Finding The GOAT: Busta Rhymes vs. Inspectah Deck…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 MCs to square off emerged from highly-respected crews and movements to different outcomes: Busta Rhymes and Inspectah Deck. One artist broke out as a soloist, finding much greater success than witnessed in his quietly-heralded clique. The other, a critical player in his crew, has never enjoyed the solo attention and accolades he arguably deserves. Both MCs, however, are lauded among their peers. Read these quite different backgrounds and histories, listen to their music and cast your vote.
Among 25 year veterans of commercial Rap, evolving images and changing sounds appear to be a commonality. However, few have been as successful at being dope over the last four decades as Busta Rhymes. Knighted and named by Chuck D, this Long Island native has blitzed Hip-Hop with one of its fastest flows and most versatile deliveries. He’s constantly been able to say meaningful messages since he was a smiling teen in Leaders Of The New School through to his hulking days rolling with Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, and Eminem.
Like Q-Tip, Ice Cube, or Ghostface Killah, Busta’s breakout begins with shining in a crew (L.O.N.S/Native Tongues) of highly-talented MCs. With an unmistakeable delivery, Busta had a rasp, malleable flow, and unrivaled microphone animation that made him a sought-after guest before guest-work was in vogue. By the mid-1990s, Busta’s outer-worldly vision of album-making made works like The Coming immune to shifting attentions and presentations in Hip-Hop. Busta enjoyed multi-platinum success rapping to masses who were unaware of two great group albums, or his days running in the underground. Rather than adapt East, West, or Southern styles throughout his career, Busta Rhymes has simply rapped his ass off, and favored beats that thumped on dance-floors, headphones, and trunk sub-woofers.
Other Notable Tracks:
In the crew context, Wu-Tang Clan’s greatest lyricist may very well be their Bronx, New York delegate: Inspectah Deck. Although the Rebel I.N.S has never enjoyed the solo success of Ghostface Killah, GZA, Method Man, or Raekwon (due in large part to a tragic mid-1990s flood, scrapping his planned debut), the scientific MC has been a critical role player, especially on Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) and Wu-Tang Forever. Seemingly thriving in the competitive group element, Deck’s verses have been unforgettable keystones in classic albums.
With a full vocal body, Inspectah has been introspective about himself and his people, giving the Clan depth, range, and enduring messages. With his third eye focused, I.N.S was sought after by highly-esteemed peers (Big Pun, Pete Rock, Gang Starr) to bring life to tracks, an MC’s MC in the truest sense of the idea. On his own albums, especially 1999 debut Uncontrollable Substance, Deck has been quietly consistent, blending exceptional rhyme skills with uplifting messages chronicling life and times.
In the 2010s, Jason Hunter’s commitment to the underground paid off. The duo he worked with while they were breaking through, 7L & Esoteric, would join forces as CZARface. Releasing an acclaimed independent album in 2013, Deck would collect some of the accolades in the hardcore Hip-Hop world that largely alluded him in the mainstream. Still sharp, this lyrical swordsman has been rock-steady in presenting essays that are dense with information, thought, and a smooth style. Often eclipsed by his collective, nobody can argue that on his own, Inspectah Deck could be argued as one of the finest masters of ceremony of the last 20 years.
So…who you got?
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets