The 2000s seem like nearly yesterday. Really. It doesn’t feel like 12 years ago we were rapping along to Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady” and Jay Z‘s “This Can’t Be Life.” We’re back with another Bracket Madness for the greatest artist of the 2000s. While NSYNC and Backstreet Boys go toe-to-toe on the boy band front, and Beyonce and Britney Spears face-off for their pop singing match, Eminem and Jay-Z will battle in a street corner cipher (obviously not literally, although this would be awesome) for votes to send one of these rhyme slayers to round two.
Both Eminem and Jay-Z are heralded as two of rap’s greats. Any hip-hop list of greatest emcees of all time isn’t worth its ink if Jay and Em aren’t in the top 10. In the 2000s the Detroit native released five albums between 2000-2010 including the highly successful The Marshall Mathers LP, which sold 1.76 million in its first week alone. Em’s prowess didn’t stop there. This is the same guy that brought us “The Real Slim Shady,” “The Way I Am,” “Just Lose It,” “Like Toy Soldiers” and a slew of other hits during the 2000 era. Em’s authenticity of just being himself, a guy that grew up poor in Detroit, has produced some of the most authentic and lyrical content in hip-hop.
Then there’s Jay-Z. Widely considered one of the greatest emcees of all time, Jay released seven studio albums, all chart topping No. 1s from 2000-2009. Jay’s hit songs, too numerous to name, spoke globally to everyone that understood what it was like to make it from nothing to something. “Girls, Girls, Girls” resonated with the players, “’03 Bonnie & Clyde” was for the women and men looking for their partner in crime and “Dirt Off Your Shoulder” was an ode to feeling good about yourself. Jay’s influence in hip-hop is undeniable.
Whether it’s Em’s witty punchlines mixed with transparency, or Jay’s skill in carefully piecing the right words together coupled with his ability to resonate authentically with the masses, both of these rappers are great contenders for the Greatest Artist of the 2000s. Voting ends Wednesday, August 29 at 11AM, so be sure to vote and check in daily to see who’s in the lead.