Finding The GOAT (Round 4): Big Daddy Kane vs. Erick Sermon…Who You Got?

We have now reached the critical Round 4 in the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time). With 21 MCs remaining (with the largest winning margin, Rakim receives a bye for the round), things are really coming down to 10 match-ups, leading AFH’s bracket-style series towards its closing rounds. With more than 35 years of MCs taken into consideration, parsed into generational brackets, Round 4 will mark the last series of peer-based battles. In this elite class, only 10 rappers will go on to join Rakim in Round 5. Also, as with Round 3, the winner by the biggest margin in Round 4 will receive a bye in Round 5. Each battle in Round 4 will include full mixes showcasing the enormous talents of each MC. Who stays, and goes on? Only you can decide.

Big Daddy Kane and Erick Sermon are two Hip-Hop luminaries who helped bid to make 1988 a strong argument for the Rap genre’s greatest season. Two New Yorkers, these multi-talented MCs made bragging the thing to do, with thoughtful, engaging, and often humorous lyrics to boot. Both icons have been marathon sprinters, and showed their lyrical and stage process well into the 2010s. After Sermon knocked off a multi-platinum juggernaut in Dr. Dre, Kane bested his Juice Crew cohort Kool G Rap in one of the series’ most spirited duels. Can the Green-Eyed Bandit snatch a round from a King? Or will Big Daddy again prove that “No one’s Equal”? (click one to vote):

Voting For Round 4 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets

Big Daddy Kane


Erick Sermon


Big Daddy Kane

(Third Round Winner, Against Kool G Rap, 65% to 35%)
(Second Round Winner, Against Kool Keith 79% to 21%)
(First Round Bye)

In terms of commanding mic controlling, Big Daddy Kane staked his claim early. The Brooklyn, New Yorker emerged in the mid-1980s battle-scene carrying a unique balance of lethal confidence and unaffected smoothness. Antonio Hardy is able to rap extremely fast, making a nonstop case for his supremacy as an MC. After linking with Marley Marl’s Juice Crew, King Asiatic began work on 1988’s Long Live The Kane, one of the highest-regarded Hip-Hop albums of all-time. Big Daddy was a master at blending audiences, by offering something for lyric-seekers, routine lovers, ’70s R&B fans, as well as those simply thriving upon vibe. Arguably more so than other elite GOATs, Big Daddy Kane took a gold-certified style, and adapted and tooled with it on each LP, from the seductive (Taste Of Chocolate) to the hardcore B-boy (Looks Like A Job For…). Never a Top 10-selling artist, Big Daddy Kane is a stone in the sand reminder that skills may be the tortoise to the hare, and artists can reach sales benchmarks simply based upon quality.

Following 1998’s Veteranz’ Day, Big Daddy Kane has shunned solo albums for more than 15 years—leading some to question his ability to command an album in the new millennium. However, as evidenced in the Dave Chappelle’s Block Party music documentary, Kane’s live show—which he offers regularly—dwarfs his Rap peers, 20 years his junior. The confidence, moves and finesse remain in tact. In critical guest spots ranging from Big L to Little Brother, Kane teases Heads with deft lyrics that are to the level he produced in the ’80s and ’90s. Like a champ with the belt, Big Daddy Kane walks uncontested—a GOAT in his own, and the minds of legions of others. In history, weighted upon influence, album-making, and pinnacle star-power, Big Daddy Kane just might be the original, and perhaps the only GOAT.

The Best Of Big Daddy Kane mix by J. Period

Other Notable Songs:

“The Symphony” (with Kool G. Rap, Craig G and Masta Ace) (1988)
“Warm it Up Kane” (1989)
“Young, Gifted And Black” (1989)



Erick Sermon

(Third Round Winner, Against Dr. Dre 53% to 47%)
(Second Round Winner, Against De La Soul’s Trugoy 64% to 36%)
(First Round Winner, Against Biz Markie 79% to 21%)

Before Large Professor, Lord Finesse, and the Dr. Dre that we know about today, Erick Sermon was a supreme producer who could tear down his own beats. Alongside Parrish Smith, E-Double is a comical, pop culture-savvy MC who has a raspy, bigger than life delivery in making EPMD a gold-certified independent Rap crew. More than 25 years later, on his own, in the group, with Def Squad, and everything in between, the Green-Eyed Bandit has delivered fundamental rhyme skills into the new millennium.

Erick Sermon’s delivery comes from the show-and-prove ’80s. While it was always “business,” Sermon forever seemed to be having fun on the microphone, as he bragged about his skills, keeping “Jane” at bay, and his unwavering love of “music.” With a nasal delivery and effortless cadence, Sermon proved to be a major influence on The Notorious B.I.G., in addition to his tangible mentorship of Redman, Keith Murray, Method Man, and the earliest days of Rick Ross. A true microphone commander, the ‘E’ forever used a soft approach, never shuttering his self-confidence. However, against the didactic contemporaries, Erick’s sermons have always been palpable, easily digestible reminders of what pedigree he comes from. A keeper of the funk, a bringer of the bounce, and a gifted giver of the gab, this timeless Hip-Hop voice may make the fisherman hat a crown.

Legends Of Hip-Hop: Erick Sermon mix by DJ Mega Skills

Notable Tracks:

“It’s My Thing” (with EPMD) (1988)
“Why Not” (with Slick Rick) (2000)
“Music” (with Marvin Gaye) (2001)

So…who you got?

Related: Check Out The Finding The GOAT Ballots & Results