Finding The GOAT: Rick Ross vs. Fabolous…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 have shared dominance for nearly a decade. Products of the late 1990s come-up, Rick Ross and Fabolous are two of the exceptions to the music industry sales droughts. Making hits, these artists have both been anything but stingy, with free EPs and mixtapes that rival other artists’ albums. Chameleon-like collaborators, these two Def Jam Records artists have worked with a litany of artists, always sounding dedicated to the craft. Listen to these artists’ music and understand their respective impact before casting your vote.
Since 2006, Rick Ross has easily become one of the most enduring stars of Hip-Hop. With a guttural, commanding delivery, the Miami, Florida-based MC has relied on more than his speckled past to give people the message. A careful balance of style and substance, “Rawse” releases music at an output that rivals that of 2Pac. With acclaimed albums under his belt, Ricky Rozay is tireless in providing supporting vocals to peers large and small and developing groups and acts within his Maybach Music Group imprint, showing that it’s “deeper than rap.”
Brought into the commercial Rap game (as “Tephlon”) first by Erick Sermon, and later Suave House’s Tony Draper, Rick Ross has an unmistakable delivery that has made Heads hold onto the lyrics in the age of the beat. In what often feels like talking on the track, R.R. is in tune with the streets, as well as the wants, needs, and attitudes of millennials. This has made Ross able to affect the lexicon of music, lifestyle, and coolness. Bringing drama, suspense, and endless montages to his songs, the mafiaso MC is highly cinematic, with or without a music video.
Since his 2006 Def Jam breakthrough, Rozay has refused to budge. Instead, with four gold albums, he’s just pocketed a bigger sound, some of the finest beats around, and a surefire ear to make anthems. As his lyrics and titles frequently allude to, this Miami master has aimed to make Rap music as fun, exciting, and larger than life as it was throughout the 1990s. Few could argue that his booming chants, nimble flows, and captivating cadence have not done just that.
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Ushered into Rap through one of the reigning mixtape kings, DJ Clue, Fabolous represents the bridge from Hip-Hop’s shiny suit era into the digital dominance. The Brooklyn MC has been touted as one of the best rappers on the charts for more than a decade, and few have the hit-making ability as the Elektra-turned-Def Jam star.
A counter to the raspy, aggressive deliveries of his late ’90s contemporaries like DMX, The LOX, and Ja Rule, Fab’ embodied a smoothness, both in delivery and subject matters. With unquestionable ties to BK blocks, the Street Fam artist has never been big on touting his reputation, instead making hits that crossed into R&B, making him arguably the one to carry LL Cool J’s torch–successfully engaging a female audience, while maintaining respectful male fans. Often employing a slow flow in the Ma$e wheelhouse (an early ‘Loso collaborator), Fab’ also specialized in carrying on the punchline tradition that was at a pinnacle in the late ’90s, care of Big L, Papoose, and Skillz.
While his beats often dabble with slower, softer music, Fab’ carries a hardcore set of tools into the booth. He mixes clever wordplay, storytelling, and top-shelf songwriting. With two platinum albums, and two additional gold LPs, Fabolous has weathered the storm, and the changes of the music industry, simply by studying the masters, and making a lane for himself.
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Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets