It was all a joke—allegedly. The rumor of impending beef between Eminem and Drake over the Joe Budden situation, as first forecasted by Hot 97's Ebro on Ebro in the Morning, fueled hours of conversation on Twitter on Wednesday. But last night on Twitter, Ebro walked it back, claiming he was just kidding.
It was such a joke and people ran with it... Slow news day. Drake got too much respect for all that... https://t.co/fzq1WnwRbb— El Viejo Ebro (@oldmanebro) August 4, 2016
Facts we was joking...— El Viejo Ebro (@oldmanebro) August 4, 2016
Talked about in jest & fools jumped out the window. I ain't even think it was a big deal https://t.co/xBbWkzjXMN
But joke or not, the debates as to what would happen if Eminem dissed Drake, and which MC would ultimately emerge victorious, dominated the timeline. In the cold light of morning, those arguments are now purely hypothetical. But still— it makes for fun conversation. Complex spoke to eight of the industry's most outspoken journalists and rap nerds to get their opinions. Sound off with yours in the comments.
Jeff Rosenthal, ItsTheReal: This feels like a 38-year-old Boxden commenter's fantasy or a question for a job interview. "How many ping-pong balls could fill up a 747?" Like, it's less about the actual answer and more about the thinking that gets you there. So, fine, let's drop the Pokémon into the cockfighting ring and imagine: Drake's advantages are that A) he puts out music and B) leaves his house. Eminem was once unpredictable and there was a time when he had Moby beaten up. Oh, and when people point out rappers' "technical" skills, Eminem is usually celebrated for that. But I don't think Eminem understands the internet and that's what ultimately wins battles these days. So, Drake.
Robin Lundberg, Content Provider, ESPN Radio: When it comes to rap, Drake doesn't want it (similar to Budden to a degree). I'd bet the ghostwriting stuff really bothers Marshall.
But the thing with Drake is, his stans are very powerful and can spin anything into a W and he has the ability to mock you on a party record. That's the genius of "Back to Back."
Eminem needs an angle to get his groove back. If he's smart; he equates Drake to the *NSYNCs, Aguileras, J. Los, and Limp Bizkitz he used to clown. If he does that on a good track with the right lyrics, he'll take it.
Kaz, Editor-In-Chief, Stashed: Drake would win a "battle" in our day and age because battles simply aren't decided with bars anymore. Drake, despite what certain people my feel critically about VIEWS, is still the most popular rapper in the game and in today "battles" are all about relevancy. Nobody is more relevant than Drake, and in a world where people factor everything else into a battle except for "who can rap better," Drake wins in a no contest.
That said: Strip all that away, put Drake and Eminem with two microphones and nothing but lyrics to determine a winner and I'd be hard pressed to go up against B. Rabbit.
Andres Tardio, Writer/Photographer: Anytime you mention Drake and Eminem, people are going to be interested. You can multiply that by 100 if we’re talking about beef. I tweeted about it and the response was overwhelmingly in favor of Em, which isn't too shocking. Em is known as one of the genre’s most skilled battlers. For his part, Drake proved himself with Meek Mill, sure, but he hasn’t done much about shots from Pusha T and Joe Budden. Beyond that, the ghostwriting controversy matters when you’re challenging a guy like Em, who takes pride in writing. I think that’s why people are so one-sided on this and like a lot of them, I’m interested in seeing how Shady 2016 reacts. It’s always fun to speculate on rap feuds (so long as those beefs stay on wax). That’s part of hip-hop’s rich tradition. So while I’m not sure if this rumor will turn into a real battle, I’m definitely excited to find out.
Judnick Mayard, Writer: We just spent a whole day arguing about an unverified and vague mention of pseudo-beef from a man who regularly sounds like he doesn't know what he's talking about. The internet has officially made us more pathetic than the idea of a Eminem diss song in 2016 that's NOT targeting another white rapper. I will say that if this foolery happens, I truly hope Drake sings over a sample of "The Roof" by Mariah Carey and uses old Mobb Deep lyrics to ether our dear Marshall Who Hasn't Mattered. Now that would truly be sensational!
Al Shipley, Writer: The world's most popular white rapper and the world's most popular biracial rapper have had very different careers, with very different kinds of music. But I think both overcame outsider status, whether racially or geographically or culturally, in similar ways. Both are experts at using self deprecation to defuse the obvious jokes a detractor would use against them, be it Em's style of dissing himself as memorably shown in 8 Mile, or Drake clowning Meek Mill with "You getting bodied by a singing n****." So if both of these guys have spent their professional lives neutralizing their critics by getting to the punchline first, I think it's possible that neither of them will land a very hard hit on the other. But if either of them is going to spit a line so funny, so mean that it becomes an enduring taunt of their opponent, I think Eminem would come up with it.
Legend, Director of Content, OnSmash: Is this even a question? Lyrically, Eminem would destroy Drake in a rap battle. When has he ever lost one? Slim Shady has made it his mission to end careers over beef. He's the Michael Jordan of rap battles. He knows how to throw low blows, rhyme in circles, and is considered one of the greatest MCs of all time. You'd be a fool to step to him for a rap battle.
Unfortunately we live in a different era now and Marshall Mathers hasn't made a good album, since, arguably, Encore or Relapse. This isn't 2004 anymore. The man is 43 now and can hardly relate to his old fans, let alone teenagers. In a day where social media rules the world, Drake would reign supreme. All it would take would be for him to throw some meme punchlines and the court of public opinion would crown him king. To the younger generation, Em is an old rapper who is out of touch with what's successful now and no amount of rappity raps would save him from being beat by the current king. Just ask Joe Budden. Some people have actually said Drake won already by not responding to him. So what makes anyone think that with Eminem it would be different? It's like the battle of the old vs. the new.
Of course old heads would side with skills on the mic, but that's not what impresses the Twitter generation. Welcome to 2016.