Finding The GOAT (Round 3): Game vs. Ludacris…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.
Game and Ludacris arguably represent two of the biggest upsets in the “Finding The GOAT” bracket. Luda’ more than doubled the votes of Missy Elliott, before ousting First Round Bye T.I. For Game, the polarizing figure beat Lil Wayne, the self-proclaimed “best rapper alive” in nearly double the votes. Perhaps both Luda’ and Jayceon were underrated entering the competition? Facing off should be interesting, as Ludaversal is freshly-arriving on shelves, and grabbing attention as some of the most courageous and honest work of Luda’s career—something not at play for previous rounds. Old collaborators, who will prevail among these highly-competitive mainstream MCs? Decide it right now. (click one to vote)
Voting For Round 3 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
For more than a decade, Game has been one of the most sensational Rap stars. Often in headlines for extra curricular activities, it was Jayceon Taylor who became the first new West Coast star in the 2000s, garnering acclaim not for singles, but a widely-considered classic debut, 2004’s The Documentary. Mentored by both Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, the onetime G-Unit member became the talk of the genre through affiliations, but his dues go back to the early 2000s, as a hungry independent MC, who showed his Hip-Hop fan-dom in nearly every verse.
Like KRS-One, 2Pac, or the aforementioned 50, Game was a student in realizing that sometimes it takes spectacle to get heard. As an artist in his early twenties, Game challenged cemented stars like 50, Jay Z, and Yukmouth. Bringing Gangsta Rap back into the mainstream conversation, Game also favored lyrics, high concept, and thematic albums. When Heads accused him of crutching high-profile help on his debut, Game stripped down his approach (and the star-power) on The Doctor’s Advocate. When Heads accused him of relying too closely on a West Coast image, “Chuck Taylor” went to the chapel on Jesus Piece. Game has been a malleable, in living color Rap star in the 2000s. He has never shied from controversy, conflict, or giving away his music, ideas, and strong opinions away for free. Game is one of the few 2000-something artists who can claim to have a classic album, multiple hit songs, and a platinum plaque. Polarizing, shocking, and a product of the 1990s industry tactics, Game has certainly done it on his terms.
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Ludacris’ booming voice was first heard on Atlanta radio (as Chris Lova Lova) for years. However, after rapping on the side, it was Scarface who heard something special in Chris Bridges, and made him the flagship first act of the short-lived Def Jam South imprint back at the turn of the millennium. Although Luda’s 1999 self-released Incognegro showcased a nice dose of what many Heads would later love about Luda’, this MC has greatly benefited from the major label system. Few artists can fill an album with hit-worthy songs as well as Luda, and all seven of the ATL rappers’ major label efforts have gone gold or better. He can work with DF artists, with Trap artists, Crunk artists, and Snap artists, and still stay true to self. Thereby, six times, Ludacris has been a part of the #1 song in the US, with half of those as his own tracks.
Like Snoop Dogg, Eminem, or LL Cool J, Ludacris is an institution. Fifteen years deep, Ludacris shows no signs of age or slowing down. Instead, the mainstay has tried to focus on theme and concept in his albums, sometimes sacrificing knee-jerk sales appeal. 2008’s Theater Of The Mind and 2010’s Battle Of The Sexes are among the MC’s most ambitious work, although the sales may have not matched. With command on stage and in stereo, Ludacris has both endured the evolution of Rap, and changed the game.
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So…who you got?