Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Grandmaster Melle Mel vs. DMC…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.
Grandmaster Melle Mel and Darryl “DMC” McDaniels represent two of Hip-Hop’s most iconic MCs, defining the role and the power of the voice for Rap’s first 10 years as much as anybody. Melle Mel beat out another pioneer in Ice-T by a 2% margin, while DMC grabbed twice as many votes for Round 1 as another MC-turned-household name actor, Will Smith (a/k/a The Fresh Prince). In a battle each man would appreciate, and one that they likely envisioned in their mind—especially in the early 1980s, these two living legends compare impact, with a true nail-biter (click one to vote):
Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
Grandmaster Melle Mel (First Round Winner, Against Ice-T 52% to 48%)
While Grandmaster Flash is one of Hip-Hop’s Godfather DJs, his group, The Furious Five, boasted some of the finest MCs of their day. Grandmaster Melle Mel, the front man of the crew was the transition from the block party presentations of the late ’70s and the “Hard Times” of Run-DMC in the mid-1980s. One of Hip-Hop’s first shirtless icons, and a sex symbol of the day, Melle Mel delivered a full arsenal of attributes that MCs in 2014 still need: a style, a pose, a signature ad-lib (rawr!), and bars for days.
Between 1979 and 1988, Melle Mel (like Kool Moe Dee) was one of the few (and supreme) MCs who could weather the generational shift in Hip-Hop. Songs like “The Message” were deeply instrumental in giving Rap tracks a cohesive point that served an oral purpose, while cuts like “Superrappin'” and “Beat Street” continuously fought for Melvin Glover’s place at the top of MCs. Even today, the Bronx, New Yorker performs relatively regularly, maintaining one of the most boisterous, entertaining live shows in Hip-Hop. Without a hit solo album to his credit, “Grand Master Muscles” as he’s sometimes dubbed is a master of the ceremony—actively showing new generations just what it took to touch a mic in the boogie down Bronx while it was burning, and to sell a 12″ in the days that predate the Rap album.
With rhyme partner Run and DJ Jam Master Jay, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels changed the sound, face, and possibility of Rap music in the 1980s. While Run’s persona had the sharp cadence, arrogant timbre, and a knack for storytelling, DMC had booming vocals, a versatile delivery, and a truly unique style. For all of the Rock references in Run-DMC to match their genre-fusing production, DMC hit the mic like a guitar hero. The perceived friendly one of the group, D MC was nothing nice on the mic, as he ousted suckas, chronicled the stresses of street life, or made getting a college degree incredibly fresh for the early 1980s.
Through seven albums, DMC was the ultimate band mate. He and Run thrived simply by complementing each other, in style and approach as well as in air-tight rhyme routines. Darryl masterfully transitioned the late 1970s nursery rhyme-style deliveries into punchier, more evolved presentation. “Here We Go – Live At The Funhouse” and “Mary, Mary” four years later show the progression, still within the framework. Using his voice truly as an instrument, DMC remains one of Rap’s truest trend-setters. Smooth with a hard delivery, this MC helped bring Rap’s cool-factor to arena status. On stage, on record, and especially in videos and photos, Darryl McDaniels will always be a king.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?