Finding The GOAT (Round 4): Eminem vs. DMX…Who You Got?

We have now reached the critical Round 4 in the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time). With 21 MCs remaining (with the largest winning margin, Rakim receives a bye for the round), things are really coming down to 10 match-ups, leading AFH’s bracket-style series towards its closing rounds. With more than 35 years of MCs taken into consideration, parsed into generational brackets, Round 4 will mark the last series of peer-based battles. In this elite class, only 10 rappers will go on to join Rakim in Round 5. Also, as with Round 3, the winner by the biggest margin in Round 4 will receive a bye in Round 5. Each battle in Round 4 will include full mixes showcasing the enormous talents of each MC. Who stays, and goes on? Only you can decide.

In the skyrocket of the Internet Hip-Hop community, fans clamored to see if Eminem and DMX were subliminally dissing each other in their vicious lyrical displays of the late ’90s and early 2000s. Outwardly, these two icons—both heavily influenced by Tupac Shakur, are not only contemporaries, they are fans of each other. In Round 4, however, these two giants square off. Both Em’ and X thrive on personal lyrics, and complicated relationships with the microphone. Hiatuses, legal woes, addiction, and life have weathered these giants at times. However, both men are comeback savvy. Only one can go forth to the next round. You decide. (click on one to vote)

Voting For Round 4 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets






(Third Round Winner, Against Talib Kweli 71% to 29%)
(Second Round Winner, Against Xzibit 87% to 13%)
(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?

The Hits, Unreleased & Features Of The Best Rapper Alive mixtape by DJ Iron Sparks

Other Notable Songs:

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




(Third Round Winner, Against Joe Budden 73% to 27%)
(Second Round Winner, Against Fabolous 75% to 25%)
(First Round Winner, Against 50 Cent 67% to 33%)

In the days following the tragic murders of 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G., while Nas, Jay Z, AZ, and others vied for the crown of East Coast Hip-Hop, no relative newcomer made a harder, faster, and more ferocious fight for the throne than DMX. Not a rookie at all, the Yonkers, New Yorker had spent the decade rhyming, a previous battle-tested beneficiary of major label deals, seemingly treated every track like a battle, even if with himself.

DMX was the perfect late ’90s vessel to suggest a rawness “up top” on the Rap map, while his backdrop played into “down bottom.” Moreover, X’s message inspired others. Although the artist’s legal issues, and unmovable chip on his shoulder towards labels, peers, and the industry were stationary, DMX worked with nearly everybody, bridging a factioned, territorial climate in the genre. Clearly walking as the alpha-dog, Earl Simmons commanded his message, and helped accelerate the labels and industry to the pace of the would-be Internet culture. It was DMX who, alive, could release two #1 albums in the same year. It was DMX who could follow singles deemed too raw for radio and video with crossover tracks. With X in the lead, he opened the doors for not only friend-turned-foe Ja Rule, but also helped ONYX gain renaissance, and create diversified lanes for his crew-mates The LOX, Eve, Drag-On, and Swizz Beatz. Few artists in “the shiny suit era” (which arguably X’s success marked the end of) had the perceived authenticity, unpredictability, and tangibility as DMX.

Best Of DMX mix by DJ Nobody.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Murdergram” (with Jay Z & Ja Rule) (1998)
“Slippin'” (1999)
“Put ‘Em Up” (2010)

So…who you got?

Related: Check Out The Finding The GOAT Ballots & Results