From worries that Lil Yachty is ruining hip-hop forever to debates about if Lupe Fiasco's music can be played at a barbecue (the answer's obviously yes), it feels like we're in a very "versus" period of hip-hop culture.
Gucci Mane's often found himself at the center of those debates, although you get the sense he doesn't particularly care about them, and when speaking about his relative rap skills and style in his new Fader profile he said:
“I think I’m the easiest to imitate. I can’t imitate Eminem. And they can’t imitate Eminem, but they can imitate Gucci. Is Eminem good? Yes. Do I recognize he’s super talented? Hell yeah! But do I want to play that when I jump in my Maybach?” - Gucci Mane, Fader Interview
On one level Gucci's right, and there's nothing particularly controversial about that statement, especially considering how careful he was to point out Em's greatness. Different rappers make different music that can serve different functions in our lives, from inspiring partying to touching our souls to twisting our tongues.
But I also balk a bit at those categories. Lord knows I don't own a Maybach, but it feels like I'd happily play some Eminem in there, and Em has plenty of party music. If anything, he was making drug music and then getting sober long before Gucci was making drug music and then getting sober.
And if you approach Gucci's music with a similarly open mind, you might find more lyricism and linguistic skill than it may seem at first. Hopefully we're at the tail end of this "versus" period, more than anything it's an often exhausting distraction from what should really matter most - the music itself. After all, wouldn't we all want to hear a Gucci and Eminem collaboration?
By Nathan S, the managing editor of DJBooth and a hip-hop writer. His beard is awesome. This is his Twitter.