Finding The GOAT (Round 3): Bun B vs. Scarface…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.
With more than 50 years combined, Scarface and Bun B are the cornerstones of Hip-Hop. Not only that, both these two mammoth influences are from the same region, Houston and Port Arthur, Texas, respectively. Longtime Rap-A-Lot Records label mates, these men established themselves through iconic groups, Geto Boys and UGK, and then differentiated proud, heralded solo careers. With far less resources than many of their Rap peers, these men have struck platinum, gold, and hit record pay-dirt, time and time again. Both artists established a proud identity for the Lone Star State and Southern Hip-Hop alike, bridging the gap between ringtone sensations and enduring classic music. After ‘Face defeated Bun B’s late Underground Kingz partner Pimp C in Round 2, can he extend his streak to three rounds? Will Bun B, who was the beneficiary of a First Round Bye, continue to show that his iron-clad catalog consistency can box out well-heeled peers? Your ballot may decide the fate: (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 Mystikal 76% to 24%)
(First Round Bye)
The Trill O.G. Bun B has manifested a wise-uncle, nice guy image throughout Hip-Hop in the last 10 years. In fact a grandfather, Bernard Freeman is one of the coldest, most ruthless voices on the mic, especially as found on early UGK records. The Port Arthur, Texas MC combined his love of Rap with an iron-clad G-code surrounding all things. For four albums, Bun Beata and Pimp C chipped away at the barriers holding back their immense musical, lyrical, and personal influence. By the early 2000s, the wall was down, and the longtime gold-selling artists had a #1 album, an “international” hit, and the new crop of MCs hanging on their every cue.
B’s drawl, cadence, and convincing tones made him a unique MC. Influenced greatly by the rigid flows of Ice-T and Too Short, Bun added versatility, in delivery much like his spectrum of subject matters. A B-Boy in the first place, Bun’s work—with the Underground Kingz and solo—fought to prove that his city (not just Houston or Texas) had talent, substance, and style. More than 25 years deep, Bun B remains one of the most active, trusted, and respected O.G. voices in Hip-Hop, not just from what he’s done, but what he is still doing.
Other Notable Songs:
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.
So…who you got?