Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Ice Cube vs. Too Short…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.

Together, Ice Cube and Too Short showed the Golden State’s greatness starting in the mid-1980s. These friends and early collaborators have opposing styles. While Cube is impassioned, angry, and scraped the tracks with a full-bodied cadence, Short is cool, calm, unaffected, and smooth on the track. However, both of these 30-year veterans were street mouth-pieces, chronicling a lifestyle, a mainstream alternative, and a culture that excited far-reaching listeners who were previously unaware of the happenings in Compton or Oakland. Throughout the years, both of these men have grown, reinvented themselves, and carved paths for a host of proteges. Moreover, they are each active in the craft of rapping today. Two Cali kings, but only one can be a GOAT (click one to vote).

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

Ice Cube


Too Short

Ice Cube (First Round Bye)


With a furrowed eyebrow, Ice Cube was an immediate force in Hip-Hop, and one of the first lyricists from west of the Mississippi River that had MCs in the east revising their rhyme books. O’Shea Jackson came into the underground, and later the mainstream in the talent hotbed of N.W.A. Going solo, with a world of skeptics, Cube parlayed his flashy role in the group into a cohesive, socially-informed Gangsta Rap classic, AmeriKKKa’s Most Wanted. Crossing the coasts for production, jackin’ for beats, and taking the diss song to that whole other level, Cube’s pioneering accolades are an extensive rap sheet.

Cube’s authenticity, whether as a lowridin’ neighborhood tough or as an Everyman with a Friday to himself has translated onto screen, after he cemented these roles on wax. Don Mega has been able to make hits out of low-key days, survival, and complex narratives. Moreover, from Da Lench Mob, to Westside Connection, to helping a host of artists, Cube has been a critical juggernaut in helping the fellow man. The sounds have changed, but Ice Cube has remained a fearless creator in the studio. His anger, his conviction, and his ability to take a specific experience and make it universally cinematic is why he has more than 29 years of staying “true to the game.”

Other Notable Songs:

“Jackin’ For Beats” (1990)
“My Summer Vacation” (1991)
“Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It” (2008)

Too Short (First Round Winner Against DJ Quik, 53% To 47%)


Since the 75 Girls label days in Oakland, California, Too Short has kicked his raunchy, relentless street raps. Slow-talking, Short Dog arguably upholds the Last Poets’ clear and concise brand of Rap. Todd Shaw has messages by the streets for the streets. Over the years, coming from the “City Of Dope,” the venerable MC has focused on telling sexual stories about femme fatales, staying true to who you are, and “gettin’ it.” His localized Bay Area sound would appeal to worldwide masses on Life Is…Too Short and Born To Mack. Incorporating the pimp personas of the streets into Hip-Hop, Too Short is a Gangsta Rap pioneer, despite not receiving scholastic credit as such. The Dangerous Crew leader drafted a blueprint that is still very much in tact, and the big brother from “The Turf” has never played like a 35-year veteran, refusing to accept the Senior Circuit.

Although he is forever associated with Oaktown, Short relocated to Atlanta in the mid-1990s. There, Todd Shaw brought his strip club-savvy accounts and influenced a culture that would produce buds in the form of onetime protege Lil Jon & The Eastside Boys, T.I., Outkast, and 2 Chainz. Along the way, he’s proved that authenticity and simplicity can lead to durability. While so many artists have closed up shop, or pandered to trends, Too Short mastered the ceremony in low-profile, low-brimmed, low-end grace. Country has Willie Nelson. Blues has B.B. King. Hip-Hop has Too Short.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Girl” (1985)
“Short But Funky” (1990)
“In The Trunk” (1992)

So…who you got?

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