Finding the GOAT: Grand Puba vs. PMD (Parrish Smith)…Who You Got?

Ambrosia For Heads is proud to present 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.

Looking at Hip-Hop’s many iterations, style shifts, and constant elevation, AFH opted to begin with two MCs who have a combined 50 years of experience: Grand Puba and PMD (Parrish Smith). These New Yorkers have emerged from and helped develop significant Rap crews, they’ve influenced many, and weathered the times with grace, and without compromise. Check out a recap of each MC’s career below and then weigh in with your vote.


Grand Puba:

For more than 25 years, Grand Puba has been the consummate MC. A native of New Rochelle, New York, Maxwell Dion has thrived with effortless delivery. Whether delivering rhymes fast or slow, or transmitting cautionary tales, conscious verses, or simple odes to “skins,” Grand Puba has been a resounding voice in Hip-Hop.

Originally a member of the Masters Of Ceremony in the late ’80s, Puba gained his greatest recognition with Sadat X, Lord Jamar, and DJ Alamo in Brand Nubian to follow. Often rhyming closely to the pocket of the track, the versatile rapper influenced a host of artists to follow, including The Notorious B.I.G and Common. Whether Funk tracks or Hip-Hop/R&B blends, this onetime Elektra Records star’s track record was ahead of his time.

Although Grand Puba Maxwell never scored a gold or platinum certification on his solo or group works, the New Yorker remains active in his fourth decade of styling on the microphone.

See: “What Goes Around (360)” (1992)

Noteworthy Tracks:

“Dynamite” (with Masters Of Ceremony) (1988)
“Slow Down” (with Brand Nubian) (1990)
“I Like It” (1995)


PMD (Parrish Smith):

One of Hip-Hop’s original double-threats, Parrish Smith, often known as PMD is one of the pioneering hardcore MCs. From Brentwood, Long Island, PMD had a deep delivery, with an unwavering timbre. Part of what made EPMD reach gold in six of their seven albums was the duo’s complementary styles. Parrish was confident, careful with his words, and deadpan in giving them to the people.

Unlike Erick Sermon, Parrish Smith’s solo career lacked the luster of mainstream acceptance. However, the founder of The Hit Squad not only helped cultivate the careers of K-Solo and Das EFX, the L.I. MC would become a beacon for artists like Prodigy, Havoc, and even alternative artists like Swollen Members.

With an active group and solo career in four decades, PMD continues to “make dollars” and win over new fans with an uncompromising commitment to hard rhymes, making it about substance and conviction above shifting deliveries and high energy.

“Rampage” (with EPMD featuring LL Cool J) (1991)

Noteworthy Tracks:

“I’m Housin'” (with EPMD) (1988)
“So What’cha Sayin'” (with EPMD) (1989)
“U Got Shot” (with EPMD, featuring 8-Off Agallah & 215) (2009)

So, who you got?

Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets

Grand Puba


PMD (Parrish Smith)

Related: Living Legends: Grand Puba (Playlist)