16 November 2017 | Live

MTV EMAs Best Hip Hop 2017: Did Eminem deserve to win?

Not the busiest of years for Eminem, but apparently enough to win


Written by John Shepherd

Em will find his way onto most Hip-Hop fan's Top 10s, he’s rap royalty and will forever dine at the Hip Hop top table. Slim Shady LP, Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show and 8 Mile provided the soundtrack to my youth, he’s the best lyricist to ever pick up a mic’ in my opinion, but Best Hip-Hop 2017? I’m not so sure.

Eminem’s 2017 consisted of a feature on Big Sean’s, No Favors a feature on Pink’s single, Revenge a freestyle on the BET awards cypher, and his only single of 2017, Walk on Water featuring Beyonce, was only released last Friday.

Walk on Water is Eminem’s first single since Kings Never Die in 2015 and we are still waiting for the release of ‘Revival’ which will be his first album for four years.

Not the busiest of years for Eminem, but apparently enough to be crowned Best Hip-Hop ahead of Drake, Future, Kendrick Lamar and Post Malone.

In contrast, Kendrick Lamar's fourth album, Damn was released in April, Damn reached number 1 on the Billboard 200 chart and is certified double platinum. Kendrick released four tracks from his album as well as collaborations with Future, SZA and Travis Scott this year.

Drake’s, More Life spawned 2017 releases Passionfruit, Free Smoke, Portland and Glow delivering another Drake-filled year for us to indulge in. Future gave us two albums in 2017, two albums in two weeks to be exact, releasing his self-titled album, Future, and then Hndrxx the week after, giving him two number one albums in two consecutive weeks. Post Malone’s single Rockstar spent the last four weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 and broke Apple Music’s single-week streaming record with 25 million streams in just seven days! Along with the Lil Yachty, Tyler the Creator, Lil Uzi Vert, and the all-conquering Chance the Rapper, having stellar years, Hip-Hop is as active as ever.

Although Kendrick and Chance, with their lyricism, flow, and social commentary represent as much of the old school Hip Hop feel in today’s landscape, this new wave of electronic rap, autotune, trap-infused, Pop collaborations seem to be where Hip-Hop is heading.

This Summer it was reported that Hip Hop has overtaken Rock n Roll as the most popular music genre in the USA and whilst the likes of Tupac, Biggie, NWA, Nas, Jay, Kanye, and Eminem himself have been the drivers of Hip-Hop for so long, maybe it’s time for the industry to embrace what the future of Hip Hop is becoming.

I will always be able to rap Lose Yourself word for word, ’Til I Collapse will always be in my Top 25 Most Played, I’ll never forget how to be B-Rabbit and go bar for bar with Papa Doc and the rest of the Free World. This isn't even to say we can only enjoy Eminem by being nostalgic, Eminem probably provided us with one of the best Hip-Hop moments of 2017 with his BET cypher. His performance of Walk on Water at the EMA’s, with his raging delivery and rasping punch-lines of a rap ballad, was still one that only he could deliver.

On 'Walk on Water', Em says, ‘Cause I’m just a man, but as long as I got a mic, I’m godlike’ and he’s right, he will always be a rap god, and I’m counting down the days until his new album, ‘Revival’ drops, but with such a hectic Hip-Hop scene right now, did the EMA's really need to look back to Eminem rather than forward to a new Hip-Hop era?