Finding The GOAT: MC Eiht Vs. Scarface…Who You Got?
As we continue 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 sequence not unlike March Madness. 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.
The next two MC’s to square-off are pioneers of Gangsta Rap that also remain heralded by lyricism lovers. Each solidified classic groups, before making enough impact to earn would-be legendary solo careers. With a combined strong sense of place, dialect, and a love of Hip-Hop, Soul, and Funk from afar, MC Eiht and Scarface are living, active masters. Check out a recap of both MCs’ careers below and then weigh in with your vote.
With roots dating back to the 1986-1987 underground cassette tapes that would help define (and demarcate) the city of Compton, MC Eiht applied the sharp deliveries of his East Coast contemporaries into raw, ruthless, and unglorified accounts of life in gang-infested streets. Eiht was much more in the Ice-T school of straightforward deliveries and strong imagery than the N.W.A/Dr. Dre melodic, digestible tour de forces.
Through three Compton’s Most Wanted albums in as many years, Eiht’s accounts were soundtracks to the violence across America, but particularly in Southern California in the early 1990s. While the personnel of C.M.W changed, MC Eiht stayed the course—and like Large Professor in the Main Source, largely carried the brand before repackaging. Cast in Menace II Society, and later a voice in “Grand Theft Auto,” MC Eiht has always represented an authenticity even through the most popular and pandering days of Gangsta Rap. Years before Death Row Records was trademarked, MC Eiht applied what he witnessed in “The Bridge Wars” with the Juice Crew and Boogie Down Productions, and took on city rival DJ Quik. The beef which went back as far as 1989, would set a precedent for battling on wax turning to threats of gun violence—before getting squashed nearly a decade later.
After going solo in 1993, MC Eiht’s career took a turn. A pioneer of the “quantity vs. quality” approach that was exemplified in Rap’s mixtape-era, the artist and his trademarked “Geah!” released upwards of 17 albums, including collaborative and group LPs. Prolific to the fullest degree, the raspy-voiced MC known for his Loc’s, lowriders, and blue Dodgers cap focused on his core, and stayed the course. Nearly 30 years deep in the game, MC Eiht’s career is enjoying added attention through Kendrick Lamar’s platinum debut, good kid, m.A.A.d city, and a forthcoming collaborative album with cross-country close friend DJ Premier, Which Way Iz West. From Snoop Dogg to Game to Killer Mike, MC Eiht gave Hip-Hop countless stories, jewels, and models, and never wavered.
Like MC Eiht, Scarface was a stand-out in a group, The Geto Boys. An early addition to the group with history dating back to 1986, ‘Face began his career as Akshun, a booming Houston, Texas dancer-turned-DJ-turned-vocalist who was likened (by self, anyway) to Tony Montana. Moving into the GB’z, Scarface soon positioned himself as an equal to veterans Bushwick Bill and Willie D. Established as a Gangsta Rap group, the teenaged MC’s introspection, honesty, and constantly troubled, manic depressive ways gave the collective depth, and a human side not easily found in contemporaries N.W.A or 2 Live Crew.
Parallel to his Geto Boys career, Scarface made deeper, darker, and more daring albums on his own. As far back as 1991, the MC defied the dismissive views of Southern rappers, with an amazing voice, smooth dialect, and plenty to say about himself and the world. As Hip-Hop transitioned from the shock value of N.W.A and Geto Boys to more horror-centered themes found in Spice-1, Method Man, and Ice Cube, ‘Face was ready. The Rap-A-Lot Records mainstay offered The Diary, one of the hallmarks of 1994. Short of 2Pac, few Hip-Hop artists have been as successful in balancing careers, from solo to Geto Boys to Facemob, to guest work, to helping develop enduring acts (Ludacris, Devin The Dude, Made Men) at Rap-A-Lot and elsewhere.
In the 2000s, through the championing of artists like Jay Z, Nas, and Houston’s 2005 revival, Scarface became one of the genre’s Mount Rushmore-worthy lyricists. Always viewed as an underdog, 2000’s “My Block” and its album The Fix gave Scarface the fanfare he’s forever deserved in his lone studio album off of Rap-A-Lot. Delving further into Southern Rock, Blues and Funk roots, Scarface picked up a guitar and put down a lot of the vices in his life—never getting preachy, just being wiser on record. Brad Jordan is every Head’s big brother from another, and he still finds relatable messages that defy geography, age, and circumstance.
So…who you got?
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets