I got this thought from a previous post where I mentioned Joe Budden, and more recently from @SittinKourtSide who suggested that several of Lil Wayne projects were better than any one of Jay’s. Now I’m not going to argue one way or another here but these two things I simply wanted to highlight. One where Joe Budden as a rapper isn’t one of the best, and two, Lil Wayne being better than Jay-Z.

I figure it all comes down to our ears. We just hear and absorb different shit for different reasons. I’m gonna say most men who listen to rap give lyrics and certain styles (i.e. flow) a preference, while most women give preference to beats. If I’m lying then take it up with the homie Nipsey.

Then there are those who fall in and out of that. Age also plays a significant part too because certain generations prefer one thing over another. For instance, you see this with the style of music being made and popularize today versus 10 or 20 years ago.

I say all this because it’s hard trying to reach some consensus when you factor in all these things. Saying Wayne’s Carter 2, No Ceilings and Drought 3 are better than any one of Jay’s projects would seem impossible to debate when your age range is at a certain point or you give preference to one brand of rap over another. Same thing with the Joe Budden not being one of the best from his era. To you, what does the best even mean? What does better really mean? The criteria ain’t the same, which is why I tweeted this:

SHUN’S LAB on Twitter

As far as #hiphop goes, what is your criteria for being the goat, or one of them? In basketball, we (at least I do) look at Jordan as the great and for various reasons. The most important being skill level. Everything else is just condiments (awards, sales, cultural impact).

I’m not saying my criteria is perfect or even fair, but it’s a baseline giving something to go off. @TOP5RAPWEBSITE mentioned multiple styles, sound quality, raw lyrical ability, discography, peer comparison (?), and beef’s won or loss (if any) as criteria for who’s the best or one of them in this case. I’m sure there’s more to add but even those things listed are subjective. Those are his standards which differ from mine even though I’d consider some of them reasonable standards. But it’s still one man’s trash is another’s treasure type of stuff, if that makes sense.

It’s why I find debating, especially online, a game that no one really wins if everyone who plays is operating under different rules. I imagine there are rap fans who hold sales and charting as a gold standard. Those metrics have some value but it’s not something I’d hold high regards to.

But like I said in the tweet, I acknowledge sales, awards and cultural impact (think Nipsey). Those things are supplements to overall skill though. Right next to skill is content to me. What the fook are you talking about? Does it go over my head or is it something so easy that a caveman could do it? Even the most skillful rappers, with all the sales, awards and so forth win people over and by saying a lot about nothing.

Maybe we’re just hearing something different. To each his and her own as they say.

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