Although almost certainly fabricated, and surely not actually going to happen, the entire rap world is taken aback with rumours that Eminem is about to diss Drake. Eminem of course, undeniably one of the game’s legends, forever one of the most important musicians of all time, maybe not in his prime, but obviously not one to question. Drake however, is the biggest rapper in the world right now, in his prime and at the top of his game. Kanye and Kendrick have both come, dropped LPs, and while not invisible, Drake is undoubtedly still the man of the hour.
A short while back, before the release of VIEWS, I called Drake the biggest rapper in the game, and since then I’d still stick by that statement. Eminem however, we haven’t really heard of since 2013’s mediocre Marshall Mathers LP2, besides a compilation and a soundtrack, but who really cares about them. That’s why this potential beef really does make sense for both parties, despite the probable inaccuracy of the reports.
Let’s start with Eminem, whose last glimmers of real excellence were found on Rap God and Bezerk. You could even go as far back as 2010’s No Love, when Em made Lil Wayne look meaningless, despite the Young Money frontman bringing one of his best guest spots in years. Since the aforementioned, Slim Shady has been keeping sharp with some guest verses, uninspiring and forgettable ones at that. Busta Rhymes’ never-ending Calm Down, the horrible Come Let Me Ride and My Life from Skylar Grey and 50 Cent respectively, and perhaps most notably, a remix of The Weeknd’s The Hills, of which Nicki Minaj out shined him on her own interpretation.
In 2016, Eminem undoubtedly has less of a foothold and a commanding presence than the likes of Drake do. The game has changed quickly and dramatically and if Em wants to remind the world what he’s capable of, it means taking out the man at the top of the tower.
In contrast to a fairly meagre Eminem, it’s hard to say when Drake began his relentless and unstoppable rise to the top. Although the initial seeds were certainly placed with 2011’s Take Care, Drizzy kicked things up a notch with 2013’s Nothing Was The Same. On the well-received LP, international mega-hits Started From The Bottom and Just Hold On We’re Coming Home sat alongside club-ready bumpers like Worst Behaviour. A few years later, something of a void opened up within rap, one that Drake filled, and hasn’t left since. 2015’s If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late propelled Drake to the top of the pile, fighting off hype from anyone that dared cross him, stealing some of the limelight from Future with a collaborative mixtape, and affectively wiping Meek Mill off the face of the planet.
And that’s also where the pair differ, we’ve seen Eminem come and go, we’ve seen him astound and then vanish, we’ve seen him disappear into prescription drug-induced hell, and then return on many occasions with ‘come back’ projects. Drake has been rising and rising since 2009’s So Far Gone, with no sign of slowing down, and now at the top, it’s going to take one hell of an artist to change that. Maybe Eminem is the only one capable.