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1520 Sedgwick Avenue: The BRA Tournament, Big Punisher Bracket, First Round Thursday, July 31, 2008

Posted by Andy Hutchins in 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Rockabye, The BRA Tournament.
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It’s a time-honored tradition in hip-hop to spend more time squawking about who the “G.O.A.T.” (Greatest of All Time, for the uninitiated) is, or squabbling over who the “Best Rapper Alive” is, than actually listening to their music and reacting to it at a personal, critical level.

Still, the idea of settling it all still fires passions and drives page views, so VIBE is doing a month-long, pale imitation of what could be a great idea. Here’s your bracket. Let’s hop in.

You see that I remembered the more tag before first publishing this time?

Last, and not least, but perhaps least mainstream, is the Big Punisher Bracket. You’re not getting anywhere near the depth of analysis via links that I’ve been doing, but I don’t really care, so I’ll be working through my (lack of) guilt on that.

(I wrote the above paragraph last week when I cared more about this. Now, you’re lucky to get more than a sentence per matchup)

1) Andre 3000 vs. 16) Dizzee Rascal

I am an Andre 3000 Stan.

Stans are so named because, like the eponymous character in that Eminem song, they would theoretically follow that artist to the ends of the earth and jump off a cliff for them.

I’m not doing that, but I will defend 3K’s music forever and ever. He’s a brilliant rapper when he wants to be (“Royal Flush,” “Ms. Jackson,” “Rosa Parks”), and the patron saint of offbeat rappers post-Wu; he’s the guy who dresses up in pink and tribal costumes and makes all that part of his oeuvre, part of what he is. And, within the last year, he’s revved up his lyricism again, and is returning from his sabbatical in singing, probably for good. That’s good.

Dizzee Rascal’s an acquired taste, and, given the other #16 seeds (Diddy, Trina, Soulja Boy), he’s heavily underrated. He’s probably the best British rapper ever.

And he’s in over his head against Andre 3000.

8) Method Man vs. 9) Redman

Who can tell the difference? I can’t. So, Method Man, Redman.

5) Pusha T vs. 12) Rich Boy

Let’s see: The dope-slinging avenging angel of Virginia versus a guy whose song was better when the producer rapped on it and Kanye parodied it.

Yeah: Pusha T.

4) Common vs. 13) Black Thought

Another one of the conscious MC match-ups, but this one’s not quite fair.

The Roots are a collective; Common’s his own. It’s like comparing Bono to Michael Jackson. I may be a U2 fan, but Jacko would win; so, Common.

6) Busta Rhymes vs. 11) Twista

Here’s the obligatory double-time tilt. (Sort of.)

Thing is, I saw Twista mentioned as an A-list rapper the other day. If so, the C-list includes every person who’s ever written a rhyme. Period.

Busta’s got enough cred to legitimately be on an A-list.

Busta Rhymes in a walk.

3) The Game vs. 14) Crooked I

They both want to be the same person.

But The Game has the name, and Crooked I has the game.

7) Ice Cube vs. 10) E-40

Cube’s got a legitimate beef with falling to a #7 seed, but he’s facing the most overrated thing to come out of the Bay Area since Barry Zito.

E-40 claims to have coined pretty much every phrase of relevance in hip-hop, including the “izzle” thing. No one could ever know, because you’d have to listen to him to figure it out, but that’s a nice boast.

And Ice Cube invented West Coast menace. So Ice Cube.

2) Snoop Dogg vs. 15) Bow Wow

Will I take the legend or the guy who did a double album with a member of B2K? Decisions, decisions.

Snoop Dogg, and anyone who votes for Bow should probably be banned from the Internet.

I’ll be back Friday with a few different posts. Look for ’em.

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