Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Action Bronson vs. Joell Ortiz…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 new era New York Giants are among the final Round 2 contestants to face off. Joell Ortiz and Action Bronson are two prime examples of MCs who brought the early ’90s lyrical edge back to the five boroughs, and the charts. From Brooklyn and Queens, respectively, these two animated voices line ’em up for a grudge match. Joell shocked the bracket, beating Pusha T by more than 10% in Round 1. Bam Bam Bronson tied Logic in the Wild Card, before winning the subsequent showdown by nearly double the votes, despite considerably less overall album scans than Logic has. Now, after all the bumps and bruises in the road, these survivors see who can be the last MC standing (click to vote):

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

Action Bronson


Joell Ortiz

Action Bronson (Wild Card Tie-Breaker Winner, Against Logic 66% to 34%)


With humor, flare, and a keen descriptive sense, Action Bronson went from deep underground MC to burgeoning blog artist to mainstream MC in three years. The Flushing, Queens native applied an anachronistic New York City experience to his rhymes about sex, food, and dreams of grandeur. Initially a professional chef, Bronson’s ability to use classic Rap recipes with modernized palette pleasers has made his offerings highly sought after, especially considering his ceaseless output.

With a high-profile, hugely-anticipated major label full-length debut, Mr. Wonderful, slated for later this month, Arian Asllani aims to body slam the charts as he does with stage-rushers. Although he’s a relative newcomer, the MC who’s been kicking around on mixtapes since 2010 has been a peer tutor to RiFF RaFF, Joey Bada$$, and Chance The Rapper in stride. A clear disciple of Ghostface Killah, Bronson aims carve his own lane with evolved, full-bodied material.

Other Notable Songs:

“Night Court” (2011)
“Buddy Guy” (2011)
“Contemporary Man” (with Party Supplies) (2012)

Joell Ortiz (First Round Winner, Against The Clipse’s Pusha T 56% to 44%)


Joell Ortiz has prepared a deeply-authentic New York City experience in his verses for more than 15 years. The Brooklyn, New York native’s career began on 12″ singles in the last glory days of Rawkus Records. With a unique cadence and brassy vocal tone, Ortiz’s ability to depict an Everyman lifestyle, on the edge of the law, has made him relateable to so many. Prior to Joell’s solo debut, Dr. Dre courted the artist formerly known as Jo-Ell Quickman to Aftermath Entertainment. When the deal failed to produce fruit, Ortiz’s grind made his own path through records that had minimalistic production, and blitzkrieg rhymes.

In just three albums, Joell’s proved to be a sustainable underground act. Meanwhile, now under the tutelage of Eminem, Jo’s Slaughterhouse crew and he have achieved a much-deserved level of mainstream success. From Em to Dre, Showbiz to Alchemist, DJ Premier to Just Blaze, Hip-Hop’s elite producers have clamored to work with the deft MC who flips words with precision, stuffed with accounts of an under-sung NYC. Both self-confident and self-deprecating, Joell’s catalog has been built to last, and with a career that’s truly taken form in just seven years, this GOAT is running up the hill.

Other Notable Songs:

“Move On” (with Slaughterhouse and The Kickdrums) (2009)
“Battle Cry” (with Just Blaze) (2010)
“Nissan, Honda, Chevy” (with Jim Jones) (2010)

So…who you got?

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