Finding The GOAT (Round 3): KRS-One vs. Chuck D…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 receice a bye for Round 4.

Two microphone monsters square up next. Chuck D and KRS-One have careers that parallel. Beginning in the mid-1980s, through to today, these blitzkrieg lyricists were contemporaries, collaborators, and two militant voices for peace and equality. Both Round 1 byes, these men rolled right over respected competition by massive margins. With classic catalog, a healthy heap of hits, and verses taken as Hip-Hop scripture, this is another championship-worthy showdown, popping up in Round 3 (click one to vote).



Chuck D



(Second Round Winner, Against Masta Ace 82% to 18%)
(First Round Bye)

It was KRS-One who adapted MC from entertainer into poet, philosopher, and teacher—coining and living the term “edutainment.” In reality, the Bronx, New Yorker born Larry “Kris” Parker is self-taught, a onetime homeless youth who channeled his aggression and outsized charisma into the competitive battlefield of Hip-Hop. From his introduction, Blastmasta stepped to pioneers like Grandmaster Melle Mel (“I’m Still #1), before squaring off against contemporaries including MC Shan and Marley Marl (“The Bridge Is Over”), and challenging the intentions of classes of rappers to come (“Ova Here”).

The founder of H.E.A.L., Stop The Violence and the Temple Of Hip-Hop has stood tall as a critical link in Hip-Hop’s lineage. From Boogie Down Productions to his solo career, KRS has been able to uphold an improvisational, park-jam style, still dropping quotably insightful commentary three decades after his debut. His delivery consistently points to Rap’s roots in Dancehall, and preserving the elements of the culture. With emphatic cadences, uncompromising sincerity, and a litany of “blueprints,” the Teacha is Hip-Hop’s poet laureate.

Other Notable Songs:

“I’m Still #1” (with Boogie Down Productions) (1988)
“Self-Destruction” (with the Stop The Violence Movement)
“Outta Here” (1993)


Chuck D

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)

(Second Round Winner, Against Lord Finesse 78% to 22%)
(First Round Bye)

So…who you got?

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