Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Busta Rhymes vs. Killer Mike…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 tour de forces with the microphone, meet in Round 2. Busta Rhymes beat out some Wu-Tang Clan royalty to advance with his boisterous energy, mach-one flow, and archetype cadence. Killer Mike upset (according to some) Goodie Mob’s Cee-Lo Green by more than double the votes, to try to Run The Jewels against another esteemed ’90s Rap veteran. Both MCs are tied into a series of touted crews, labels, and movements—both with hits, club anthems, underground gems, and a plethora of potent guest verses. But who goes forth (click to vote)?

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

Busta Rhymes


Killer Mike

Busta Rhymes (First Round Winner, Against Inspectah Deck 59& to 41%)


Among 25 year veterans of commercial Rap, evolving images and changing sounds appear to be a commonality. However, few have been as successful at being dope over the last four decades as Busta Rhymes. Knighted and named by Chuck D, this Long Island native has blitzed Hip-Hop with one of its fastest flows and most versatile deliveries. He’s constantly been able to say meaningful messages since he was a smiling teen in Leaders Of The New School through to his hulking days rolling with Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, and Eminem.

Like Q-Tip, Ice Cube, or Ghostface Killah, Busta’s breakout begins with shining in a crew (L.O.N.S/Native Tongues) of highly-talented MCs. With an unmistakeable delivery, Busta had a rasp, malleable flow, and unrivaled microphone animation that made him a sought-after guest before guest-work was in vogue. By the mid-1990s, Busta’s outer-worldly vision of album-making made works like The Coming immune to shifting attentions and presentations in Hip-Hop. Busta enjoyed multi-platinum success rapping to masses who were unaware of two great group albums, or his days running in the underground. Rather than adapt East, West, or Southern styles throughout his career, Busta Rhymes has simply rapped his ass off, and favored beats that thumped on dance-floors, headphones, and trunk sub-woofers.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Sobb Story” (with Leaders Of The New School) (1991)
“Gimme Some More” (1998)
“Don’t Get Carried Away” (with Nas) (2006)

Killer Mike (First Round Winner, Against Cee-Lo Green 69% to 31%)


One part Southern preacher, other part gang leader, Killer Mike’s music has been one of the best things to happen to Hip-Hop in the last decade. A disciple from the Dungeon Family, Adamsville, Georgia’s Michael Render brought fervor, conviction, and passion to the fullest to an early 2000s Hip-Hop scene that preferred swagger over sweat. By the 2010s, Mike’s messages have risen to the top of counter-culture, and his self-released and independent works have eclipsed his gold-certified major label debut.

Just as he is on television and on interviews, Mike Bigga’s music is a brilliant balance of rebellion, information, and ambition. Like a political activist, Killer Kill’s talking interludes on works like 2008’s I Pledge Allegiance II The Grind rank alongside his monstrous hits, whether assisted by Outkast or El-P (as Run The Jewels). Raised on Rap that was militant, challenging, and book-smart, Mike has been an extension of artists that he’s sought out to work with: Ice Cube, Geto Boys, and of course, ‘Kast. In 10 years, Killer Mike has enjoyed sales and underground acclaim, he’s been a successful touring artist and played the feature position effectively. Moreover, the MC mentored the likes of Gangsta Pill, SL Jones, and others through his vast ventures. Explosive, authentic, and complex, Killer Mike may be one of Rap’s GOATS, especially under the age of 40.

Other Notable Songs:

“2 Sides” (with Shawty Lo) (2008)
“Burn” (2011)
“Go!” (2012)

So…who you got?

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