Exclusive – The Game ignited a colorful debate online in March when he claimed he was a better rapper than Eminem during an episode of Drink Champs. The unabashed bravado was palpable as Game spoke, despite many rap fans disagreeing with his self-assessment. The Compton native has since doubled down on his statement regarding Slim Shady and supposedly has a diss track locked and loaded for the anointed “rap god.”
During a recent interview with HipHopDX, Houston rap legend Paul Wall was asked if it was important to have that kind of confidence as an MC, no matter how preposterous a notion may sound to the outside world. While his Start 2 Finish partner-in-rhyme Termanology preferred to stay out of the discussion as it pertained to Eminem and The Game, Wall was willing to offer his opinion on the matter while making a surprising admission about his own journey.
“I had a lack of confidence growing up my whole life,” he tells DX. “It’s is not even until the last year that I started actually having any confidence in my own personal stuff. I think Lord Jamar was the one who said white MCs are guests in the house of Hip Hop and I can’t disagree with that. I agree, but I feel like we’re all guests in this house and I just feel like there’s just a lack of respect for our elders as a whole. And I feel like no one is entitled to the door being open front row access, red carpet access to the house of Hip Hop.
“I feel like everybody has to humbly come in there, earn it and work no matter who you are or what you’ve done. In terms of The Game and Eminem, I’ll separate them two as individuals from my thoughts, but I definitely feel like I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having confidence in yourself and your skills and your talents and what you’re capable of doing.”
He adds, “And I feel like The Game is right. The artists that are confident, the most confident sometimes they do things and try things that others with less confidence maybe wouldn’t do, because they’re confident in the fact that it could work. It can be successful.”
Hearing Paul Wall has struggled with having confidence throughout his life is hard to believe. After all, he’s the same guy who’s responsible for the 2005 hit “Sittin’ Sideways,” which found the “undisputed king of the parking lot” flossin’ his famous grillz and rapping about being “something like a baller.” But he’s taken some lessons from what he’s observed about fame.
“With me, I got a lack of confidence, so it’s like, ‘Man, I don’t even want to try it. Let me just stick what I know, whatever, let me just whatever,'” he continues. “We as a society, we judge people based sometimes off of their fame. You’re more famous, you’re a better person. You’re more famous, you’re richer, you’re richer that means you worked harder. You got good things happening to you that’s because you’re a good person, but we all know that’s not true.
“There’s a lot of evil people out here who are greedy. Sometimes there’s circumstances or happenstances in life they can help get you a leg up that the next person didn’t have. One thing though that I also agree with is that record sales don’t mean you’re better. And I think back to Vanilla Ice who sold 40 million records, and I don’t mean no disrespect to Vanilla Ice, but I’ve never heard someone claim he was the greatest MC of all time.”
Vanilla Ice sold over one million copies of the 1990 hit “Ice Ice Baby” using a slick sample from David Bowie and Queen’s 1981 collaboration “Under Pressure” and some funky dance moves. The accompanying album, To The Extreme, reportedly went on to sell over 15 million copies. Still, it never put him in a GOAT conversation – ever. Paul Wall understands it’s different with Eminem.
“There ain’t no side, I’m only going bring Eminem back into it because I want clarify that I don’t mean anything bad at all,” he says. “If Eminem never sold any records, he definitely has a skillset and a talent. He is elite. Ain’t no denying that. His dopeness, you can’t get around that or deny that in any aspect. The Game — let me just go all the way there with it — The Game, they’re different fan bases.
“The Game definitely has the bars and the element of Hip Hop and some of the crossover, the skill sets that Eminem might be elite at, but The Game also brings a different aspect into it because he brings the street side to it or his perspective into it that’s different than Eminem’s perspective. So with them going at Verzuz, it’s going to be two different people, two different groups. One group saying this guy’s better because I like him and another group saying this guy’s better because I like him. But at the end of the day, that’s Eminem. If he’s not the best, he’s one of the best and that’s usually agreed upon by most people.”
As for confidence, Termanology had to cultivate it early on in an effort to prove he could rap along with the best of them.
“I do think though it is good to be confident,” he offers. “I think that me specifically I’ve been underrated my whole career and what has got me on songs with some of the bigger artists like Busta Rhymes, The LOX or Wu-Tang, Jadakiss — especially when you’re not that known as an elite lyricist mainstream wise — is confidence.
“So, I’ve been over-confident my whole career but in a respectful manner because I’ve been lucky enough to have that kind of platform to be able to be on songs with people like that from the beginning of my career. I’ve been able to get on records with just me and Method Man head to head. So I do agree with being confident, but I also agree with being logical and respectful.”
Start 2 Finish arrived on Friday (April 8) and includes the Pete Rock-produced single “Recognize My Car.” Watch the video and bump the album above.