Finding The GOAT: Childish Gambino vs. Kendrick Lamar…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 are doing it in real-time: Childish Gambino and Kendrick Lamar. These two lyrical technicians have upheld some age-old ideals of what makes a great rapper, all while coming from places and perspectives that bring new life to Hip-Hop as Heads know it. Read these quite different backgrounds and histories, listen to their music and cast your vote.

Childish Gambino


From Blowfly to Biz Markie, Hip-Hop artists have made a splash at comedy. But short of Weird Al Yankovich, few comedians have successfully (and permanently) transitioned into music. When he played with a Wu-Tang Clan name generator, Donald Glover might have seemed to be taking Rap quite lightly. However, Heads who gravitated towards his years of releases know that the Stone Mountain, Georgia native is somethin’ serious on the mic.

With strange song titles, subversive themes, and an array of production muses, Childish Gambino is an unordinary type of rapper, who raps about extraordinary things. Speaking about current issues his fans can relate to (love, marginalism, Worldstar Hip-Hop), the “Community” star entered the Rap community through a side door. Now working with the likes of Logic, RiFF RaFF, and J. Cole, Gambino is a sought-after guest who’s brought new energy, capability, and audiences with him.

With two studio albums, Childish Gambino has become a front-running artist in the 2010s. Commercially-supported and critically-acclaimed, the Internet-made sensation brings raw, age-old energy to his live shows. A true performer with a childhood that was anything but easy, Childish Gambino’s brain and his heart speak to the evolution of the Hip-Hop message, passion and struggle in present-day.

Other Notable Songs:

“Bonfire” (2011)
“Outside” (2011)
“The Worst Guys” (with Chance The Rapper) (2013)

Kendrick Lamar


When it comes to pure skills, has anybody made as much noise in the last 24 months as Kendrick Lamar? The Compton, California native released his major label debut, October 2012’s good kid, m.A.A.d city to show over a million supporters what Heads had known for several years: that Compton is not all lowriders, loc’s, and bangin’ on wax.

Although he has the vantage point of a product fully aware of life’s ills, gang-infested streets, and women being exploited, Kendrick Lamar represents a bookish, thoughtful, Hip-Hop awestruck MC entering his prime. The studious rapper is a product of a strong influence by Andre 3000, DMX, and Tupac. Along the way, Kendrick Lamar upheld an ’80s-styled level of competition, calling out his peers and using skills to play a public game of lyrical capture-the-flag. More than one year later, one could easily argue that nobody has taken the baton from the Top Dawg/Aftermath Entertainment breakout star who has Dr. Dre in his corner, without relying on his (or much other) high-profile production. In the verses, K-Dot talks Black empowerment, the do or die circumstances of the world around him, and the absence of love.

Carrying what seems to be the most recent unanimous “classic album,” a platinum plaque, and one of the best live shows in Hip-Hop, Kendrick Lamar is in his prime, on paper, in stereo, and center-stage.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Hood Gone Love It” (with Jay Rock) (2011)
“HiiiPower” (2011)
“m.A.A.d city” (with MC Eiht) (2012)

So…who you got?

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

Childish Gambino


Kendrick Lamar

Related: Check Out The Other Ambrosia For Heads “Finding The Goat” Ballots