Finding The GOAT: Wiz Khalifa vs. Drake…Who You Got? (Video)
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 two 2010s-era superstars: Wiz Khalifa and Drake (click on one to vote). With plaques, dedicated fan-bases, and mixtape and major label impact, these two men have been some of Rap’s saving graces in the market-place. With distinct styles, both artists changed the look, feel, subject matter, and especially the sound of Rap.
Voting For Round 1 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
This may be one of the biggest, most debated ballots of GOAT thus far. Polarizing, Pop-friendly, and yet immersed in the pure elements of Hip-Hop, these two twenty-somethings have had the Rap game on lock. Now they square up in the AFH ring.
Few artists in 2000s-era Hip-Hop are as self-made as Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Wiz Khalifa. Well before he had Atlantic or Warner Bros. Records backing, this rapper was challenging the Top 200 on the charts with a unique blend of wavy, vibe-driven tracks and straightforward rapping. Deeply influenced by Too Short, DJ Quik, and Snoop Dogg, Wiz’s delivery is a crisp, rarely fancy presentation of “talkin’ game.” Although the Taylor Gang General favored some tougher talk in his early work, Wiz would later take on a jovial stoner personality, and move his messages into celebrations of life, (physical) love, and mind elevation. Coupled with mid-tempo production, this MC carved a lane that many of his sound-searching peers would back into.
Along with a cult-like following, Wiz Khalifa has the tangible accolades of a Rap star in the 2010s. Starting with his major label debut, 2011’s Rolling Papers, Wiz secured gold-certified success, to go with astounding download numbers for 2010’s Kush & OJ, a mixtape widely revered among the best of the last 10 years. Touring incessantly, Wiz’s vibe on records translates to the stage, events that capture the stoner slumber and energy of youth at once. With incessant work ethic, Wiz has proven capable at making great commercial albums, mixtapes, and being extremely active in guest work and a la carte tracks. By way of computer screens, mobile devices, and festival stages, a star has been born in Wiz Khalifa—worthy of GOAT consideration.
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In one fell swoop, Drake changed the MC paradigm in 2009. With arguably the most important mixtape of the last 10 years, So Far Gone, this versatile Toronto, Ontario actor-turned-MC/singer updated what a rapper looked like, sounded like, and talked about. Although the delivery was deeply influenced by skills-driven acts like Slum Village and Little Brother, Drake made no bones about his upper-middle class childhood, his earlier dealings with fame, and a range of emotions that made many of his messages much more Ghostface Killah than Jay Z.
With a gold-certified mixtape, sold after it was offered initially for free, Aubrey Drake Graham proved to take the music industry to an oasis at a time of sharp declines and sales droughts. With a commanded audience, Drake made albums and tapes that addressed men and women, R&B lovers and Hip-Hop heads, those looking for earnest songwriting and those seeking stunting—all at once. A student of the ’90s and early 2000s Rap class, Drake was a pupil of mentor Lil Wayne just as much as he was Phonte or Elzhi. With such versatility and seamless transitions from different topics, styles, and auras, Drake made some of music’s most complete, sequenced albums in the 2010s. A multi-platinum star, this approachable celebrity embraced art-driven videos, packaging, and made his MC experience cinematic even when the mic was off. Arguably Rap’s biggest star since Kanye West, Drake has also become the genre’s most polarizing and influential figure of the day, at once.
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So…who you got?