Jay-Z Calls Drake the Rap Game Kobe Bryant - Is He?

Just a few days ago Kanye directly challenged us to a debate - a debate I have to say he's pretty fucking thoroughly losing. By contrast, Jay-Z* didn't literally say, "Hey, Nathan S., I'm about to compare Drake to Kobe Bryant, you're going to want to write about this," but it kind of feels like he did.

First and foremost, let's set the background. In an interview with Elliott Wilson, Hova talked about the rise of the next generation of artists (Drake, Kendrick, J. Cole, ASAP Rocky, etc.), and spotlighted Drizzy in particular. Fast forward to the 3:25 mark for the relevant quote:

Elliot Wilson: "You think he's [Drake's] your competition in the new school?
Jay-Z: He's definitely the one that's reared his head as the guy. He's definitely Kobe Bryant."

My gut reaction whenever I hear something like that is to recoil in horror...but....the more I think about it, the more I think Hova's right. Let's establish some facts. In this context, Jay is clearly calling himself Jordan, which really can't be debated.

Just like Jordan was still very much in control of the league when Kobe came into the NBA - in '96 Kobe was a rookie and Jordan has just won a championship and a MVP - it only took four years before Jordan had retired (for the second time) and Kobe had won his first championship, and by extension seized the Greatest Active Player title.

The parallels are almost eerily similar.

When Drake officially came into the game in 2010 with "Thank Me Later", Jay-Z was coming off his first retirement. In the last three years Hova has only tightened his control of the game, but Drake's also improved by leaps and bounds. His last album, "Take Care", outsold both Hova's "BP3" and "Watch the Throne" first week, and the giant Samsung asterisk aside, there's a good chance "Nothing Was the Same" will outsell "MCHG". All that needs to happen is for Jay-Z to retire for a second time, leave Drake to claim the crown, return for one more album that's good but nowhere near his best (aka Jordan's Wizards years) and the circle will be complete.

So the Jordan-Kobe relationship is dead on, but is Drake really the rap game Kobe Bryant? In the sense that he has Kobe's nearly-homicidal drive to win, no? But in the sense that he's clearly the reigning champion (Hova)'s biggest challenge...yeah, he really is. Drake's still not within a long shot of topping Jay in the power rankings - let's see him buy a piece of the Raptors, marry Rihanna, turn OVO into an empire and then maybe we can possibly, kinda, sorta talk - but he's closer than anyone. Plus, he and the black mamba will be forever linked through a meme.

Who else is really in this discussion? Kendrick Lamar? Kendrick's the best pure rapper of the next generation, but he doesn't have the same power and influence as Drake. (Remember, we're talking overall dominace here, not just skill. Reggie Miller was a better pure shooter than Kobe when they were both playing, but Kobe was obviously the better overall player). J. Cole? I think the fact that HIS OWN BOSS mentioned Drake and not him pretty much settles that debate. And we're not including Kanye/Lil Wayne etc. in this, they're in the same generation as Hova.

On a closing note, I need to point out that from a NBA standpoint, the Kobe Bryant as the Greatest Alive thing is outdated. Lebron's clearly the greatest alive at this exact moment, and in a lot of ways has a better shot at surpassing Jordan over the long term than Kobe with a torn Achilles, so as far as Jay-Z/Jordan is concerned, it might have been more accurate to call Drake the rap game Lebron.

Regardless, in light of this debate, I might have to go back and update the Rap Power Rankings. RefinedHype Nation might be able to sway me either way in the comments section.

* I don't give a fuck what he wants, Jay-Z will be Jay-Z forever to me, hyphen included.

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