Finding The GOAT: Run vs. Ecstasy…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.
Run (Run-D.M.C.) and Ecstasy (Whodini) are two rhyme masters who helped prove Hip-Hop to be enduring, commercial, and powered by stars. On stage, on wax, and in video, these two New Yorkers architected an approach still employed today, to make their rhymes, image, and impact last through the ages. With hit records, dominating performances, and unforgettable verses, these are two Rap kings. Read their histories, and make the difficult decision, on Election Day no less.
Has Hip-Hop ever seen stars to the relative magnitude of Run-D.M.C.? The edgier of the two Queens, New Yorker representatives, Joseph “Run” Simmons is slick talkin’, uncompromisingly confident, and deft with the wordplay. Run may have come into Hip-Hop as Kurtis Blow’s DJ, but he is one of Rap’s supreme MCs. With a limerick-like delivery at the height of his career, Run made nursery rhymes incredibly cool, especially when the subjects looked to the streets, German sneakers, Reagonomics, and the ills of being def.
In the 1980s, the 1990s, and 2000s, Rev Run, as he’s now crowned, maintained his booming vocals—forever a touchstone of dope. Few MCs before Run-D.M.C. used production as effectively at stating their point. Simmons’ diaphragm is a versatile instrument, and used with care in complementing his partner, Daryl McDaniels (D.M.C.).
Calling out the suckas, celebrating his iconic (and dearly missed) DJ, and nimbly explaining why it was tricky to be one of Rap’s first international superstars, Run is a living, breathing icon. Nearly 10 years removed from an album, Russell Simmon’s brother remains Rap royalty, with eight LPs of ruling scripture.
Other Notable Songs:
Though he will always be remembered as one-third of the group, Whodini, Ecstasy was able to deftly carve out his own identity within. From “Five Minutes of Funk,” to “Freaks Come Out at Night,” to “One Love” there was no mistaking his penetrating vocals which always shifted the respective song into another gear. While Whodini rode the last waves of Disco and R&B beats in Hip-Hop (at least for a nearly 10-year hiatus), Ecstasy and mic partner Jalil, along with peers like LL Cool J and Run-D.M.C., were at the vanguard of MCs with the swagger and style of the B-boys in the streets. With his green eyes and fly gear, Ecstasy was also one of Hip-Hop’s earliest sex symbols.
While he hailed from Brooklyn (along with the rest of Whodini), unlike Run and D, Ecstasy, Jalil and DJ Grandmaster Dee took a more global approach in their music. In fact, they linked with then hot UK producer Thomas Dolby for some of their earliest hits and, because of a clever promo, would be forever associated with The Bronx’s legendary DJ Mr. Magic.
Though Ecstasy and Jalil each could play the suave role, it was usually Ecstasy who delivered the 2 in their 1-2 punch combo of vocals. He was a master at memorable sound bites, multi-syllabic rhymes and using vocal inflections to the max to emphasize his points. And, whether he was getting the party started, commentating on relationships going sour or just celebrating his DJ, Ecstasy’s lines were ear worms that, once heard, took permanent residence in your brain.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets