Finding The GOAT: Eazy-E vs. Lord Finesse…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 were huge forces for the late ’80s and first half of the 1990s: Eazy-E and Lord Finesse (click on one to vote).
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
While Eazy-E is still a household name, nearly 19 years after his death, Lord Finesse remains a touchstone of hardcore Hip-Hop that separates the Heads from the novice listeners. While Eazy’s impact was embraced and sought out by East Coast contemporaries Naughty By Nature and EPMD, Lord Finesse’s skills attracted the likes of West Coast O.G.’s Ice-T and Dr. Dre. One has the platinum, the other one has triple-threat self-sustained mastery. Read these histories and cast your vote.
In just over a decade at the helm of Ruthless Records, Eric “Eazy-E” Wright made one of the biggest, most enduring contributions to Hip-Hop through Gangsta Rap icons N.W.A., and later, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony. A revered businessman, Eazy was dominant voice in Rap too. Although the Compton, California MC was not a writer, Eazy’s gift for controversial, street-certified storytelling makes him one of the most quoted, most remembered rappers of the ’80s and ’90s. Nearly 20 years after his untimely death, we still want Eazy.
Eazy-E’s explicit rhymes challenged the freedom of speech at a time when Hip-Hop was expanding. This rapper had pinpoint accuracy in forecasting the tensions towards police leading up to the L.A. Riots. His post-N.W.A. works were early Horrorcore benchmarks. Eazy also found a way to pull street life out of its increasingly cliche G-Funk (after helping pioneer it), by dabbling the messages with different sounds. Outside of his front man contributions in N.W.A., Eazy made pivotal solo records such as the storytelling anthem, “Boyz N The Hood,” the dumb out of “8 Ball” and the indictment of MTV-styled Gangsta Rap in “Real Muthaphuckin’ G’s.” Eazy’s words and style upheld the Colors-era lifestyles of Compton, CA. He brilliantly meshed the shock value to real nuggets of truth, making Hip-Hop informational while being highly entertaining to Middle America.
Other Notable Songs:
At the start of the 1990s, Lord Finesse was one of Rap’s most exciting young voices. The Bronx, New Yorker was part of the Diggin’ In The Crates collective that was mentored by DJ Jazzy Jay. Finesse in particular was one of the crew’s most rugged mouth-pieces, an arrogant voice of reason who had the self-confidence of Rakim with the quick wit of Big Daddy Kane. A highly-accomplished producer and DJ to boot, Finesse laced the bulk of his own tracks on The Funky Technician and Return Of The Funky Man. Although many of Robert Hall, Jr’s songs focused on his come-up, his love of rapping and producing, and staying active with the ladies, the presentation was elite. Although Finesse’s protege Big L is widely touted as a punchline champ, many of those maneuvers can be traced to the music of his mentor.
Early in his career, Finesse was courted by Ice-T to join Rhyme Syndicate, where he would release his sophomore album. Interestingly, of his three studio solo LPs, Lord never stayed on the same imprint. Following 1996’s The Awakening diversion at Penalty Records, Lord Finesse nearly completely halted his rapping. Like D.I.T.C. brethren Showbiz, Finesse focused on production and DJ’ing, lacing tracks for Dr. Dre, The Notorious B.I.G., Fat Joe, and Capone-N-Noreaga. When his Rap skills are called for, the forty-something has not lost a bit of a sophisticated true-school flow, B-boy bravado, or the humor that made his records multi-dimensional. The producer who allegedly taught DJ Premier how to chop samples still has his MC chops, as Heads anticipate the fourth album, nearly 20 years later.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?