Finding The GOAT: Diamond D vs. Dr. Dre…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 are typically thought of for their beats as much as, if not more so, than their rhymes: Diamond D and Dr. Dre (click on one to vote). As Capitol Records Jazz icon David Axelrod coined the pair, “the doctor and the diamond” have a ton of career overlap, from the 1980s beginnings, to their 1992 album hallmarks, to their later recluse from the microphone in favor of the studio knobs and switches. However, with both revving up, the MC aspect of things is fully in tact.
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While one of these MCs has the platinum plaques and the Forbes and Fortune coverage, the other assertively stated, “write my own rhymes, produce my own shit.” Both men carry the culture of yesteryear on their back, with strong ties to Hip-Hop’s pioneers and origins. These versatile forces square off, just based on skill. Read these histories and cast your vote.
From the boogie down Bronx, Diamond D has always been a triple-threat MC, DJ, and producer mentored by the legendary Jazzy Jay. For longevity’s sake, Diamond’s verses have become rarities since the 1990s, when the Ultimate Force alum was a solo star on Mercury Records. However, in 2014, Diamond made a strong return to form, with his most complete and most warmly-received album since leaving the label system, The Diam Piece. The self-proclaimed “best producer on the mic” makes a strong case for himself when he raps, after 25 years in the game.
Although it does not carry a plaque (allegedly due to the label avoiding a bonus pay-out), 1992’s Stunts, Blunts And Hip-Hop is a cemented Rap classic. Although the LP is backed by some legendary production within the D.I.T.C. pedigree, it’s Diamond’s slick rhymes about everyday life that made this colorful work inspirational to the likes of Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Q-Tip. With a mahogany voice, ’70s-baby references, and a balance of art culture and street life, Diamond has mined a place for himself. Purportedly true storytelling like “Sally Got A One Track Mind,” stream of consciousness like “Freestyle (Yo, That’s That Shit),” and smooth pontifications on “Flowin'” all are testimony as why Diamond has clarity to go with his cuts.
Other Notable Songs:
For more than 30 years, Dr. Dre has kept our heads ringin’ with beats and verses. Although Dre has sought out skilled writers for many of his messages (The D.O.C., Snoop Dogg, Eminem), nobody can deny that the Compton, California uber-star has been skilled at delivering rhymes that have been cemented as memorable street scripture. A DJ first, Andre Young understands the recipes and nuances of a hit record, sonically and lyrically, across genre. In making his music cinematic, Dre has clearly, succinctly, and cleverly kicked rhymes that were digestible to far-reaching audiences, but certified by Heads who had championed him since the N.W.A. days.
Working alongside lyrical titans like Ice Cube and MC Ren early in his career, along with Eazy-E’s bigtop antics and booming voice, Dre refused to shrink or step aside. With a smooth vocal tone and nimble deliveries, Dre never came across as a weakened link in any of his crews. In fact, Dre’s contributions alongside Cube, Snoop, Eminem, Xzibit, and Kurupt have never been dwarfed. Dre holds his own, and his verses are straightforward, sincere messages, whether about the Crenshaw District, Dre’s late brother, or how the Aftermath Entertainment founder counts his (b)illions. If every MC’s goal is to control the mic and make a record unforgettable, on rapping alone, is Dre not a mountain-GOAT?
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?