Finding The GOAT (Round 4): Busta Rhymes vs. Ludacris…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.
Two of Hip-Hop’s most developed character MCs square off in Round 4. Busta Rhymes has over 25 years of Hip-Hop staying power, consistently colorful from Native Tongues to YMCMB. While his subject matters have changed, Busta’s ability to rap really well, really fast has not. Meanwhile, Ludacris is a decade short comparatively, to Bus-A-Bus. Yet, Luda’s albums are courageous in their concept and creativity, and their sales place him in an elite group inhabited by names like Jay, Em and 50. Both MCs finessed the music video medium, with bigger than life personalities, signature visual and rhyme style, and the ability to bring hardcore skills to Pop-friendly settings. Ludacris knocked out First Round bye T.I. for the rare upset, as both MCs have been titanic contenders in the bracket, altogether. Busta Rhymes is six years removed from his seven-album platinum/gold solo streak, while Ludaversal hit the masses in the last month. ‘Cris has the sales numbers, while Flipmode’s finest has the longevity—and arguably, more versatility. Who survives the test? (click one to vote)
Voting For Round 4 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
Among 25 year veterans of commercial Rap, evolving images and changing sounds appear to be a commonality. However, few have been as successful at being dope over the last four decades as Busta Rhymes. Knighted and named by Chuck D, this Long Island native has blitzed Hip-Hop with one of its fastest flows and most versatile deliveries. He’s constantly been able to say meaningful messages since he was a smiling teen in Leaders Of The New School through to his hulking days rolling with Dr. Dre, Lil Wayne, and Eminem.
Like Q-Tip, Ice Cube, or Ghostface Killah, Busta’s breakout begins with shining in a crew (L.O.N.S/Native Tongues) of highly-talented MCs. With an unmistakeable delivery, Busta had a rasp, malleable flow, and unrivaled microphone animation that made him a sought-after guest before guest-work was in vogue. By the mid-1990s, Busta’s outer-worldly vision of album-making made works like The Coming immune to shifting attentions and presentations in Hip-Hop. Busta enjoyed multi-platinum success rapping to masses who were unaware of two great group albums, or his days running in the underground. Rather than adapt East, West, or Southern styles throughout his career, Busta Rhymes has simply rapped his ass off, and favored beats that thumped on dance-floors, headphones, and trunk sub-woofers.
Other Notable Tracks:
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.
Other Notable Songs:
So…who you got?