Finding The GOAT (Round 3): Snoop Dogg vs. Guru…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.
Both Snoop Dogg and Guru are associated with two of Hip-Hop’s GOAT producers. Along the way, Guru and Snoop Dogg proved to be masters in their own right. Although each MC employed a slower—often simple-based flow, each transmitted clearly, effectively, and quite quotably to hit the 1990s and 2000s with everlasting verses about what really goes on in the streets, the hearts of men, and how Hip-Hop is timeless. Tha Doggfather was a First Round bye who beat another vet, MJG, by four times the votes. Meanwhile, Guru climbed over two collaborators, friends, and peers in Large Professor and J. Dilla, both by massive margins. Snoop and Gang Starr maintained close ties, despite their opposing surroundings. Now, the two allies face off (click one to vote):
(Second Round Winner, Against MJG 80% to 20%)
(First Round Bye)
Snoop Dogg rivals all Rap peers in immediate impact. The Long Beach, California native appeared under the tutelage of Dr. Dre on just one soundtrack single, and had the whole world yearning for more. Calvin Broadus, a student of Dana Dane, Smooth B, and Slick Rick, combined charisma, storytelling, and conversational flows with his own environment: gang-infested streets, crooked cops, and laid-back escapism enjoyed with weed and female companionship. Starting with a show-stealing role on Dre’s Chronic, Snoop let loose one of the most cohesive, anticipated, and even more satisfying debut albums in 1993’s Doggystyle.
In the more than 20 years since he first delivered a classic album, Snoop has both chased repetition, and evolved with a host of new styles. Experimental yet authentic, the 213 alum is a touchstone to the wild West Coast days, adaptable to any rhyme partner, production style, and subject matter. With courageous creativity, Snoop has toyed with Bounce (Da Game Is To Be Sold, Not To Be Told), dabbled with raw percussive elements (R&G), chanted Reggae (as Snoop Lion), and shed light on his love of jheri-curl R&B (Ego Trippin’). When the Heads called for it, Snoop revisited his roots on reconstructive G-Funk albums such as Top Dogg and Blue Carpet Treatment too. Always a chart-topping draw, Snoop may be one of Hip-Hop’s true ambassadors, and most versatile-yet-genuine voices.
“It’s mostly the voice,” Guru once reflected about himself. With a smoky delivery, Guru stood apart since his late 1980s introduction to the Hip-Hop masses. A Boston, Massachusetts native, Guru brought his wisdom, his strong Jazz influence, and his voracious reading with him in a relocation to Brooklyn, New York (as chronicled on “The P.L.A.N.E.T.“). That unique sense of self translated beautifully into Gang Starr, the unit, that with partner, DJ Premier, created a perfect balance of street-savvy, gun-totin’ strength, with calming, righteous knowledge. On the microphone, Guru often spoke slowly and clearly, more about substance than style. However, as Gang Starr’s sounds evolved with the message, Keith Elam found a place on the Rap map that was all his own. He sprinkled in songs about authenticity, work ethic, and discipline, making the verses and meaning timeless, and worthy of repeat listens.
On the solo side, Guru continued to bridge that gap with his Jazzmatazz concept, exploring Hip-Hop and Spoken Word set against a plethora of musical styles over more than four albums. A messenger MC to the fullest, the dearly missed Guru manifested his words in more than 20 years of great music.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?