Finding The GOAT (Round 3): Method Man vs. Black Thought…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 careers that parallel in more than a few ways, Method Man and Black Thought have sustained nearly 25 years, respectively, in music through showmanship and consistency. Label-mates in recent years, both of these MCs are highly versed in airtight rhyme routines, impeccable lyrical timing, and advanced wordplay, which they acquired as more than novice students of 1980s Rap at its best. Making their own way through two legendary groups in their own right, both Mef’ and Tariq understand how to grab the spotlight and also how to share it, complementing their bandmates with an altruism and give-and-go approach rarely seen from skilled MCs. As Iron Lung has taken long hiatuses from albums in his extensive, multi-platinum career, Thought has never actualized the MCA Records solo effort he started more than 15 years ago. In these times, both artists have thrived in reaching their bases through second-to-none live shows, energetic and dynamic performances, and bringing Hip-Hop to its original venue: the stage much more often than relying wholly on the studio. While Method Man bested (and arguably upset) Common in the midst of an Oscar run and a career revival, Black Thought immediately boxed out Wu-Tang royalty in Chef Raekwon to show Round 1 he was not for play, in another potential underdog upper-cut. Pure masters of ceremony, undeniable mic controllers, these two 1993 alums represent the elevated, iconic crop of talent forced to face off in Round 3. (click one to vote)

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

Method Man


Black Thought


Method Man

(Second Round Winner, Against Common 55% to 45%)
(First Round Winner, Against The LOX’ Styles P 76% to 24%)

For more than 22 years, Method Man has hit the microphone like an “iron lung.” The Staten Island MC has one of the genre’s most recognizable voices, with a liquid-like delivery. Off the wall wordplay, distinct cadence, and a disregard for conventions (coughing, sniffing, and hoarse deliveries) made Method Man the most crossover star of Wu-Tang Clan.

One of Hip-Hop’s most jovial personalities is fiercely competitive, and despite a prominent Hollywood career, “Mef” never sugar-coated his songs, or aimed them at radio. Instead the early ’90s innovator struck his most resonant chords in making heartfelt songs about love, survival, and all out warfare. With early cosigns from The Notorious B.I.G., Spice 1, and LL Cool J, Meth—like many Clansmen and his partner Redman, bridged the gap between Hip-Hop of the 1980s and that of the 2000s. Meth has never lost his chip on his shoulder, and has forever gripped the mic refusing to take a beat, or be outdone. This MC brought animated, character-driven MCs back to the forefront, and never lost a step into the 2010s, giving his core what they wanted, and staying the course in the theory that slow-and-steady wins the race, blowing smoke the whole way to the finish line.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Method Man” (1993)
“Bring The Pain” (1994)
“Mef Vs. Chef 2” (with Raekwon & Ghostface Killah) (2010)



Black Thought

(Second Round Winner, Against Beanie Sigel 79% to 21%)
(First Round Winner, Against Raekwon 57% to 43%)

In a 20-plus-year career, with songs ranging from jam band stream of consciousness to ferocious battle-style verses to introspective commentary, is anybody as diverse as Black Thought? Tariq Trotter is a ’90s MC with ’80s timing and delivery, and a 2000s-style connection with his city and emotions. Philadelphia-raised and long accepted through his work in New York City, Black Thought is totally different than the norm—and he even uses microphones unlike his peers to remind Heads. Despite grumblings and a handful of records and a mixtape, Thought has never released a solo album. Instead, The Roots’ front man (also an Okay Player and Money Making Jam Boy) has been a team player, gifted at bending genre, sharing stages, and as he does on nearly every weeknight of the year—blending his skills with anyone’s sound. With a number of heralded albums and songs, this is a purist’s MC with unfathomable endurance, on the mic and in his career.

Like so many vocalists to bands, Black Thought is tireless at making songs, conceptualizing ideas, and perhaps more than any MC in Hip-Hop history, performing. As a rapper and singer, Thought’s contributions through The Roots are deeply understated, as one of the true showmen in the genre and culture has forever kept the party moving with an approach that honors the greats.

Other Notable Tracks:

“Thought @ Work” (with The Roots) (2002)
“Cause I’m Black” (with Styles P) (2008)
“75 Bars (Black’s Reconstruction)” (with The Roots) (2007)

So…who you got?

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