Finding The GOAT (Round 2): Chuck D vs. Lord Finesse…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.

The final bye-week addition to Round 2, Public Enemy’s Chuck D steps into the bracket to face another veteran New York City MC/producer. Lord Finesse rolled over N.W.A.’s Eazy-E in what many could perceive as an upset, at least in sales and status. Now up against another Rap legend, things get especially interesting between the two artists tied to major, lasting movements. Round 2 is nearing its close, with a serious grande finale, as indicated by this match-up (click one to vote):

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

Chuck D


Lord Finesse

Chuck D (First Round Bye)


In an era focused on style, Chuck D stood up for substance. The front man for iconic Hip-Hop band Public Enemy, Carlton Ridenhour refused to let anybody put him, his voice, or his crew in the corner. For more than 30 years, the Long Island, New York native commanded the masses, transmitting information rooted in facts, figures, and the unwavering purpose of knocking down institutional oppressors. In between, Mistachuck could kick a mean verse and manage to have fun, brag hard, and rap, produce, and perform “louder than a bomb.”

As a songwriter, the fist-pumping MC penned classic hits and albums, including “Fight The Power” and It Takes A Nation Of Millions To Hold Us Back. Between 1987 and 1992, few could contest Chuck D’s sheer force, lyrical density and ability to reach beyond the Hip-Hop Generation. The MC garnered podiums at heralded universities, respect across the industry, and support from the Funk, Metal, and international community. Forever active, Chuck–now an author, radio host, and lecturer–continues to perform his smashes, while forever writing new, potent essay-like raps. Truly a “rebel without a pause,” Chuck D’s career impact stands for the infinite potential of Rap.

Other Notable Tracks:

“You’re Gonna Get Yours” (with Public Enemy) (1987)
“Welcome To The Terrordome” (with Public Enemy) (1990)
“I” (with Public Enemy) (1999)

Lord Finesse (First Round Winner, Against Eazy-E 59% to 41%)


At the start of the 1990s, Lord Finesse was one of Rap’s most exciting young voices. The Bronx, New Yorker was part of the Diggin’ In The Crates collective that was mentored by DJ Jazzy Jay. Finesse in particular was one of the crew’s most rugged mouth-pieces, an arrogant voice of reason who had the self-confidence of Rakim with the quick wit of Big Daddy Kane. A highly-accomplished producer and DJ to boot, Finesse laced the bulk of his own tracks on The Funky Technician and Return Of The Funky Man. Although many of Robert Hall, Jr’s songs focused on his come-up, his love of rapping and producing, and staying active with the ladies, the presentation was elite. Although Finesse’s protege Big L is widely touted as a punchline champ, many of those maneuvers can be traced to the music of his mentor.

Early in his career, Finesse was courted by Ice-T to join Rhyme Syndicate, where he would release his sophomore album. Interestingly, of his three studio solo LPs, Lord never stayed on the same imprint. Following 1996’s The Awakening diversion at Penalty Records, Lord Finesse nearly completely halted his rapping. Like D.I.T.C. brethren Showbiz, Finesse focused on production and DJ’ing, lacing tracks for Dr. Dre, The Notorious B.I.G., Fat Joe, and Capone-N-Noreaga. When his Rap skills are called for, the forty-something has not lost a bit of a sophisticated true-school flow, B-boy bravado, or the humor that made his records multi-dimensional. The producer who allegedly taught DJ Premier how to chop samples still has his MC chops, as Heads anticipate the fourth album, nearly 20 years later.

Other Notable Songs:

“Kicking Flavor With My Man” (with Percee P) (1992)
“Funky On The Fast Tip” (1992)
“Brainstorm P.S.K.” (with KRS-One and O.C.) (1996)

So…who you got?

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