Sean Daley v. Marshall Mathers: Who’s the grandest cracker of them all?

18 11 2009


In the musical justice system, the people and the musicians are represented by two separate, yet equally important groups — The District Attorneys who investigate the crime, and the defense who claims it’s all a bunch of bullshit. These are their stories.

Judge: Docket Zero-Two is in order, Sean Daley aka Slug of Atmosphere vs. Marshall Mathers aka Eminem to answer the dispute of which one is the grandest cracker of them all. Counselors, because this is a civil suit, we are just going to have a good old fashioned debate, with minimal interruption. Counselor Scootsie Finkerton, you may begin.

Scootsie Finkerton: Thank you, your honor. Ever since The Slim Shady LP was brought forth into the world there has been little doubt as to who is the greatest white rapper of all-time. Eminem was the answer, now and forever. And truthfully, who could say otherwise? His competition consisted of a Surreal World cast member (Vanilla Ice), Jewish New Yorkers (The Beastie Boys), several underground emcees nobody in real life has ever heard of, Everlast, Bubba Sparxx, need I continue? Eminem was declared the king without so much as a whimper.

But upon further review, not only should this claim be contested, it turns out to be false. The crown of cracker rapping should rest on the head of my client, Slug, who not only is the greatest melanin-deficient rapper ever, but one of the 10 most influential hip-hop artists of all-time. All-time. Yes I said it, this guy:

From Overcast! to When Life Gives You Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold, Slug has given more to hip-hop than Marshall Mathers, and it’s time he be rewarded as such.

Ronald McClownShoes [Ed’s note: played by the esteemed Joshua Mosley]: Your honor and esteemed members of the hip hop jury: I am here to tell you that hip-hop is a niche industry. Simply put, if you find your niche, you’ll move along in the industry. Busta Rhymes had that rapid-fire flow that captivated B-boys and emcees alike. Run DMC had the Addidas. Biggie had his gut. I’d list them all but that would leave us running short on time.

The white rapper also falls into this category and if there is any one entity that got the ball rolling for Honky-Hop, it is the boys. More specifically, the Beastie Boys. But with all the flow that those Menshes had, they had a twinge of rock in there. I dig the Beasties but I don’t qualify it as pure hip-hop.

Then there was the canker sore that was Vanilla Ice, who rose to fame by trying to claim that there was no similarity between his hit “Ice Ice Baby” and the classic Queen/Bowie cut “Under Pressure.”  Right, Ice. Helen Keller could have heard that one. My opponent brought up Everlast, Bubba and other names but to me the Grand Pubah of the white rap game is about as clear cut as an R. Kelly pee-pee video.

My case today is to go to bat for one Marshall Mathers, also known as Eminem, also known as Slim Shady. While my opponent has listed the accolades of Mr. Slug, and believe me Slug brings HOT HOT fire with his torch, facts are facts. Any pub or credibility that Slug has garnered this century has come off the doors that Marshall Mathers opened.

Mathers’ albums were a part of the soundtrack of my adolescents, showing me for the first time just how fucking crazy white people can be. At the same time, his lyrics had meaning and, in the event that his daughter Hailey Jade was a topic, he showed that he had heart.

Ultimately, my case will be built on the fact that Mathers is the clear cut choice in this argument for one reason: he opened doors. While Slug is accomplished in his own right, Mathers major label success at the beginning of the decade got Slug’s feet in the door. In fact, I got another nickname for Eminem: the Bellhop. Dude opened some SERIOUS doors.

SF: Opened doors? OPENED DOORS? Objection your honor! The fact of the matter is that Atmosphere’s first record, Overcast!, was released in 1998. Eminem’s first record: The Slim Shady LP, was released in? You guessed it: 1999. Eminem didn’t open shit for Slug and Atmosphere that he wasn’t opening on his own.

The fact is that both of these fellas are the exact same age (birthed in 1972) and started contributing to hip-hop at the exact same time independently of one another. Counselor’s initial argument should be null and void.

Instead of listening to inaccurate drivel, I suggest we look at the facts. Specifically, the discographies. Atmosphere’s first three albums were Overcast!, Lucy Ford and God Loves Ugly. Eminem put out The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show. As fantastic as Slug was on those first three albums, I’ll give the edge to Eminem. He was better. It’s a fact.

But one of these artists continued to get better and better while the other floundered to the point of sucktitude. When you compare their two most recent albums (Atmosphere: You Can’t Imagine How Much Fun We’re Having, When Life Gives you Lemons you Paint That Shit Gold vs. Eminem: Encore, Relapse) you not only come to the conclusion that Slug is superior to Eminem at this stage in his career, but also realize that Slug is far better than Eminem now than Eminem was better than Slug before.

Combine the fact that Atmosphere have released a host of quality EPs sprinkled in between their albums and have collaborated with Murs to form Felt, and the argument is nearly flawless.

RMcCS: I tried to be civil but now I guess, I’ll have to go with the SCOREBOARD argument, your honor. It’s right after the Chewbacca Defense in the Big Law Book of Life. Look it up.

My esteemed opponent raises some accurate points with his assessment of Mr. Slug in the court of life, we value results. And Mr. Mathers has them IN SPADES! Since debuting on a major label with The Slim Shady LP in 1999, homie light has racked up worldwide sales of 80 million records. 80 MILLION!!!! Can you even imagine what that looks like? Think about it. No don’t think about it. It’ll take too long. We’re on a schedule. Critically, his first drop was the best.

Commercially, he told Hammer to go fuck himself and decided to hurt them with The Marshall Mathers LP. The joint had singles such as the catchy “The Real Slim Shady” and the legitimately tough “The Way I Am”. Then he continued his lyrically homicidal assault on his baby mama with the succinctly “Kim”.

With the “fuck the world” attitude of Tupac and the lyrical ability of Big, and a pinch of aesthetic marketability, Eminem was the biggest name in the game at the beginning of the decade. He even got thrown in there with the Mt. Rushmore of hip-hop (Tupac, Jay-Z, Big) as one of the all time greats. And he hasn’t abused release deadlines like Jay did by dropping an album once a menstrual cycle.

His confrontational rapping style has worked in his favor. He took on haters and built anticipation for his albums with fans by making the public wonder “What will that crazy saltine say on this one?”

Has he slipped? That’s debatable. But the fact of the matter is that he is 10 years, nine Grammy’s and an Oscar into his career and he is STILL considered the Hottest MC in the Game. Not just of his race, of the HUMAN race! Try as you might Slug but Em has you by the short hairs. Which is strange because Slugs are typically challenged when it comes to follicles. That’s unlike my worthy opponent Scootsie, who has lovely golden locks 365 days a year.

Judge: Hold on, I’ve received some documentation that might be relevant in this case. It seems that Slug’s father was a man of half-Native American and half-black ethnic make-up. This would make Slug only half white, well past the American societal norms for what constitutes a person as non-white.

SF: Really???

RMcCS: Really???

Judge: Really. I have no choice but to side with counselor McClownShoes here and declare Eminem the greatest white rapper in the game.

HOWEVER, both sides should should take more than the verdict away form them. Arguing over who is the best in their respective racial categories, while entertaining as it might be, is utterly pointless. Racial boundaries are essentially a convoluted combination of social, ethnic and economic variables this day and age, especially in this fantastic country we call America.

Simply put, there is no black and white when it comes to black and white.

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