comes to generating headlines, however, there is nothing like a public, world-class feud between two rap artists.

These disputes can become incredibly contentious and are often settled publicly one way or another. One of the most notorious spats occurred after Ice Cube parted ways with N.W.A over a dispute with the group’s leader Eazy-E and their manager Jerry Heller. This led the group to release a diss track riddled targeted at their former member. Ice Cube responded in kind with a four minute beatdown titled “No Vaseline” where he raps:

“Yella Boy’s on your team, so you’re losing/Ay yo, Dre, stick to producing/Calling me Arnold, but you Benedict/Eazy-E saw your ass and went in it quick/You got jealous when I got my own company/But I’m a man, and ain’t nobody humping me.”

These public displays of attrition can have career-defining implications due to the scorched earth policy the goes along with them. When the right players are involved, the stakes couldn’t be higher.

Last week the rap rumor mill almost churned out what could have been the next great rap battle starring Drake and Eminem. Hot 97 Radio host Ebro Darden rescinded a comment he made that alluded to a potential beef between Em and Drake claiming, “It was such a joke and people ran with it… Slow news day.” Neither rapper has made a public statement about the rumors, but that certainly didn’t stop Twitter from having a complete field day with what could have been one of the ultimate smack downs in recent memory.


The beef between Meek Mill and Drake created a great deal of buzz after the Philly MC claimed that Drake uses a ghostwriter for his music. This resulted in both exchanging a number of diss tracks, though Drake responded strong with “Back To Back” where he ribbed Meek for going on tour opening for his girlfriend, Nikki Minaj (“Is that a world tour or your girl’s tour?”). He even managed to snack a Grammy nod for the track! His latest album, Views from the 6 is already one of the most successful records of 2016 and has shattered Billboard records with its single “One Dance.” It’s reasonable to say that Drake weathered the ghost writer feud with Meek Mill fairly well overall, though people certainly haven’t forgotten about it.

That being said: There’s no question that Eminem would absolutely eviscerate Drake in a straight up rap battle. Why do you think he earned the title of “Rap God”? There’s literally made an entire movie about why it’s a really, really bad idea to challenge Marshall Mathers!

Eminem became who he is by slaying lesser MCs in these freestyle rap battles during one of the hardest hitting eras of the genre. Shady’s aggressive attitude, straight-up raw power and creativity behind the mic is unmatched. He’s able to spit so fast with such ferocity that his opponents appear to literally wither where they stand. It’s sheer devastation. Drake is part of a different generation of rap and could never hope to hold his own against Eminem onstage. This dominance extends beyond their talent as performers as well.

Eminem became a rap icon and was the first white rap icon to achieve both critical and commercial success since The Beastie Boys. The Marshall Mathers LP is a certified diamond record and, after selling 1.76 million copies in one week, became the fastest-selling album by a solo artist in music history. Shady held the record for 15 years before being unseated by Adele’s 25. He has won more Grammys than I can count and ranks in the RIAA’s Top 20 for album and single certifications. Eminem is simply one of the most commercially dominant artists of all-time, and continues to be a force in the genre to this day.

Tupac Shakur once said, “I think I’m a natural-born leader. I know how to bow down to authority if it’s authority I respect.” Eminem is absolutely an authority to respect both as a rapper and as an artist. He was the first white rappers to collaborate with both West and East Coast artists, a feat that has has yielded incredible music while establishing his place in the pantheon of legendary rappers. When it comes to who would win the battle of Shady vs Drizzy, there really is no debate. Eminem is one of the ultimate authorities in the genre and his accomplishments demand respect. 

Featured image via DoD News

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