Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Tupac vs. Big Boi…Who You Got?

We have reached the second round in 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 “playoffs style.” Since Fall 2014, and 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.

Although they never collaborated, 2Pac and Big Boi are two of Hip-Hop’s most versatile voices, arriving in the culture around the same time. Both MCs have expansive messages, a strong sense of regional pride, and the ability to cross-over without ever really trying to. The sales followed—in a major way, but both of these soulful MCs are among Hip-Hop’s true elite. Decide, if you can, who goes forward in pursuit of GOAT (click to vote):

Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets



Big Boi

2Pac (First Round Bye)


In just five short years making albums, 2Pac changed Hip-Hop. Like his background, and his young life, Tupac Shakur’s music is filled with passion, soul, and conviction—amidst contradiction. His albums (and many of his songs) were conscious and Gangsta Rap at once, taking on police, society, and industry foes within the same confines. At times, ‘Pac was a pepped-up lyricist who was inspired by the greats, displaying metaphor, alliteration, flow, and cadence. In other places, Shakur rapped conversationally, coming from a place of sincere urgency, more about the content than the method. This duality has made 2Pac one of Hip-Hop’s most enduring superstars, with sales and critical acclaim that have far outlasted his tragic 1996 murder.

2Pac’s versatility may be his greatest attribute, from the socially-narrative (“Brenda’s Got A Baby”) to the anthematic (“California Love”) to the revengeful (“Picture Me Rollin'”). From the top and the bottom, Tupac was gifted in making highly-specific songs that listeners could relate to. He cemented classic LPs such as Me Against The World, and the Death Row follow-up All Eyez On Me double-album. Moreover, ‘Pac’s messages and collaborations spanned the Hip-Hop map long before Rap ever lived on the Internet. Known for fast writing, and often limited takes in the studio, ‘Pac’s urgency may be one of his flaws, but he maintained to get the words out while the thoughts were real, and the ink was wet—and that’s just what he did.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Pain” (with Stretch) (1994)
“Temptations” (1994)
“Until The End Of Time” (with R.L.) (2001)

Big Boi (First Round Winner, Against Prodigy 61% to 39%)


For 20 years, Big Boi has been at the top of Rap’s food-chain for his originality, versatility, and failure to ever stagnate creatively. With two (official) solo albums under his belt, Daddy Fat Sax’s impact within Hip-Hop is largely held to his co-founding status within Outkast. Joined on songs by Andre 3000, both MCs’ skills were often eclipsed by each other, given the group’s other-wordly approach to music. Big carefully balanced the streets with outer-space in his realm, rapping about the world both as it is, as well as it could be.

One of the genre’s top fast-rappers, Big Boi delivers words with a machine gun precision, never needing to stutter as a guise. Big’s verses are never preachy or aimed at the mainstream, somehow he simply ends up there through consistency and applying his messages to simply amazing music. With Big’s vocal strengths, he’s been able to rap on anything, from Jungle percussion to prohibition-era-styled tracks to downright Trap. Like MC Ren, Willie D, Inspectah Deck, or Trugoy, sometimes Big Boi’s talents are downplayed compared to his band-mate. Mr. Patton however, is among the working active GOATs. From Funk to Crunk, R&B to Rock & Roll, this is an artist who has made albums unpredictable, exciting, and highly-replayable since long before the digital age.

Other Notable Tracks:

“ATLiens” (with Outkast) (1996)
“B.O.B” (with Outkast) (2000)
“Shutterbugg” (with Cutty) (2010)

So…who you got?

Related: Check Out The Finding The GOAT Round 2 Ballots & Round 2 Results