Finding The GOAT (Round 2): KRS-One vs. Masta Ace…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.
While Boogie Down Productions and the Juice Crew were centerpieces of “The Bridge Wars,” KRS-One and Masta Ace have been collaborators, not nemeses. These two MCs have had overlapping careers colored by evolution, influence, and high concept. However, KRS-One would go gold—multiple times, while Masta Ace became a trailblazer in the underground Hip-Hop movement. These are each nearly 30-year, active, impacting voices of Hip-Hop, that inspired 50 Cent and Eminem, respectively, and legions more with their charismatic ways (click to vote).
Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
KRS-One (First Round Bye)
It was KRS-One who adapted MC from entertainer into poet, philosopher, and teacher—coining and living the term “edutainment.” In reality, the Bronx, New Yorker born Larry “Kris” Parker is self-taught, a onetime homeless youth who channeled his aggression and outsized charisma into the competitive battlefield of Hip-Hop. From his introduction, Blastmasta stepped to pioneers like Grandmaster Melle Mel (“I’m Still #1), before squaring off against contemporaries including MC Shan and Marley Marl (“The Bridge Is Over”), and challenging the intentions of classes of rappers to come (“Ova Here”).
The founder of H.E.A.L., Stop The Violence and the Temple Of Hip-Hop has stood tall as a critical link in Hip-Hop’s lineage. From Boogie Down Productions to his solo career, KRS has been able to uphold an improvisational, park-jam style, still dropping quotably insightful commentary three decades after his debut. His delivery consistently points to Rap’s roots in Dancehall, and preserving the elements of the culture. With emphatic cadences, uncompromising sincerity, and a litany of “blueprints,” the Teacha is Hip-Hop’s poet laureate.
Other Notable Songs:
For more than 25 years, Brownsville, Brooklyn’s Masta Ace has epitomized versatility as an MC. As one of the younger Juice Crew members, Duval Clear used his bendable cadences and prodigious insights to string together his verses with ease. Due to his conversational-styled flow, Ace has been able to not only succeed at concept songs, but also, later in his career, Ace made narrative, thematic albums at a time when Hip-Hop was stuck in a la carte music-making.
Never a household name, Ace has been an MC’s MC, whether it was greatly influencing Eminem and D12, or being personally recruited by Spike Lee for a lineup of the Crooklyn Dodgers. Ace’s career is as interesting as any, and yet the EMC-focused rapper rarely relies on his Juice Crew credentials, his Masta Ace Inc. successes, or his salad days to serve up fresh audio meals. Timeless and ageless it seems, Masta Ace hits his every verse with a rookie’s energy and a veteran’s discernment. In addition to his role on archetypal posse cut, Marley Marl’s “The Symphony,” Masta Ace boasts heralded albums like 2001’s Disposable Arts. Without a plaque, Ace carries his medals of fan and peer support instead.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?