Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Lil Wayne vs. Game…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.
The next two artists to line up are longtime friends, collaborators, and perhaps—for the moment—label-mates. Both of these artists found success quickly in their careers, and have been wildly unafraid of risk-taking, ruffling the feathers of those around them, and throwing verbal hay-makers at the top of the Rap class. The acts of courage presumably worked, as the N.O. and the CPT MCs maintain massively loyal fan-bases, major brands, and tirelessly give music away, while successfully releasing commercial efforts to boot. They say “to be the king, you have to act like the king”—so each of these young royals plays chess for the next round in GOAT (click on one to vote):
Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
Lil Wayne (First Round Bye)
Few artists have evolved as expansively as Lil Wayne. In the ’90s, upon his entrance to the music industry, he was a Cash Money Hot Boy. With simpler bars and largely materialistic-focused content, it was Wayne’s unmistakeable voice that made him a stand-out besides Juvenile and B.G. By the mid-2000s, entranced in a syrupy psychedelia, Dwayne Carter, Jr.’s bid to be the self-proclaimed “Best Rapper Alive” took form quickly, and unexpectedly. Even Wayne’s greatest naysayers and “bling bling” skeptics did not see 2005’s Tha Carter 2 coming, backed by an assembly line onslaught of free mixtape material to feed the streets. Often comparing himself to a goblin, Wayne took on a demonic approach to delivering breathless verses filled with stylish wordplay, hood-rich wisdom, and frequent jabs at Rap’s elite such as Nas, Jay Z and 50 Cent.
Since declaring himself a champion MC, Wayne has maintained a multi-platinum core. Many of his high-profile singles and features upset purists, but with the flick of the switch, Wayne finds ways to serve up fresh bars as acclaimed as any lyricist of the last 10 years. The New Orleans, Louisiana native has many styles, many moods, and ever-changing opinions of life and the world around him. This unpredictable quality has made Weezy F. Baby’s music coveted, all while being widespread. His 2008 effort, Tha Carter III went platinum in one week, as the Recession was confirmed in the US economy and the music industry. In a “drought” or in a Wayne-storm, this MC is the lyrical anti-hero, with a reason that he’s been able to call himself “The Best Rapper Alive.”
Other Notable Songs:
For more than a decade, Game has been one of the most sensational Rap stars. Often in headlines for extra curricular activities, it was Jayceon Taylor who became the first new West Coast star in the 2000s, garnering acclaim not for singles, but a widely-considered classic debut, 2004’s The Documentary. Mentored by both Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, the onetime G-Unit member became the talk of the genre through affiliations, but his dues go back to the early 2000s, as a hungry independent MC, who showed his Hip-Hop fan-dom in nearly every verse.
Like KRS-One, 2Pac, or the aforementioned 50, Game was a student in realizing that sometimes it takes spectacle to get heard. As an artist in his early twenties, Game challenged cemented stars like 50, Jay Z, and Yukmouth. Bringing Gangsta Rap back into the mainstream conversation, Game also favored lyrics, high concept, and thematic albums. When Heads accused him of crutching high-profile help on his debut, Game stripped down his approach (and the star-power) on The Doctor’s Advocate. When Heads accused him of relying too closely on a West Coast image, “Chuck Taylor” went to the chapel on Jesus Piece. Game has been a malleable, in living color Rap star in the 2000s. He has never shied from controversy, conflict, or giving away his music, ideas, and strong opinions away for free. Game is one of the few 2000-something artists who can claim to have a classic album, multiple hit songs, and a platinum plaque. Polarizing, shocking, and a product of the 1990s industry tactics, Game has certainly done it on his terms.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?