Finding The GOAT (Round 2): T.I. vs. Ludacris…Who You Got?
We have reached the second round in the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time). We are asking you to help us rank who is the greatest MC to pick up a mic. We will take over 35 years of Hip-Hop into consideration, pairing special match-ups in a “playoffs style.” Since Fall 2014, and for the next several months, we will roll out battles, starting with artists from similar eras paired against one another, until one undisputed King or Queen of the microphone reigns supreme.
In the 2000s, Ludacris and T.I. have helped make Atlanta, Georgia a Hip-Hop epicenter. Telling very different stories, these friends and collaborators gave the ATL a litany of hits for the club, the street, and the open road with attitude, charisma, and really, really great rapping. While Tip is one of the final Bye artists from Round 1, Ludacris may be perceived as one of the sound upsets, beating Missy Elliott by more than double the votes. From the same area code, these two Hip-Hop giants face off in Round 1. Will Luda’ do it again, or will T.I.P. trap the votes to advance to Round 3 (click to vote)?
Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
T.I. (First Round Bye)
For nine solo albums, and an assortment of side projects, T.I. has claimed King, without much contest. The Atlanta, Georgia MC-turned-actor presented the mainstream with another side of the ATL than heard by Ludacris or Outkast, as Hip-Hop’s Trap instructor. T.I. made booming singles that showed the rest of the world his, and even as Clifford Harris moved up the tax brackets, he became emblematic of the hustle, the fight, and never, ever backing down.
In the post-2000s era, T.I. has been able to make albums that have beckoned the “classic” label. 2006’s King and 2008’s Paper Trail have shown an MC with the spotlight having the dichotomous ability to both reach the streets and the mainstream. Tip’s autobiographical music has followed his journey, from the trap to the family, crime to atonement. That trajectory has not been without its missteps, as few of Rap’s current A-listers have as polarizing a catalog as the P$C front man. With that said, T.I.’s breakthrough happened amidst the steep competition of Jay Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Eminem and Nas. Here to stay, T.I. may just be the archetypal 2000s-era MC.
Ludacris’ booming voice was first heard on Atlanta radio (as Chris Lova Lova) for years. However, after rapping on the side, it was Scarface who heard something special in Chris Bridges, and made him the flagship first act of the short-lived Def Jam South imprint back at the turn of the millennium. Although Luda’s 1999 self-released Incognegro showcased a nice dose of what many Heads would later love about Luda’, this MC has greatly benefited from the major label system. Few artists can fill an album with hit-worthy songs as well as Luda, and all seven of the ATL rappers’ major label efforts have gone gold or better. He can work with DF artists, with Trap artists, Crunk artists, and Snap artists, and still stay true to self. Thereby, six times, Ludacris has been a part of the #1 song in the US, with half of those as his own tracks.
Like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, or LL Cool J, Ludacris is an institution. Fifteen years deep, Ludacris shows no signs of age or slowing down. Instead, the mainstay has tried to focus on theme and concept in his albums, sometimes sacrificing knee-jerk sales appeal. 2008’s Theater Of The Mind and 2010’s Battle Of The Sexes are among the MC’s most ambitious work, although the sales may have not matched. With command on stage and in stereo, Ludacris has both endured the evolution of Rap, and changed the game.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?