Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Scarface vs. Pimp C…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.
Scarface and Pimp C helped (and are still helping) make the case for Texas being one of Rap’s richest soils, in terms of talent and originality. Both artists, as MCs/producer combos, put in work dating back to the 1980s. Scarface became a Lone Star pioneer through the Geto Boys and his Rap-A-Lot Records solo catalog. Later joining R.A.L. as a soloist, Pimp C made Port Arthur, Texas a permanent landmark on the Hip-Hop map, providing his own Slab music subtleties. These men worked together, influenced each other, and together gave Texas the edge that would make Drake, A$AP Rocky, and Big K.R.I.T. take notes. Scarface was a landslide winner against another 30-year Gangsta Rap O.G. in MC Eiht for Round 1, while Pimp C just skirted by another Rap-A-Lot/Facemob artist (Devin The Dude), who has sales or praise even close to his own. Much to the chagrin of lovers of skillful Gangsta Rap from the H-Town area, these two icons square off to see which will advance to Round 3 (click one to vote):
Voting For Round 2 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
A keystone of the Geto Boys, ‘Face began his career as Akshun, a booming Houston, Texas dancer-turned-DJ-turned-vocalist who was likened (by self, anyway) to Tony Montana. The teenaged MC’s introspection, honesty, and constantly troubled, manic depressive ways gave the Geto Boys a collective depth, and human side not easily found in contemporaries like N.W.A or 2 Live Crew. Parallel to his Geto Boys career, ‘Face made deeper, darker, and more daring albums on his own. As far back as 1991, the MC defied the dismissive views toward Southern rappers, with an amazing voice, smooth dialect, and plenty to say about himself and the world. As Hip-Hop transitioned from the shock value of N.W.A and Geto Boys to more horror-centered themes found in Spice-1, Method Man, and Ice Cube, Brad Jordan was ready. The Rap-A-Lot mainstay offered The Diary, one of the hallmarks of 1994. Short of Tupac, few Hip-Hop artists have been as successful in balancing careers, from solo to Geto Boys to Facemob, to guest work, to helping develop enduring acts (Ludacris, Devin, Made Men) at Rap-A-Lot and elsewhere.
In the 2000s, through the championing of artists like Jay Z, Nas, and Houston’s 2005 revival, Scarface became one of the genre’s Mount Rushmore-worthy lyricists. Always viewed as an underdog, 2000’s “My Block” and its album The Fix gave Scarface the fanfare he’s forever deserved in his lone studio album off of Rap-A-Lot. Delving further into Southern Rock, Blues and Funk roots, Scarface picked up a guitar and put down a lot of the vices in his life—never getting preachy, just being wiser on record. With classic albums in three different decades, Scarface may just be the kingpin.
A disciple of Too Short, Pimp C remains one of the coldest, rudest, and most original MCs in Hip-Hop music. While behind the boards, Chad Butler pioneered “Slab Music.” The Port Arthur, Texas native was nice on the mic too. The late UGK co-founder adopted the Rap approach of talkin’ slick, braggin’ big, and presenting lyrics in a slow and smooth style rather than flipping words quickly similarly to contemporaries like WC, E-40, and Kool G Rap.
Instead, Pimp C ran with a style that was influenced by Schoolly D, Big Daddy Kane, and Ice-T. He reported from the streets, big on the details and heavy on the attitude. In turn, the onetime Jive and Rap-A-Lot star influenced a crop of today’s artists, ranging from Drake and Yo Gotti to T.I. and Lil Wayne. Throughout much of his career, Pimp made a vocation out of dissing nameless peers, talking big, and putting down the little guys. While this tried and true old school technique predates UGK and Sweet James Jones, the honorable Chad found a way to make braggadocious raps succeed in the 1990s. In terms of bare skill, Pimp C may be too straightforward for some purists. However, based on pure influence and impact, it could be argued that more than any artist, living or dead, Pimp C’s music, vision, and demeanor was a decade ahead of its time as far as commercial Rap.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?