Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Drake vs. Big Sean…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.
Drake and Big Sean have plenty in common. Growing up less than 250 miles apart, Heads have often compared the developments to these late 2000s movers and shakers, who became the star pupils of Rap’s reigning guard of Lil Wayne and Kanye West, respectively. While Drizzy found the mainstream success and plaques two years ahead of Sean, many people claim that his early style of punchline raps, removing the “like” and “as” from Rap’s love affair with similes truly originated with the Finally Famous MC. In the last five years, each of these stars from the Northern Midwest have redefined their cities’ Rap contributions, dominated radio, video, and award shows, and made it cool to be clever, with a crisp and clean presentation. Which do you think best reps his MC class (click on one to vote)?
Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
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.
Other Notable Songs:
With a cool demeanor, clever wordplay, and a game-changing approach to punchlines, Big Sean became Detroit, Michigan’s first big Rap star since Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″ (Bad Meets Evil). An elevator demo pitch to Kanye West made the Finally Famous MC one of the most critical additions in G.O.O.D Music, and the wordsmith waited his turn to deliver a commercially dominant, cult-championed LP as the sum of years of mixtape work.
Mild mannered, Sean’s creativity has driven his propulsion as one of Rap’s breakout stars of the last five years—releasing two Top 3 LPs in 2011’s Finally Famous, followed by 2013’s Hall Of Fame. His unique style and clean-cut image have only made his rhymes, writing, and concepts more substantial. A blog rapper-turned-superstar MC, Big Sean in many ways is a poster-child of what succeeds with fans, sales, and peers in 2015.
Other Notable Songs: