Finding The GOAT: Missy Elliott vs. Ludacris…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 MCs to square-off brought incredible creativity and originality to Hip-Hop at a time when it needed these things most. Both Missy Elliott and Ludacris have matched commercial strong-holds with critical acclaim. (click on one to vote).
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
In the last days of the MTV music video era, both Luda’ and Missy provided new and refreshing ideas and presentations that expanded well beyond Rap Heads. With songs about swagger, sex, and rising to the top, these MC icons had Pop sensibilities with lineages all traceable back to the fundamental Hip-Hop of the ’80s and ’90s. Bigger than life deliveries, an arsenal of flows, and tons of energy and chutzpah made global superstars out of a girl from Virginia and an Atlanta radio intern. Read these quite different backgrounds and histories, listen to their music and cast your vote.
Missy “Misdemeanor” Elliott broke through into the mainstream at a time when creativity was not what typically equated to sales. However, this Virginia MC (who became a pioneering producer on an elite level for females in Hip-Hop) brought limitless expression, an uncontainable delivery, and the epitome of originality. Missy, along with her affiliates Timbaland & Magoo brought real and lasting change to Hip-Hop.
Every single album released by Missy has garnered a plaque, with only her last, 2005’s The Cookbook, settling for gold. Missy’s sensibilities closely observed early 1980s Hip-Hop, along with Funk, R&B, and Pop. With a repertoire of styles, Elliott has grooved with peers across the genre and the globe. The B-girl was instrumental in bringing back the type of records in the Shiny Suit era, the Down South era, and the Gangsta era, that called back Newcleus, Mantronix, and Egyptian Lover.
Grandiose deliveries, costumes, and big budget videos of virtual worlds were the perfect accessories, complements to rhymes that stood the test. Melissa Elliott is not one of the greatest female MCs of all-time, she’s simply one of the best MCs.
Other Notable Songs:
Ludacris’ booming voice was first heard on Atlanta radio (as Chris Lova Lova) for years. However, after rapping on the side, it was Scarface who heard something special in Chris Bridges, and made him the flagship first act of the short-lived Def Jam South imprint back at the turn of the millennium. Although Luda’s 1999 self-released Incognegro showcased a nice dose of what many Heads would later love about Luda’, this MC has greatly benefited from the major label system. Few artists can fill an album with hit-worthy songs as well as Luda, and all seven of the ATL rappers’ major label efforts have gone gold or better.
On Hip-Hop, R&B, and Pop songs, Ludacris’ charismatic deliveries, and versatile flow have made him a household name long before he was a film franchise star. Ushered into a Dungeon Family-dominant Atlanta, Luda has never compromised. He can work with DF artists, with Trap artists, Crunk artists, and Snap artists, and still stay true to self. Thereby, six times, Ludacris has been a part of the #1 song in the US, with half of those as his own tracks.
Like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, or LL Cool J, Ludacris is an institution. Fifteen years deep, Ludacris shows no signs of age or slowing down. Instead, the mainstay has tried to focus on theme and concept in his albums, sometimes sacrificing knee-jerk sales appeal. 2008’s Theater Of The Mind and 2010’s Battle Of The Sexes are among the MC’s most ambitious work, although the sales may have not matched. With command on stage and in stereo, Ludacris has both endured the evolution of Rap, and changed the game.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?