Finding The GOAT Group: The Roots vs. Wu-Tang Clan. Who Is Better?
“Finding the GOAT Group,” the fourth installment of Ambrosia For Heads’ annual competition series features Hip-Hop’s greatest collectives vying for the #1 spot. Sixty-two groups have been pre-selected by a panel of experts, and one slot will be reserved for a wild-card entry (which has been determined), including the possibility for write-in candidates, to ensure no deserving band of MCs and DJs is neglected. The 2018 contest consists of seven rounds, NCAA basketball-tournament style, leading to a Top 32, then the Sweet 16, an Elite 8, and so on, until one winner is determined. For each match-up, two groups are pitted against one another with a ballot to decide which one advances to the next round. Though there will be an enormous amount of debate in comments, on social media, in barbershops and text messages, which we encourage, only votes cast in the official ballot count.
Two East Coast Rap juggernauts clash in the first Round 4 match-up. Twenty-five years ago, The Roots and Wu-Tang Clan each dropped their debut albums. While Organix was a self-released calling card for one of the hardest working bands in show business, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) was a game-changing LP that defied convention in its march towards a platinum plaque. While Wu followed with a half dozen or so group efforts (and a plethora of a la carte group tracks), The Roots fed fans twice as many releases. The Philadelphia band has the Grammy Awards that evaded the Clan as a unit. Meanwhile, Wu has three platinum group releases, while Questlove and Black Thought’s squad has just one. The Clan has boasted as many as nine MCs, while Tariq Trotter has spent much of The Roots’ run rocking the mic device without any Rap assistance. With some recent appearances and work between Wu and Roots members, this face-off is one built for debate and deep consideration. Make sure you vote to ensure your opinion counts in determining the upcoming Final 4.
The Roots (once known as The Square Roots) came together back in 1987, when MC Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter and drummer/producer/DJ Ahmir “Questlove” Khalib Thompson became friends at the Philadelphia High School for Creative Performing Arts. Joining forces with MC Malik B and bassist Leon “Hub” Hubbard, The busked and jammed their way to the studio, beginning with 1993’s Organix. Their major label debut album Do You Want More ?!!!??! followed in early 1995, launching a streak of excellence that still carries on 23 years later. Whereas sampling was in full force, The Roots supplied their own sounds with homegrown abilities, and strong bridges to Jazz, Soul, and some of Hip-Hop’s genre tributaries. Early 1999’s Things Fall Apart represents a benchmark album for Hip-Hop and The Roots crew, met with platinum plaques, Grammy Awards, and a Top 40 song. The last 20 years of the collective have been colorful. The Roots’ personnel has shifted, as has its sound and tone. Questlove and Black Thought remain front and center, while keyboardist Kamal Gray dates back nearly 25 years with the band. With more than 183 album tracks (going by the group’s sequence), the Illafifth are working on their 12th album (and 20th project). In the meantime, the clique that last released 2014’s …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin is on TV with Jimmy Fallon five nights a week, rockin’ out.
The name Wu-Tang Clan is synonymous with legendary Hip-Hop groups. RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Raekwon The Chef, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, U-God, Inspectah Deck, and Method Man created a musical brand as strong as any in the last 25 years. Since formation, Wu has stood for power in numbers and featuring many styles in one place. The collective’s 1993 debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) never cracked the Top 40, and somehow challenged the mainstream understanding of rugged, unconventional Rap music from a very raw place. The Loud Records LP also served as a launchpad for every artist in the group, collectively and individually over the next decade. The Clan has unified for at least seven other albums in the last 25 years, and countless compilations, side projects, and factional lineups on a la carte songs. Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game is an acronym that lived up, as recently as October, Wu still forms like Voltron to attack microphones and feeble-minded peers. The 2004 death of O.D.B., internal legal battles, and so many obstacles that only Wu seems to face cannot stop these swordsmen, who have pierced the consciousness for decades and sliced through the Rap landscape.
So who is the better Hip-Hop group? Make sure you vote above.