Finding The GOAT (Round 3): Andre 3000 vs. Q-Tip…Who You Got?
We have reached the third round in the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time). With 42 MCs remaining, 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. In a twist, the MC to win by the biggest margin in Round 3 will receive a bye for Round 4.
In the realm of Hip-Hop, Andre 3000 and Q-Tip have been some of the boldest artists in pushing boundaries, and redefining norms and conventions. Elite MCs (clearly), these creatives also produce, with respective interests in fashion, film, DJ’ing, and social and political causes. For nearly 50 combined years, 3 Stacks and The Abstract have held Hip-Hop music’s steering wheel, towing a strict line of quality over quantity. When there wasn’t music to be made, or a group had seemingly run its creative course, both artists courageously used hiatus. When labels mishandled careers (in this case, it was Arista/Jive for both acts), they refused to compromise the art. Andre is among the few living Rap artists who can claim to have a diamond-certified album, while Tip’s A Tribe Called Quest compartmentalized with his solo efforts may be the true artistic archetype for the 2010s. Grammy award winners with undisputed (perhaps multiple) classic albums under each, this pair of First Round bye—Second Round powerhouses are the epitome of a true great GOAT debate. So, in what may be the toughest ballot this vote, who goes forth? (click one to vote)
Voting For Round 3 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
(Second Round Winner, Against Black Moon’s Buckshot 82% to 18%)
(First Round Bye)
Outkast’s Andre 3000 joins Nas and The Notorious B.I.G. as one of the everlasting breakthrough artists of 1994. As a teenager at the time, Andre Benjamin quickly proved to be a source of insightful verses that are as much syncopated Spoken Word as they’re simply raps. The Atlanta, Georgia native is a poet who—to quote Khalil Gibran—”composes what life proses.” That very gift has made 3 Stacks a beacon to pimps, players, poets, philosophers, and preachers alike—in the same couplets and stanzas. His musings form enduring verses on the subjects of competition, sex, racism, exes, and simply hangin’ out, the Southern way.
In the course of his career, the MC (who also produces hit records for himself and others) has operated near-exclusively in the guise of Outkast. However, even without an album in nearly a decade, Andre 3000 has challenged his own silence with sporadic, highly-penetrating songs and mere 16-bar appearances. Whether he’s making the next ‘Kast moment, or simply having fun on a DJ Unk ringtone-hit remix, 3000 is able to make even the most fickle fan a listener. His catalog of songs largely feel like new, insightful commentary that stands tall, whether 1994, 2004, or 2014. He has classic albums, the upper-echelon of sales figures, and has made hits, whether working with Gwen Stefani or Devin The Dude. With a rich vocal tone amidst a Dirty South cadence, ‘Dre still has a clarity and adjustable flow that no one can mimic. Although he is never short on self-confidence, the quietest giant in the search for GOAT may be Andre 3000. Sometimes the best is the one who never claims to be.
Other Notable Songs:
(Second Round Winner, Against Brand Nubian’s Grand Puba 81% to 19%)
(First Round Bye)
Q-Tip may very well be Hip-Hop’s most recognizable voice. Nasal and crisp, utterances by The Abstract from Queens, New York have been pressed up for more than 25 years. However, it’s the words themselves that have made that message so timeless, and indicative of Hip-Hop’s all-inclusive potential. Although he’s a DJ and highly-accomplished producer, the MC in Tip also looked to other genres in creating an impressionistic message about daily life, love, and joy. Jonathan Davis was a prodigious voice in Hip-Hop by 1990, and someone whose spectrum of experience, self-confidence, and ability to extend beyond genre have made his art nothing short of indelible.
For a decade with A Tribe Called Quest, as well as on a dynamic spectrum of his own materials, Q-Tip was emblematic of the Hip-Hop founders’ crates, with the ability to craft soulful, fun-loving, and proud lyrics. Versed in traditional routines, Tip (and longtime rhyme-partner Phife Dawg), built upon tight rehearsals with a free form style. Not only is the Native Tongues co-founder one of the elite MCs in Hip-Hop’s history, many can argue that it was his style, innovation, and sheer creativity that carried the culture from the rapping styles of the late ’80s through that of the mid-’90s. And when he seemed to have exited the conversation, Q-Tip—time and time again, seemed to “find a way” back into the milieu.
Other Notable Tracks:
So…who you got?