Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Q-Tip vs. Grand Puba…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.

Friends, collaborators, soldiers of the same unified front, Q-Tip and Grand Puba helped lead the charge of one of Hip-Hop’s happiest, and most colorful music eras. Each MC had cut their teeth in the ’80s, and brought those booming styles into their own, highly organic movements. One grabbed a host of plaques and award nominations, the other stands tall as a pillar of respect and artistry in his own class. Both active in making great music, and performing in recent years with their legendary groups, these two New Yorkers helped define what MC’ing meant in the 1990s. Which do you feel goes forward as the GOAT (click to vote)?

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



Grand Puba

Q-Tip (First Round Bye)


Q-Tip may very well be Hip-Hop’s most recognizable voice. Nasal and crisp, utterances by The Abstract from Queens, New York have been pressed up for more than 25 years. However, it’s the words themselves that have made that message so timeless, and indicative of Hip-Hop’s all-inclusive potential. Although he’s a DJ and highly-accomplished producer, the MC in Tip also looked to other genres in creating an impressionistic message about daily life, love, and joy. Jonathan Davis was a prodigious voice in Hip-Hop by 1990, and someone whose spectrum of experience, self-confidence, and ability to extend beyond genre have made his art nothing short of indelible.

For a decade with A Tribe Called Quest, as well as on a dynamic spectrum of his own materials, Q-Tip was emblematic of the Hip-Hop founders’ crates, with the ability to craft soulful, fun-loving, and proud lyrics. Versed in traditional routines, Tip (and longtime rhyme-partner Phife Dawg), built upon tight rehearsals with a free form style. Not only is the Native Tongues co-founder one of the elite MCs in Hip-Hop’s history, many can argue that it was his style, innovation, and sheer creativity that carried the culture from the rapping styles of the late ’80s through that of the mid-’90s. And when he seemed to have exited the conversation, Q-Tip—time and time again, seemed to “find a way” back into the milieu.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Youthful Expression” (with A Tribe Called Quest) (1990)
“Rap Promoter” (with A Tribe Called Quest) (1991)
“Renaissance Rap”

Grand Puba (First Round Winner, Against EPMD’s Parrish Smith 65% to 35%)


For more than 25 years, Grand Puba has been the consummate MC. A native of New Rochelle, New York, Maxwell Dion has thrived with effortless delivery. Whether delivering rhymes fast or slow, or transmitting cautionary tales, conscious verses, or simple odes to “skins,” Puba has been a resounding voice in Hip-Hop.

Originally a member of the Masters Of Ceremony in the late ’80s, Puba gained his greatest recognition with Sadat X, Lord Jamar, and DJ Alamo in Brand Nubian to follow. Often rhyming closely to the pocket of the track, the versatile rapper influenced a host of artists to follow, including The Notorious B.I.G. and Common. Whether Funk tracks or Hip-Hop/R&B blends, this onetime Elektra Records star’s track record was ahead of his time. Although Grand Puba Maxwell never scored a gold or platinum certification on his solo or group works, the New Yorker remains active in his fourth decade of styling on the microphone.

Noteworthy Tracks:

“Dynamite” (with Masters Of Ceremony) (1988)
“Slow Down” (with Brand Nubian) (1990)
“I Like It” (1995)

So…who you got?

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