Finding The GOAT (Round 4): Mos Def vs. MF DOOM…Who You Got?

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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.

Mos Def (a/k/a Yasiin Bey) and MF DOOM (a/k/a DOOM) are contemporaries of sorts. While DOOM’s major label days started half a decade before Mos inked a deal, both MCs were instrumental in making Underground Hip-Hop the breeding ground for talent in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Mos’ influence from DOOM is no secret, as both of these men regularly defy convention—both as rappers, but also as professional musicians, and perceived celebrities. Shunning the spotlight, and often eradicating distractions from the art, both of these men are unapologetic creatives, and Hip-Hop purists. That has showed in the first three rounds of “Finding The GOAT…” MF DOOM shockingly (to some) knocked out Jay Z by a margin greater than 10%. Perhaps a referendum on Jay in the last 10 years, the results show that DOOM’s consistency eclipses sales, iconic verses, and mainstream classic albums. Equally, Mos Def crashed the boards against his G.O.O.D. Music backer, Kanye West—winning by three times the votes. Neither of these MCs have a platinum plaque or a #1 album, and both have changed names in the middle of successful careers, sometimes twice. However, the GOAT may be in the trenches, where skills trump traditional fanfare. To get there, only one of these iconic lyricists can go forth. Who is it? (click one to vote)

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

Mos Def

or

MF DOOM

MosDef_GOAT_4

Mos Def

(Third Round Winner, Against Kanye West 78% to 22%)
(Second Round Winner, Against Phonte 84% to 16%)
(First Round Winner, Against Pharoahe Monch 71% to 29%)

Mos Def, now preferring to be known as Yasiin Bey, has carried much of Hip-Hop’s ruling tenants since the 1970s into the new millennium. A devoted artist with two revered classic albums under his belt (1998’s Black Star collaboration with Talib Kweli, and 1999’s Black On Both Sides solo debut), the mighty Mos has made hits seemingly by accident, with a vocal style that commands audiences in verse, melody, free-form poetry, and everything in between. One of Hip-Hop’s most versatile voices, Dante Smith has built a career making exactly the music he’s wanted to make, on his terms, buyer-be-warned, and Heads adore him all the more because of it.

With a wide array of styles circulating as hits, Mos competes with superstars, and led the charge to restore Hip-Hop’s emphasis of lyricism, activism, and unpredictability. His rhymes and ideas have been controversial, from calling out cultural re-appropriation and carpet-bagging record executives to standing up for social martyrs like Amadou Diallo and Assata Shakur. This former bookstore-owner has been a beacon of principles, living his life like his music. On stage, Mos’ defiance also keeps things exciting. From set to set, the Rawkus Records alum veers into Dancehall, Soul, and Hip-Hop, depending on the crowd and his mood, never married to playing the hits. Few artists have taken ownership of their presentation as boldly as Mos.

Yasiin Gaye: The Return (Side Two) Mix by Amerigo Gazaway

Other Notable Tracks:

“Respiration” (with Black Star & Common) (1998)
“Mathematics” (1999)
“Casa Bey” (2009)

 

MFDOOM_GOAT_3

MF DOOM

(Third Round Winner, Against Jay-Z 56% to 44%)
(Second Round Winner, Against Elzhi 66% to 34%)
(Winner Of Wild Card Round With 45% of the Vote Out Of A Field Of 20 MCs)

Although DOOM’s Zev Love X era helped set the 1990s off, pain, homelessness, depression, addiction, and the loss of his KMD band-mate and real-life brother Subroc made a villain MC. Seeking refuge in art, Metal Face DOOM (a guard against the reminders of his identical twin brother) became among the most gifted MCs of the period. A product of the underground, Daniel Dumile kicked stream of consciousness lyrics, far-reaching oddball references, and bendable flows to a new level on releases like the cult-carried Operation Doomsday. With that niche, MF DOOM resurrected himself figuratively and commercially, staying busy, and rapping away as much pain as possible on a string of lyrically-advanced, oft-self-produced releases that brought new meaning to “spit.”

MF DOOM helped pioneer a stream of consciousness-informed style, with wit, far-reaching similes, and vulnerabilities. From an Elektra Records hopeful to a Fondle ‘Em vinyl-only artist to a charting MC, DOOM’s career is a testament to persistence, reinvention, and creativity above all else. With a style as unique as his image, this wordsmith is revered as one of the 25-year masters of ceremony in Hip-Hop.

Meet Your DOOM mix by DJ Moxie1.

Other Notable Tracks:

“What A Niggy Know” (with KMD) (1994)
“?” (with Kurious Jorge) (1997)
“Rock Co. Kane Flow” (with De La Soul) (2004)

So…who you got?

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