Timbaland is one of the most decorated producers in the history of rap--his long-term collaborations with Aaliyah, Missy Elliott, Justin Timberlake, Jay Z and countless of others have built him a national profile that few beatsmiths could ever match. That stature landed him a gig overseeing the music for Empire, the Fox drama that became a runaway hit when it debuted last season. This morning (Oct. 27), Timbo stopped by ESPN's First Take to discuss his forays into television and film, his (qualified) love of the Miami Heat, his relationship with the New York Knicks' Carmelo Anthony and a litany of other subjects. But of course, the discussion looped back around to the wider world of hip-hop. When pressed by Skip Bayless, Timbo named 2Pac and The Notorious B.I.G. as the greatest rappers of all time. Stephen A. Smith floated Jay, Rakim, KRS-One and some other names, and he and Timb talked about how pinpointing one 'greatest' rapper is prohibitively hard.

Skip Bayless, as sports fans know, is not one for nuance. And because Tim Tebow wasn't eligible, the anchor said, "If we're going to boil it down to 2Pac or Biggie, the greatest performer ever in that genre is The Notorious B.I.G." Skip cited the biopic Notorious as evidence of the Brooklyn MC's charisma and presence, and for the effect he had on the genre going forward. As for plans in the future, Timbo says that he's looking forward to getting more involved in Hollywood.

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