Pave, why Eminem and Kanye so low?
well i have two answers for that. one is that i don't see them as being all that
low really, considering the greatness of the artists above. and also, as a general rule i try to place artists that i really love (like both of these two) on the lower end of the range that they fall into, in order to maybe offset some bias i may have for them. i think almost every artist falls more into a "range" than a specific spot, at least after the first few on a list. for example:
Eminem: absolute best case scenario would be 8th. higher than that would be a real stretch. the case for him being as high as 8th would be based mostly on his enormous commercial impact and the cultural buzz that surrounded him during his peak. the only two artists in his realm, commercially, are both in my top 4 (2Pac and Jay-Z). his case is strengthened by the fact that he's also revered within the hip hop community, had a string of 3 classic albums that included one guaranteed top 20 rap album (MMLP), blah blah blah. but those things could be said about anyone in the top 20 here. the only reason they are relevant is to establish that his commercial impact is at least validated by musical impact, as opposed to someone like MC Hammer or Vanilla Ice. the case for him pretty much stands on that one fact: most commercially successful rap artist of all-time (arguably, but pretty hard to argue against). which might be enough for top 10, given what his exposure meant culturally in the early 00s, being talked about on 24 hour news networks, tabloids, political speeches, etc. but on the other hand...
the absolute worst case scenario would probably be around 15th. at this point, i can't see him below Dre given that Dre has released only 2 albums. Wu-Tang would be above him only IF they were also given credit for all the solo albums by each member, but they aren't. Tribe is probably underrated on my list and could possibly be above him. either way, 15th-17th is the lowest, and more realistically its 15th. for all the acclaim that those 3 peak albums get now, its easy to forget that all three were pretty polarizing when they were released (Slim Shady LP got a pretty noticeable critical re-evaluation only after MMLP came out). the opposite thing kind of happened with Encore, where it was treated as a disappointing but average album until Relapse came out and now it shares some of Relapse's terrible reputation. either way, his body of work is nowhere near as consistently acclaimed as OutKast or Kanye, for example. at least not at the time of their respective albums' releases. which is why Eminem does much better on a site like acclaimedmusic than he does on metacritic. but both initial acclaim and lasting acclaim matter, and he suffers in the former. and he doesn't have the musical acclaim of Rakim or Nas nor the influence of Rakim or De La Soul, etc.
so with all that said, i'm leaning towards him being closer to 15th than to 8th. but honestly, you could order those artists in just about any order without raising too many eyebrows. i wouldn't blink if he were behind De La Soul/Kanye or above Beastie Boys/OutKast. the closer i try to put him to 8th, the more i feel like it's just out of personal bias.
as for Kanye, again there is a suitable range between about 11th-18th. he doesn't have the overwhelming commercial impact to offset LL Cool J or Rakim's respective importance (like you might be able to argue for Eminem), but he scores high enough in every aspect of the criteria to reasonably be above Em/OutKast/Beastie Boys if you focus too much on what those artists lack, or you have a slightly different opinion on their respective influence. when it comes to influence, so much of it is subjective that even a largely-objective observer is going to come to different conclusions with the same evidence. and its the more subjective parts of the criteria that lead to us seeing artists higher or lower within their respective ranges. so while you may be able to see enough of Eminem's importance to validate a top 10 placement given his commercial impact, if you see his level of importance as considerably less than that, you could very easily see Kanye slipping above him, even if you'd agree that it would be more difficult to see Kanye in the top 10 only because he doesn't stand out as glaringly in one aspect of the criteria as Em does in commercial impact. if that makes any sense at all.