Finding The GOAT (Round 2): MF DOOM vs. Elzhi…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.
Squaring off next are two underground Hip-Hop veterans, who have had tastes of mainstream success in various ways. Each tied to groups, both MF DOOM and Elzhi found their greatest strides in solo work. Both MCs have tackled year-end lists, peer praise, and global fan-bases. These are loquacious lyricists with clearly defined styles and influences that have affected the mainstream (click on one to vote):
Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
Although DOOM’s Zevlove X era helped set the 1990s off, pain, homelessness, depression, addiction, and the loss of his KMD band-mate and real-life brother Subroc made a villain MC. Seeking refuge in art, Metal Face DOOM (a guard against the reminders of his identical twin brother) became among the most gifted MCs of the period. A product of the underground, Daniel Dumile kicked stream of consciousness lyrics, far-reaching oddball references, and bendable flows to a new level on releases like the cult-carried Operation Doomsday. With that niche, MF DOOM resurrected himself figuratively and commercially, staying busy, and rapping away as much pain as possible on a string of lyrically-advanced, oft-self-produced releases that brought new meaning to “spit.”
MF DOOM helped pioneer a stream of consciousness-informed style, with wit, far-reaching similes, and vulnerabilities. From an Elektra Records hopeful to a Fondle ‘Em vinyl-only artist to a charting MC, DOOM’s career is a testament to persistence, reinvention, and creativity above all else. With a style as unique as his image, this wordsmith is revered as one of the 25-year masters of ceremony in Hip-Hop.
Other Notable Tracks:
With work dating back to the late 1990s, Elzhi is an unsung hero in Detroit, Michigan’s Hip-Hop pinnacle. Surrounded by the stars of D, including Proof, Eminem, Slum Village, Phat Kat, Royce Da 5’9″, Invincible, Obie Trice and others, El’ emerged as a contender for one of the Motor City’s elite lyricists through self-made, underground tapes. This dogged persistence and respect for the craft would ultimately lead DJ House Shoes to take Elzhi’s music to J Dilla, who had hoped to produce the raw talent in the mid-2000s.
Sadly, fate had other plans. During that time however, as Dilla stepped away from his group, Slum Village, Elzhi ultimately stepped in, first as a guest, then as a full-time member by Trinity: Past, Present and Future. For four full-length albums, Elzhi maintained S.V., at times with only T3 as his band-mate. With a budding Black Milk (and Young RJ) on the boards, 2005’s self-titled album restored the excitement in the once cult-championed crew, thanks in large part to El’. Beyond Slum, El’ made an underground gem in 2008’s (Black Milk-produced) The Preface. There, Elzhi was able to lead his own charge with conceptual tracks about his city, as well as verbal gymnastics. On mixtapes, fans found the MC’s pocket, as El’ traipsed on sacred ground, making Elmatic, an ode to Nas‘ Illmatic. Risking career damage at a time he’d freshly left S.V., the look worked in El’s favor, making him poised to be on the rise, as seemingly always.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?