Finding The GOAT (Round 3): Big Daddy Kane vs. Kool G Rap…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.

For nearly five years, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap worked elbow to elbow. The Juice Crew, although never releasing an album, is regarded in the same conversations as N.W.A., Wu-Tang Clan, Beastie Boys, and Geto Boys in terms of the greatest Rap crews featuring at least three MCs. Within Marley Marl’s Queens-Brooklyn-Long Island contingency, no rapping forces garnered more attention or praise than Kane and G Rap. This rivalry reportedly spilled into the group. Collaborators (to this day), friends, and label-mates, these men operated with the internal motivation to best each others’ work. When Kane toyed with R&B and traded Bally’s for boxer-briefs, G assumed the street audience that felt neglected. When Kool G set aside the lyricism in pursuit of simplistic Gangsta Rap bars and Horror-core themes, Kane injected a soul-savvy arrogance into his work, filling the void. This match-up is exactly the kind of debate that happens offline. These two living legends are forever tied together, one a mainstream embraced Rap icon, the other an underground luminary, who was too raw for TV, too didactic for Top 40, and who was more “Talk Like Sex” than Madonna’s Sex. Seven months deep into Finding The GOAT, Ambrosia For Heads hopes to host this great debate for once and for all. (click one to vote)

Voting For Round 3 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets

Big Daddy Kane


Kool G Rap


Big Daddy Kane

(Second Round Winner, Against Kool Keith 79% to 21%)
(First Round Bye)

In terms of commanding mic controlling, Big Daddy Kane staked his claim early. The Brooklyn, New Yorker emerged in the mid-1980s battle-scene carrying a unique balance of lethal confidence and unaffected smoothness. Antonio Hardy is able to rap extremely fast, making a nonstop case for his supremacy as an MC. After linking with Marley Marl’s Juice Crew, King Asiatic began work on 1988’s Long Live The Kane, one of the highest-regarded Hip-Hop albums of all-time. Big Daddy was a master at blending audiences, by offering something for lyric-seekers, routine lovers, ’70s R&B fans, as well as those simply thriving upon vibe. Arguably more so than other elite GOATs, Big Daddy Kane took a gold-certified style, and adapted and tooled with it on each LP, from the seductive (Taste Of Chocolate) to the hardcore B-boy (Looks Like A Job For…). Never a Top 10-selling artist, Big Daddy Kane is a stone in the sand reminder that skills may be the tortoise to the hare, and artists can reach sales benchmarks simply based upon quality.

Following 1998’s Veteranz’ Day, Big Daddy Kane has shunned solo albums for more than 15 years—leading some to question his ability to command an album in the new millennium. However, as evidenced in the Dave Chappelle’s Block Party music documentary, Kane’s live show—which he offers regularly—dwarfs his Rap peers, 20 years his junior. The confidence, moves and finesse remain in tact. In critical guest spots ranging from Big L to Little Brother, Kane teases Heads with deft lyrics that are to the level he produced in the ’80s and ’90s. Like a champ with the belt, Big Daddy Kane walks uncontested—a GOAT in his own, and the minds of legions of others. In history, weighted upon influence, album-making, and pinnacle star-power, Big Daddy Kane just might be the original, and perhaps the only GOAT.

Other Notable Songs:

“The Symphony” (with Kool G. Rap, Craig G and Masta Ace) (1988)
“Warm it Up Kane” (1989)
“Young, Gifted And Black” (1989)



Kool G Rap

(Second Round Winner, Against Ras Kass 77% to 23%)
(First Round Winner, Against Sadat X 85% to 15%)

It can be argued that 1988’s impact of MCs has a lot to do with the true arrival of the Kool Genius of Rap. Kool G Rap, as he’s now known, employed a fast-paced lyricism that made incredible use of cadence. With an unmistakeable rasp and lisp, the Queens MC was the enforcer within Marley Marl’s Juice Crew. From his breakthrough appearance on “The Symphony,” G Rap literally rhymed off the reels. Transitioning from the mid-1980s more simple style, Kool G presented rhymes in a fast scribble, legible to lyric lovers.

Beyond presentation, G Rap is an innovator of content. In his his three albums with DJ Polo, Kool joined Schoolly D and Just-Ice as a pioneering East Coast gangsta rapper. Robberies, dice games, prison bids, rough sex, and drug sales were at play in G Rap songs, a “Rated X” opposition to commercially successful, PG-13 peers including DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince, Kid N’ Play, Salt N’ Pepa, and even G Rap’s crew brethren Big Daddy Kane. An MC’s MC to the fullest degree, Giancana remains a pillar of innovation, technique, and style. Just as he made three-piece suit jackets, unlit cigars, and top hats a popular move for photographs and album covers, Kool G Rap is an architect on the ’90s style that artists are emulating today.

Other Notable Songs:

“The Symphony” (with Marley Marl, Big Daddy Kane, Craig G & Masta Ace) (1988)
“Men At Work” (with Kool G Rap & DJ Polo) (1989)
“A Thug’s Love Story (Parts I, II, & III)” (1998)

So…who you got?

Related: Check Out The Finding The GOAT Round 3 Ballots & Round 3 Results