Finding The GOAT (Round 5): The Notorious B.I.G. vs. Redman…Who You Got?

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With just 11 MCs remaining we have reached the critical Round 5 in the ultimate battle for the title of the GOAT (Greatest of All-Time). Now, only five match-up’s—all running this week—separate Round 5 from the final six MCs, including Round 4 bye winner Big Daddy Kane. Since the elimination, bracket-style tournament was launched in September of 2014, including more than 200 overall MCs, there have been four completed rounds, featuring contenders from all eras of Hip-Hop, including Wild Card series (with optional write-in’s). The 11 remaining MCs have been undefeated. Big Daddy Kane will skip Round 5, thanks to his largest winning margin in Round 4. In Round 5, MCs will also take on opponents outside of their era—a first in the series thus far. We are officially less than one month away from “Finding The GOAT,” as decided by you.

Round 5 brings a clash of the lyrical titans to the main stage. The Notorious B.I.G. is fresh off of a near-perilous defeat of Andre 3000 that was just over a half-percent away from going the other way. In Round 4, Redman was triumphant against LL Cool J, arguably a massive upset against one of Rap’s 30-year monarchs. With a lower profile, and a quiet run as of late, Funk Doctor has prescribed the antidote to formidable opponents, definitively victorious in four consecutive match-ups. Between 1992 and 1997, Red’ and Biggie Smalls were friends and peers. Both of these artists revitalized Hip-Hop with the character-driven personas and boisterous vocals of the 1980s greats, and yet both MCs transcend simply making Rap music. These are lyrical icons, and while Redman’s career has extended nearly 20 years past the death of B.I.G., the love for “Big Poppa” goes unrivaled. This particular match-up gets to the root of what makes an MC the greatest, as one juicy debate enters muddy waters. (click one to vote)

Voting For Round 5 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets

Biggie Smalls

or

Redman

notorious-big-banner

The Notorious B.I.G.

(Fourth Round Winner, Against Andre 3000 50.3% to 49.7%)
(Third Round Winner, Against Big Pun 73% to 27%)
(Second Round Winner, Against GZA 61% to 39%)
(First Round Bye)

Biggie Smalls (a/k/a The Notorious B.I.G.) redefined what a Hip-Hop star looked like and sounded like, when he released his classic 1994 debut, Ready To Die. In one place, B.I.G. combined fully-executed concept, lyricism, storytelling, and Pop-minded sensibilities. At the height of the music video era, Biggie became a superstar without ever tucking in his supreme MC abilities, that he chiseled from five years of battling on Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn’s Fulton Street. With two solo and one Junior M.A.F.I.A. studio albums in his brief career, Biggie has the sales to match his over-arching influence on the culture and the craft of rapping.

Although his verses employed humor, depravity, embarrassment, braggadocio, and more—the main theme is sincerity. Whether he was in the mindset of an ostracized youth, a stressed-out corner-boy, or a Frank White-like mafioso, Christopher Wallace was a master of method-acting-rapping, ’cause he’d seemingly lived it all. He stood at the zeitgeist for what a generation wanted, grew up with, and the hurdles they were up against. Whether rapping alongside Sadat X, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, or R.A. The Rugged Man, Big Poppa got in where he fit in—and the likable underdog with the over-achieving rhyme patterns and straight-forward street wisdom remains loved by all.

March 9 (The Notorious B.I.G. mix) by J. Period.

Redman_GOAT_5

Redman

(Fourth Round Winner, Against LL Cool J 59% to 41%)
(Third Round Winner, Against Phife Dawg 80% to 20%)
(Second Round Winner, Against Ol’ Dirty Bastard 75% to 25%)
(First Round Winner, Against The D.O.C. 88% to 12%)

For more than 20 years, Redman has thrived in the major label system making unwavering, unadulterated, and uncompromising Hip-Hop. One of the New Jersey pioneers, Newark, New Jersey’s Reggie Noble is the tallest EPMD product—and one of the few 2010s touchstones to the first wave of Def Jam Records. Although he carried the wit, pop culture references, and Funk-inspired qualities of his mentor, Erick Sermon, Funk Doc has been his own entity, a master of cohesive album-making who always seemed disinterested with hit singles.

From pepped up albums like Doc’s Da Name 2000 and Malpractice to dim inner-journeys like Dare Iz A Darkside and Muddy Waters, to old school homages El Nino, Redman is a true artist. The MC/producer never loses the beat, and seems fully intent on sounding like nobody before him, or after him. One of Hip-Hop’s nice-guy personas has been nothing nice on wax since 1992, with a raucous delivery that’s stayed the course no matter Rap’s changing trends du jour. With a massive catalog, Redman joins his affiliates in Wu-Tang Clan as an ageless face, voice, and style in Hip-Hop. In the ’90s and 2000s, when things were too synthetic, too prim and proper, or too shiny, Reggie Noble was the stalwart to muddy them up. An MC’s MC, this is a true artist who has found the mainstream through being himself on and off the record.

“Best Of Redman Lunchtime Mix (April 17, 2014)” by DJ Mister Cee

So…who you got?

Related: Check Out The Finding The GOAT Round 4 Ballots & Round 4 Results