Finding The GOAT: Nicki Minaj vs. Big Sean…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 artists to compete in the bracket have careers and legacies that are currently unwinding before our eyes. Nicki Minaj and Big Sean are both major label-backed Hip-Hop stars who are highly embraced by radio, video, and the overall mainstream, and they have lyrics to go. With uber-co-signs, plaques on the wall, and viral videos galore, this pair may hide the years of paid dues in the giveaway underground music scene. Now on top, and leading the charge for where Rap could possibly go in the next five years, who reigns supreme? Read these recaps of their careers, dabble with the catalog, and cast your vote.

Nicki Minaj

Niki Minaj

While Nicki Minaj undeniably became an overnight sex symbol and household name (thanks to “American Idol”), the Queens, New Yorker has been instrumental in putting “ladies first” on the Rap skills chart. Especially in Nick’s 2009 through 2011 run, the YMCMB MC presented lyrics with wit, flare, and arguably more animation than ever seen before in Hip-Hop. With elite bravado, and as versatile a delivery as any mainstream MC since Eminem, Barbie became super-human.

Perhaps due to her affiliations, and perhaps due to her sexualized presentation, skeptics made Minaj’s menagerie a late adoption process. However, surrounded by Jay Z, Kanye West, and Rick Ross on 2010’s “Monster,” Nicki planted her flag, and eyeballed the throne within the status quo. Nicki’s command on pop culture, and her ability to make blockbuster songs have delivered Rap to new heights in a very short (but highly prolific) span.

“Itty Bitty Piggy” (2009)
“Up All Night” (with Drake) (2010)
“Monster” (with Kanye West, Jay Z, Rick Ross, & Bon Iver) (2010)

Big Sean


With a cool demeanor, clever wordplay, and a game-changing approach to punchlines, Big Sean became Detroit, Michigan’s first big Rap star since Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″ (Bad Meets Evil). An elevator demo pitch to Kanye West made the Finally Famous MC one of the most critical additions in G.O.O.D Music, and the wordsmith waited his turn to deliver a commercially dominant, cult-championed LP as the sum of years of mixtape work.

Mild mannered, Sean’s creativity has driven his propulsion as one of Rap’s breakout stars of the last five years. His unique style and clean-cut image have only made his rhymes, writing, and concepts more substantial. A blog rapper-turned-superstar MC, Big Sean in many ways is a poster-child of what succeeds with fans, sales, and peers in 2014.

Other Notable Songs:

“Mercy” (with Kanye West, 2 Chainz & Pusha T) (2012)
“Burn” (with Meek Mill) (2012)
“Fire” (2013)

So…who you got?

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

Nicki Minaj


Big Sean