Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Immortal Technique vs. Talib Kweli…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.

Starting around the same time, Talib Kweli and Immortal Technique have drilled hard truths and unwavering opinions into the microphone. Two informed, activist, and thoughtful New York City MCs, these men run in the same circles, both products of the underground Hip-Hop wave who have tackled the mainstream thinking and awareness level. While Kweli’s talents would land him major label backing, superstar collaborations, and more, Tech has been fiercely devoted to a DIY movement, and spotlighting Hip-Hop artists on a path like his own previous trail. With two cult followings, these indie juggernauts line ’em up to see who’s best (click to vote)

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

Immortal Technique


Talib Kweli

Immortal Technique (Winner Of Wild Card Round With 15 % Vote Out Of A Field Of 20 MCs)


Harlem, New York’s Immortal Technique laid lyrical dynamite to mine his own lane in Hip-Hop. A militant intellect, Felipe Coronel refused to conform throughout his career—whether that was signing with labels, seeking digestible sounds, or backing down from confrontational lyrics about race, class, and government. I.T.’s Revolutionary series is among the most successful indie efforts of the 2000s (reportedly more than 80,000 units sold [Editor’s note: and more than 1.8 million downloads]), while Tech’s ability to reach mainstream audiences through social media and word of mouth was incredibly grassroots. From Roc Raida to Mos Def, iconic artists have sought out this MC who prides himself on challenging old guards in many institutions, through powerfully-driven words and deeds.

Tech has never relied on album sales as an impetus. The founder of Viper Records has not released a studio LP since 2008’s The 3rd World. [Editor’s note: Immortal Technique contacted Ambrosia For Heads to point out that 2011’s The Martyr is also a studio album]. Instead, Tech is a pure MC, doing shows, features, developing acts, and quietly doing overseas charity work with his earnings. With only one handful of official videos, this is an artist who has reached the upper-crust of the charts, the industry, and certainly the consciousness of the Hip-Hop Head, without even the slightest waver.

Additional Tracks:

“Audio Technician” (with DJ JS-1 and L.I.F.E. Long) (2002)
“Industrial Revolution”
(with Roc Raida) (2003)
“Harlem Renaissance” (with DJ Green Lantern) (2008)

Talib Kweli (First Round Winner, Against Lloyd Banks 84% to 16%)

Though he has always technically been a solo MC, for many, Brooklyn, New Yorker Talib Kweli came to prominence as a member of Black Star with Mos Def. Known for his razor sharp intelligence and cutting insight, Kweli has always been part activist and part philosopher, in the medium of MC. Through his work with Black Star, Reflection Eternal and solo, his career has served as a bridge from the Native Tongue era through the Jiggy and Trap eras to the present.

Kweli is respected amongst Hip-Hop’s purest Heads for his early work on Rawkus Records and loved by the mainstream for elevated bangers like the Kanye West-produced “Get By.” ‘Lib has gone full circle from independent artist to major label-backed MC to indie once more, having released 10 albums and several mixtapes over the course of 15 years. No matter what the status, his art and message have never been compromised, and his words never minced.

Additional Tracks:

“Respiration” (with Mos Def and Common) (1998)
“Africa Dream” (with Hi-Tek and Weldon Irvine) (2000)
“Cold Rain” (2011)

So…who you got?

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