Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Eminem vs. Xzibit…Who You Got?

We have reached the second round in the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time). We are asking you to help us rank who is the greatest MC to pick up a mic. We will take over 35 years of Hip-Hop into consideration, pairing special match-ups in a “playoffs style.” Since Fall 2014, and for the next several months, we will roll out battles, starting with artists from similar eras paired against one another, until one undisputed King or Queen of the microphone reigns supreme.

Something incredible happened at the turn of the millennium. Whether Eminem and Xzibit were the chicken or the egg in this transition, Underground Hip-Hop went mainstream (and platinum) around year 2000. Label heads like Dr. Dre, J. Prince, and Suge Knight took an interest in the lyrical giants around them, and Mr. X-to-the-Z and Slim Shady became booming beneficiaries of big budgets, monster production, and epic albums built around their skills. Both Em and X became household names, and brought their earlier, independent works with them—along with a host of true school producers, guests, and friends. From the same Rap circles, and both Michigan natives, Eminem and Xzibit have lots in common—perhaps most of all, a ferocity in the studio booth and the ability to be serious and funny on the same song. Both deserving, who takes this battle for the title of the GOAT? (click on one to vote)

Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets




Eminem (First Round Bye)


Eminem may be the MC who single-handedly ended one of Hip-Hop’s laziest eras for lyrics upon his late 1990s arrival. Self-deprecating, impassioned, and wildly imaginative, Marshall Mathers came in through Rap’s screen door as an underground Hip-Hop MC running with The Outsidaz, DJ Spinna, and SKAM2?. However, it was Em’s three-ring battle performances and uncanny ability to freestyle top-quality verses that landed his tape on Dr. Dre’s desk. Once there, Slim Shady combined his hardcore Hip-Hop past with big budget videos, A-list guests, and masterful conceptual production to make him a diamond-selling icon that seemingly was the genre’s biggest superstar since 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G.

Eminem’s career touches upon all facets of Hip-Hop, from battling, to true school, to Gangsta Rap, and everything in between. Arguably, Em has the most innovative flow since the late 1980s, with the ability to rhyme fast, slow, and in between on the same track. Like a percussion instrument, Marshall’s gift of gab employs syncopation and a pinball rhyme style to complement the elaborate content. In his writing, Eminem can be brutally honest about himself and others, while also being whimsical, harshly critical of the world at large, and wildly entertaining in social commentary. He is Lenny Bruce, Mike Tyson, and Masta Ace in one modern man. With classic, cohesive albums, Academy Award-winning (and Grammy Award-winning) songs, and a style that’s the envy of all of Eminem’s Rap peers, predecessors, and pupils, how could he not be the GOAT?

Other Notable Songs:

“Role Model” (1999)
“‘Till I Collapse” (with Nate Dogg) (2002)
“Shady CXVpher” (with Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse) (2014)

Xzibit (First Round Winner, Against Naughty By Nature’s Treach 53% to 47%)


With dues paid back into the early 1990s, few artists idealized the Internet Hip-Hop era as gracefully as Xzibit. A West Coast MC coached by King T, Ice-T, Tash, and J-Ro, Xzibit was a massive proponent of early ’90s East Coast Hip-Hop to boot. Rather than crutch the imagery and lifestyle of Los Angeles completely, the Michigan-born MC also known as Alvin Joiner made albums and songs that put skills above style. With a bull in a china shop flow, unmistakable rasp, and bullying cadence, X-To-The-Z became a secret weapon in late 1990s Hip-Hop. Xzibit’s precise timing, wit, and ability to relate to anything and anyone made him the most versatile artist out of the Likwit Crew, and by the time Method Man, Dr. Dre, and Eminem showed interest, a superstar was born.

In seven solo albums, Xzibit offered his fans a taste of everything. Never compromising delivery or focus, the Alkaholiks affiliate made records that ranged from sheer lyrical exercises to heartfelt songs about his family and upbringing, to investigative concept records about police corruption, drug experimentation, and other topics. Whether he was working under the tutelage of E-Swift and Sir Jinx, or making radio smashes with Dre and Rockwilder, X’s message and commitment to the craft never wavered. Like Eminem, Xzibit became a platinum underground Hip-Hop star, and even as a TV show host, actor, and internationally recognized figure, this MC not only exemplified hard work, he is a proud pillar of dedication and authenticity.

Other Notable Songs:

“3 Card Molly” (with Ras Kass and Saafir) (1998)
“Keep It Movin’” (with Saukrates) (1999)
“Rampart Division” (2006)

So…who you got?

Related: Check Out The Finding The GOAT Round 2 Ballots & Round 2 Results