In July, RollingStone.com commissioned Village Voice pop music columnist Chris Molanphy to craft a feature called "Introducing the King of Hip-Hop."
The request came after the success of Molanphy's previous post for the website, "Introducing the Queen of Pop" -- in which Molanphy measured female music artists' commercial performance in nine different ways and tallied the results. "Queen of Pop" crowned Lady Gaga, garnered 2000 Facebook "Likes" and engendered hundreds of comments-worth of bile from livid fans of Madonna and Brittany Spears.
For "King of Hip-Hop," Molanphy consolidated his nine parameters into just seven -- album sales, album reviews, chart position, touring, social media, YouTube hits, and awards -- and tweaked his spreadsheet a bit, weighing album sales, chart position, and YouTube heavier, and giving less weight to social networking and reviews. Fatefully, Molanphy reprised the "Queen of Pop" survey's irregular time period, a two-and-a-half year span between the beginning of 2009 and mid-2011, so that the data sample would be big enough. All Molanphy had to do was collect the data and crunch the numbers.
Not long after he started entering the figures, Molanphy stopped by Woodwork, a bar near his home in Brooklyn, to meet up with some friends. They asked him how his project was going.
"It’s clear Eminem’s going to win this thing," Molanphy told them.
Oh man, his friends said. You are gonna get hounded for the white guy taking the crown.