For as long as I can remember I’ve had two main loves when it comes to entertainment: Rap Music and NFL Football. Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of debating my friends and even random assholes at the bar comparing sports figures with their counterpart in hip-hop. It started in my teens on late drunken nights with friends long after the girls had left the spot and the sausage party started. More recently, Facebook posts have turned into all night Troll-Fests with everyone having an opinion on who is who. It usually happens with basketball. “So and So is the Jordan of hip-hop, bro…” I am going to break down some Rap vs. NFL comparisons to stir the pot. For the sake of this blog, I am not going to have any particular formula on style or accomplishments being the deciding factor for the matchup. I’m going to go with my gut feeling. But I will support it with my reasoning based on stats, circumstances, playing style, rapping style ect. You won’t agree with them all. You shouldn’t. Everyone has their own opinion on what they like and who is the greatest at whatever...I’m just going to drop two at a time and watch the comments!
JAY-Z = TOM BRADY
Well let’s start this shit off with a Bang!
Tom Brady has been on top of the NFL for well over a decade. The Patriots have had an unmatched level of sustained success in the modern era, and they are the reigning Super Bowl Champions after the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history. At 39, Brady looks to be only getting better with age. He has won 5 Super Bowls, gone undefeated through the regular season, and lost in the Super Bowl twice. It’s tough to argue that Tom Brady isn’t the best Quarterback of All-Time. He very well may be the Greatest player Of All Time, period. GOAT.
Jay-Z has been the most commercially successful and culturally influential rapper over the longest span in the history of the hip-hop genre. He dropped his first album in 1996, and just lit the world up last week with 4:44 in 2017. That’s 21 years. He has 3 undebatable classic albums in Reasonable Doubt, the Blueprint, and the Black Album. Every album Jigga has dropped has gone Platinum. His newest release 4:44 may very well be the greatest comeback album in hip-hop history at the age of 47. Jay-Z’s consistency, star-power, career success, longevity, and catalog make it a tough argument that he is not the most accomplished and best rapper of all time.
Plus they both have Super-Model caliber wives.
Eminem = Michael Vick
At one time, Michael Vick was the most exciting player to strap on a helmet every Sunday. He burst onto the scene as a phenom in 2001 with an electric style and a speed nobody had ever seen at the quarterback position. Michael Vick had single plays and entire games that will go down in historical highlight films that will never be matched. But his hype and skill level didn’t always add up to his production. He had 169 total passing and rushing TD’s in his 15 year career. He also had 186 interceptions and fumbles. Michael Vick missed two seasons in his prime sitting in prison for dog fighting. When he came back with the Eagles he had a very solid season, but he was never the same player as before. To this day people still marvel at his raw talent and spectacular plays, and sometimes that in itself causes people to overlook his glaring inconsistency and tendency to turn over the football. But when he was on, he was the most exciting person to watch in the league.
Eminem is widely considered one of the most talented rappers of all time. He exploded on the world in 1999 with the Slim Shady LP. His technical skill and unmatched wordplay helped him to become the best selling artist worldwide in the early 2000’s. He has amassed a ton of commercial success and sales and has a fanbase that may be unrivaled in pure numbers by any rapper before or since. His first two albums were arguably classics. Eminem went on hiatus after touring in 2005 and didn’t release another record until 2009’s Recovery. All of his albums have been commercially successful, but Eminem was not the same after his return and has a large amount of filler and bullshit on his more recent records. Personally, I don’t think any of his records are great after the first two, but because of his skill and entertainment value people tend to look over those “fumbles” and concentrate on his undeniable raw talent. In my opinion he is much like Vick in the aspect that he is still one of the most awe-inspiring folks in the game when his is on, but his consistency is awful and people tend to look past that because of his skill and talent.
RAKIM = Jim Brown
Jim Brown is arguably the best all-around football player in the history of the sport. His combination of speed and power was unlike anything that had ever been seen on the gridiron up until that time. When Jim Brown retired after 9 seasons he was the NFL’s all-time leading rusher at age 30 and the first player to reach 100 career touchdowns. Had Jim Brown come along later in the more developed years of football and television, it would be very hard not to call him the best of all time. Still today, his highlights make him look like a man amongst boys on the field. His violent collisions because he refused to go out of bounds and his slashing but smooth running style are his signature. He played with a tiny facemask. Brown will be remembered as a rugged pioneer of the modern game and an outspoken and unyielding leader on social issues of the time. He is still referred to as the gold standard for a running back.
RAKIM is unanimously heralded as one of the pioneers of the modern rap sound. His style bridged the gap between the predictable rhyme schemes of the 80’s and a more lyrical multi-syllabic style going forward. When it was cool to have a high energy Run-Dmc type flow, RAKIM hit with a steady pounding intricate rhyme scheme that is still heard in rap today. RAKIM’s album “Paid In Full” with Eric B. is one of the greatest albums of all time in the genre and widely considered a classic and something every aspiring rapper should study. RAKIM is the Jim Brown of rap because his style transcends eras and his skills would allow him to be a beast on the mic at any point. He was rugged. He was calculated. He was sincere. And he carved a path that many have tried to follow since. Calling him the best of all time is not a stretch for an argument.