Whether or not you agree with Irv Gotti that Jay-Z is a better MC than Eminem, Gotti is passionate about hip-hop, just like all of you people reading this. I.G. knew Jay back in the day, when Hov was standing on a pool table battle rapping, and he's been on the receiving end of some of Slim Shady's famously sharp punch lines. Is Irv showing favoritism toward his homie? Is he still sour about his quarrels with the Shady/Aftermath/G-Unit factions? He says no, but we definitely want to know what you guys think about his assessment in our comments section.
Also today, we have Chicago singer Jeremih (Chi, what up? Mixtape Daily will be out there soon, homies). The cat came out of nowhere to lock things down on the radio for the past several weeks with "Birthday Sex." He started singing seriously only a couple of years ago, but he writes his own lyrics and makes his own beats. He says he's going to be here for a while. Can he be the Derrick Rose of R&B? He's off to a great start.
Fire Starter: [artist id="3176764"]Jeremih[/artist]
If you don't know the lyrics by now, you'll be very familiar with them by the end of the summer: "It's your birthday, so I know you wanna ri-i-i-ide out." Singer Jeremih got right down to business with his hit "Birthday Sex."
"I still [read] comments like, 'I thought it was [artist id="10489"]The-Dream[/artist].' Or 'I thought it was [artist id="10489"]R. Kelly[/artist].' Or 'I thought it was [artist id="2446481"]J. Holiday[/artist]' — guys that have similar sounds and tones to my voice as well as the instrumentation to the song," Jeremih said about the reaction to his song and how he gets compared to his older peers. "But those are big names. I feel real good. I feel blessed to have a hit, and even to be compared to those hitmakers is great."
Although fans are familiar with his voice, everyone isn't aware of what the 21-year-old Chicago native looks like. That might change now that a video for the song just came out.
Jeremih wrote the song (he writes and produces) last September, and on October 30, it debuted on the airwaves in his hometown. The station gave the upstart — who has only been singing seriously for two years — a shot. A few months later, a host of record execs saw that the song had legs, and everybody reached out to him. He decided to roll with Def Jam.
"I wouldn't say it's my favorite song on the album," J admitted of "Birthday Sex." "It just was chosen first."
Right now, he's partial to a ballad and a club banger from his self-titled, self-produced LP.
"It's called 'Jumpin',' " he said of one cut he loves. "But my favorite is called 'Starting All Over,' which is a slow, soul love song. I wrote it because ... in relationships, that's the hardest thing to do. You breaking up, you making up. I'm saying in this song: 'This girl is worth starting all over.'
" 'Jumpin',' hands down, club banger of '09," he added. "The crowd is jumping. The hook is soulful. The lyrics are witty, dumb, off-the-wall type of words."
Def Jam would be overjoyed if either song is even half as successful as "Birthday Sex." Not only do the fans love the record, but Jeremih's peers — from R. Kelly to Red Cafe — have added verses to their own unofficial remixes of the song.
"Just the fact that people are taking time out to add verses shows how powerful the record is," he said. "That it has impacted a lot of people's lives. Honestly, I've heard a lot of them from the guys on the block to the mainstream. I really feel that it's some records that's out that's just timeless, that if somebody tries to add on to be better, it wouldn't have the same effect as the original. And I don't even know if it's because it's me or whatever, but I've heard a lot of remixes, and I felt that nobody has made the song any better than what it already is. But I'm all ears."
Jeremih said it will take a lady to knock him off his feet with a remix. "I feel the perfect remix has to be a female singing it me for my birthday. That would be the perfect. I'm still waiting on one, man," Jeremih said, suggesting Keri Hilson for the job. "She's hot, she's fresh. I know she's done a lot of damage on the writing side too. I feel like her swagger, it seems like it would be the female version of me on the song. I still haven't met her, but I feel she'll do her thing on the remix. Can you sing to me, Miss Keri baby?"
Jeremih's birthday is coming up soon — July 17 — 10 days after his debut hits stores.
The Streets Is Talking: News & Notes From The Underground
Who is the best? Who would win in a battle? It's a hypothetical conversation that hip-hop fans have every day about their favorite spitters.
We here at MTV News have a great time debating the "Hottest MCs in the Game" (check for that '09 list coming sooner than you think — controversial!), and in October, Vibe magazine put out their list of the Greatest Rappers Alive. More than 920,000 fans voted on tournament brackets, in which different MCs would face each other in dream rap matches.
[artist id="1422853"]Irv Gotti[/artist] came by the MTV offices and spoke to us about the list recently. Although he wasn't as adamant as [artist id="1234809"]Joe Budden[/artist] was about the list being wrong, IG took exception to [artist id="502642"]Eminem[/artist] ranking in the top spot.
"I got a thing with Eminem," Gotti said. "This has nothing to do with the beef. I don't really feel like I have beef with Eminem. This has no hatred or nothing. This is just my opinion on it. Vibe did a thing, and they had him as the #1 rapper. Sh-- like that kinda pisses me off. You know why? Because let's take Eminem's records. Watch my analogy. Eminem is a great artist, no doubt. He puts words together, he's witty, a smart lyricist, a great lyricist. But how can we say the guy is the best rapper alive? Look at Hov. He makes real records. Every one of Eminem's first singles is some clown sh--. He's clowning. Is that the #1? That's not my #1 rapper, man."
Gotti said he also factored in the battle element in deciding that [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist] is better than Em. He said that back in the day, Slim Shady wouldn't have a chance against a young Jay — or DMX and Ja Rule, for that matter.
"No disrespect, you're a great lyricist, but I come from a school — I know they 'battled' in '8 Mile' — but I come from where they battled on the streets with guns out," the head of Murder Inc. said. "They would have put you under pressure. All that 'off the top,' they would have put you under pressure. I been to battles with X, Jay and Ja, that was some real sh--. Homie, you wouldn't been able to survive. These n---as was going with written sh--. In your grill. X [would say,] 'I don't walk, I stalk, living foul.' Saying some sh-- you wouldn't been able to withstand."
Gotti said Em would survive in a cipher with the big dogs.
"You would have been like, 'My name is Em and I eat M&Ms. I eat you.' What?" IG laughed. He said the Detroit legend would have been greeted with three harsh words: " 'Shut the f--- up!' It would have been a 'shut the f--- up' moment off the top. Dame [Dash] would have been like, 'Look at him. He's crunchy! He's wack!' Then I look at the singles he put out. They're all good, but they only work for him. I say take Eminem, and let him say 'Hard Knock Life.' Still hot. Now let's have Jay-Z say the 'We Made You' song. They would laugh him out the f---ing building. ... It would be over."
Irv finished by saying the best rapper alive has to be Jay-Z or Lil Wayne.
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