Finding The GOAT (Round 2): MCA vs. Slick Rick…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.

Two MCs who helped solidify Def Jam Records as the preeminent Hip-Hop label in the 80’s, MCA and Slick Rick are iconic voices, and styles within Hip-Hop. From an era where originality reigned supreme, both of these 1980s New Yorkers carved niches in delivery, substance, and style—on and off the microphone. With quality above quantity, both artists have over 30 years of Hip-Hop experience, true of Adam “MCA” Yauch at the time of his tragic 2012 death. Decorated with hits, influence, and literally carrying the culture to some of its plateaus over the last 25 years, these two Round 1 winners square off in a battle that will surely require some thought, examination, and careful consideration (click one one to vote).

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



Slick Rick

MCA (First Round Winner, Against MC Lyte 51% to 49%)


The late Adam Yauch revolutionized what an MC sounded like, looked like, and talked about. The Beastie Boys’ defacto front man brought a Punk Rock aesthetic to Hip-Hop in the 1980s. With ringer t-shirts, scuffed Stan Smiths, and some “inherited” lounge-wear, MCA was a true original. However, it’s what the Brooklynite said on the mic, and how he said it that matched this aesthetic. With a raspy, nasal voice, MCA complemented bandmates Mike D and Ad Rock brilliantly. Whether classic routines (“Three MCs and One DJ,” “Paul Revere”) or getting social (“An Open Letter To NYC,” “Too Many Rappers,”) the tragically missed rapper showed why he carried “MC” in his stage name.

In four different decades, MCA flexed his skills, influencing everybody from Cypress Hill to Nas. A multi-platinum artist who never pursued a solo music career, MCA thrived in showing Hip-Hop (at an incredibly high level) to many masses that were standing at the gate, with ties to Punk, Turntablism, Classic Rock, and Rare Groove.

Notable Tracks:

“Rhymin’ & Stealin'” (with Beastie Boys) (1986)
“Shadrach” (with Beastie Boys) (1989)
“Jimmy James” (with Beastie Boys) (1992)

Slick Rick (First Round Winner, Against Digital Underground’s Shock G 85% to 15%)


One of Hip-Hop’s foremost storytellers, Slick Rick’s output has been much more J.D. Salinger than Mark Twain. Born in England, the Bronx-native was the breakout complement to Doug E. Fresh & The Get Fresh Crew. With an unmistakeable voice, effortless delivery, and conversational approach to rapping, Rick could take seemingly nonsensical routines like “La Di Da Di,” and spin them into Rap folklore. After making a classic debut in 1988’s The Great Adventures Of Slick Rick, one of Hip-Hop’s most innovative, three-dimensional stars of the day was among the genre’s first to sacrifice his career to the judicial system. Accused of attempted murder, the Def Jam Records sensation would spend the better part of the next five years “behind bars.” Even still, MC Ricky D’s carryover material, such as 1994’s Behind Bars still had glimmering moments, despite being made by an artist who was hamstrung by wildly changing musical times since before his bid.

With just four albums, Rick has risen to the ranks of legends. In recent years, through appearances with his pupils (Outkast, Mos Def, Raekwon, Chamillionaire), “the eye-patch” is ageless. Never a gangsta rapper, Rick was able to combine the innocence of mid-’80s Hip-Hop with a mischievous side. Like any continental star, Rick has been inventive with story lines—from pizza parlor romances, to the mind of soldiers in the War On Terror. Now known as “The Ruler” (likely to avoid legal/label troubles), Rick is a Hip-Hop mystic, and like The D.O.C., a reminder that through hardship, tragedy, and limited output, icons are immortal.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Children’s Story” (1988)
“It’s A Boy” (1991)
“Auditorium” (with Mos Def) (2009)

So…who you got?

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