Right off the bat, if you missed Selection Monday you're going to want to start there for the full breakdown of the DJBooth March Madness Rapper Tournament. The short version is that we running a full 64 rapper bracket to determine the best rapper alive, and we're mirroring the NCAA Tournament exactly. And yes, "exactly" means that we also came up with a play-in game for the same reason the real tournament has a play-in game, to give worthy but smaller schools rappers a chance to prove themselves against the Kentuckys Drakes of the world.
During the selection process we talked about if we should consider a rapper's production skills if they also make beats, and the names Oddisee and Black Milk kept coming up. Somewhere in the course of our epic selection debate it clicked - oh, Black Milk vs. Oddisee should be the play in game, fucking duh.
So today, with the tourney kicking off, myself, Yoh and Lucas sat down to attempt to figure out who would win (you can hear the blow-by-blow debate here and below). It was a daunting task, frankly we had no idea where to begin, especially because in this case it's almost impossible to completely tease apart both artists' rapping from their production. Lucas pointed out that Oddisee has the more versatile flow, I pointed out that Black Milk has some extraordinary storytelling skills. Oddisee's "Ready to Rock" was played with particular attention devoted to his double-time flow on the second verse. Black Milk's "Deion's House" was played with an ear towards his wordplay.
If this was actual basketball this would have been one of those games where both teams just refuse to die. One team nails what should be the game-winning three, the other comes back with a full speed drive to the rim, picks up the and-1, and nails the free throw to tie it again. Ultimately though there can be only one winner and when it finally came down to vote, Black Milk emerged victorious. [Lucas would like the record to show that he voted for Oddisee.]
There are no winners or losers here, mostly because this is an imaginary rapper tournament on the internet, but also because this exercise only managed to deepen my already deep appreciation for Black Milk and Oddisee. Seriously, hip-hop's so much better with both of them in it. The tournament doesn't stop though, and now Black Milk's got to start preparing for his battle against #1 seed Kanye West in the first round.