Constant attempts of Lord Jamar to annoy Eminem have been going long enough to become boring. However, they provoked an important discussion on what it means to be a GOAT in hip-hop.
Who decides who is the Greatest Of All Time and what does a person need to make it to this list? At last, someone has tried to make sense of this conversation and break it down. Page Kennedy even used the criteria proposed by Lord Jamar – and discovered that, according to Lord Jamar’s logic, Eminem is a GOAT.
1. Lyrical ability.
Even if someone doesn’t like Eminem’s music, they cannot deny his skills in this department. His technic is second to none and even Lord Jamar admits it.
2. Cultural impact
“It’s about what you are bringing to the culture,” – says Lord Jamar. Indeed, even without discussing the different culture Eminem came from, we can clearly see what changes he brought to hip-hop. There is a lot to talk about: his flows and features, his records, the new audience he drew to hip-hop, and his legacy. He became an inspiration for a new generation of rappers. J.Cole and Kendrick Lamarr name him as their inspiration and they are not alone in this.
To be a GOAT, a rapper has to have a classic album in his catalogue. Eminem has three to choose from. “The Slim Shady” and “The Eminem Show” are regarded as a classic by many critics and fans, and the public opinion about “The Marshall Mathers” is unified – it is classic, critically acclaimed and widely loved.
Commercial success cannot be the only reason to be a GOAT, states Lord Jamar. But can someone be a GOAT without it? As of last year, Eminem sold over 120 million certified units, which makes him the highest-selling solo rapper ever.
Eminem is a seasoned fighter. He has a reputation. “Eminem is the only rapper nobody wants the problem with. Including myself. Eminem is the most lyrically insane,” – says The Game, admitting that he would rather run if Eminem decided to come out at him. As did everyone whom Eminem dissed on his “Kamikaze”, except for MGK. But we all know where it took him.
6. Respect from peers
What Eminem has is respect from other great MCs. Every single one who has weight in hip-hop culture gives Eminem credit as being at the top of the game, even his enemies acknowledge that.
7. Street cred.
Street credibility means that the rapper has got through tough times and witnessed street life with his own eyes earning the right to tell stories. Eminem grew up in poverty in a trailer park, he did not come into hip-hop culture as a guest from rich white neighbourhood. Does it give him enough street cred? If Lord Jamar disagrees because he thinks that a rapper has to have a core base – AKA black people – as his fan base, well, it is his opinion. But all other criteria clearly point out: Eminem cannot be excluded from the GOAT conversation.
Watch the full breakdown from Page Kennedy