Recently hip hop mega star Eminem revealed a piece of interesting news. He revealed that he almost made a diss record going at Lil Wayne and Kanye West. Frustrated with the popularity of his colleagues and feeling somewhat depressed about himself was the motivation to what almost became the most interesting attack in recent hip hop memory. After doing some soul searching and discovering the problem was with himself as a person, Eminem decided not to take that action. And that was a good look because artists who recognize problems within themselves and directly address those problems have a sense of self preservation and maturity. Props to Eminem for that.
But what if the battle did go down? What if Eminem decided to go bonkers and straight blasted Weezy and Kanye on his version of the last fight scene in Scarface? What would’ve happened? Would we be looking at Weezy, Kanye, and Eminem playing the ghetto version of Fight Club, smacking each other with relentless jaw-cracking verses?
This is my opinion of what might’ve happened if such a battle occurred.
First, Eminem would’ve attacked Kanye and Lil Wayne at the heights of their careers so let’s clarify that moment in time. Kanye had just dispatched with 50 Cent ala Graduation and was pushing almost a million in first week sales of that album. Lil Wayne dropped The Carter 3 a few months later and actually did sell over one million the first week.
Let’s say that Eminem attacked Kanye West…
Eminem’s attack probably would’ve been in the same method he’s used to attack other artists. It would’ve been tongue-in-cheek and would’ve probably been in the same vein as his Benzino, Mariah Carey, and Insane Clown Posse attacks; Nothing like Jay Z versus Nas, yet playful and able to get under your skin. Now if Kanye responded, the ish would’ve hit the fan. Eminem would’ve unleased lyrical fury. But that first attack would’ve been typical.
Kanye’s attack in response to Eminem would’ve been…Well…Nothing. He wouldn’t have attacked Eminem. Contrary to popular belief, Kanye is one of the smartest people in hip hop. To go at Eminem would’ve directly gone at part of his fan base. Kanye West is probably the only hip hop artist in history that hasn’t openly responded to beef. He’s been called homosexual, a skirt wearing rapper, and the tight jeans creator, and yet he still doesn’t respond. While most rappers who choose not to respond to beef might get called out for it (what up Drake), Kanye West has been mostly given a pass for two reasons:
1. He’s mostly a producer/rapper and is not considered to be a “True Lyricist”
2. Kanye West has intentionally shielded himself from hardcore attacks by working with rappers that actually ARE considered to be lyricists (Wu Tang, Jay Z, Nas, Rakim). None of those rappers would’ve gone at Kanye because Kanye had the best beats and that diamond exposure in the industry. During Graduation Kanye’s popularity was pre-Taylor Swift fire! Kanye placated those lyricists. That’s pretty smart. Even in his so-called sales battle with 50 Cent he was appearing with 50 on 106 And Park and actually gave 50 props on the competing album when he dropped the following verse, “50 told me go head and switch the style up and if they hate then let them hate and watch the money pile up”.
And let’s say that Eminem decided to attack Lil Wayne…
Eminem would’ve attacked Lil Wayne much more viciously and lyrically because at the time, Lil Wayne was killing tracks. Weezy was absolute lyrical fire during that time and if Eminem came out against that dude, he would’ve had to drop serious verbal calamity. Eminem probably would’ve gone at every questionable thing about Weezy; his appearance, kissing Baby Williams on the lips (his unofficial father)… Everything. It would’ve been ugly, ugly, ugly.
And make no mistake about it, Weezy would’ve dropped a big ball of fire right in the center of Eminem’s living room. Lil Wayne would’ve gone at his house, his dog and cat, his moms, his crew, his Dr. Dre affiliation… Weezy would’ve attempted to permanently revoke Eminem’s “ghetto pass” in this battle.
But what would’ve been the end result of this battle? What would’ve happened to Eminem, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne in the public arena?
Eminem: His status as a rap superstar would’ve been cemented in popular music, but with Black fans he would’ve been tarnished. Kanye and Lil Wayne were big stars in those communities and no matter the outcome, Eminem would’ve attempted to attack them for no reason and the Black Community would’ve held him accountable for that. He would still sell millions of records but he would’ve relegated himself to “Elvis Status”. He would’ve been perceived as someone that didn’t have real respect for the culture of hip hop and only sought to profit off of it in the same way that some perceive Elvis to have stolen his form of music from Black artists and used it to his advantage. People forget that there is a reason Eminem needed a street-anchor like Dr. Dre. If he didn’t have him, he may have been considered a step above Vanilla Ice. Not in the verbal skills department, but in the exploitation department. Eminem would’ve lost big time with Black America and his “hip hop” credentials would’ve been burnt to a crisp.
Kanye West: He would’ve been somewhat damaged but would’ve made a comeback through production and other means. He would have to work hard to get back those fans that sided with Eminem because like it or not, Eminem and Kanye share the same fan base. Their fans are part hip hop, part pop music.
Lil Wayne: It’s more difficult to say. If he won the battle with Eminem he could become ostracized by many fans of pop music. Eminem fans are diehard and believe the man can do no wrong. For someone to step on his neck and win a battle, would make those fans majorly angry. It’s hard to say if Weezy could recover. After all, he doesn’t have skill as a record producer in the way that Kanye does and he couldn’t peel off other artists’ fans in that manner. A lot of people would probably stay away from Weezy because of those Eminem fans. But in the hip hop community and in Black America Weezy would be considered a hero. Here was a dude that took it to a pop star and won! Weezy would be pure gold in the Black community and although his career wouldn’t be on Carter 3 status afterwards, he could still make a comfortable living.
Now if Weezy lost, it would’ve crushed him and Young Money. Drake wouldn’t have signed. Forget about Nicki, she’s not coming over to a losing team. It could’ve gotten so bad that Wayne’s career could’ve been ended. If Eminem verbally bodied Weezy on the right track, it would’ve been lights-out for that whole team.
Props to Eminem for having the vision and the forethought not to engage in this battle. Hip Hop battles are mostly about “My skills are doper than yours” and that’s keeping in tradition with the culture. This would’ve been a battle in keeping with that tradition. No doubt. But when you hate yourself and you have demons within your heart that you don’t come to terms with, you end up looking like 50 Cent; hating the world and nobody having love for you. Contrary to popular believe, love wins more wars than hate does. This battle would’ve been so corrosive to all 3 people involved that none of them would’ve really survived unscathed. The mafia rule is “War is bad for business”, and in hip hop sometimes that rule applies as well.
Eminem deserves a great amount of credit for loving himself and hip hop as a whole more than wanting to hate. That is the mark of a real MC and someone that respects the culture. And that is the reason Eminem will go down in history as one of the best to ever do it. The dude respects the culture.