Finding The GOAT (Round 5): KRS-One vs. Nas…Who You Got?
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.
KRS-One became a Hip-Hop legend when his booming Bronx vocals challenged a whole borough, in what would later become known as “The Bridge Wars.” According to most, the Boogie Down Productions front man bested MC Shan, Roxanne Shante, and others in a Rap rumble surrounding Hip-Hop’s birthplace. However, one of the greatest MCs from the very same houses and streets as Shan, Shante, and Juice Crew leader Marley Marl had not yet been introduced in the late 1980s. Nas has never contested B.D.P. or Hip-Hop’s origins, but he certainly has been a living argument that Rap’s most fertile soil may in fact be in the Q-U. Kings do hail from Queens, as Nas has amassed a 20-plus-year career including massive hits, classic albums, and introspective social commentary that reached the mainstream. KRS-One is credited as one of Nas’ biggest influences, as these two cultural purveyors have worked together, and uplifted Hip-Hop in solidarity through some of its biggest challenges. After a string of definitive wins against legendary opponents throughout “Finding The GOAT,” Bronx-versus-Queens gets a timeless title bout. With parallel careers (intelligent verses, poetic street styles, feisty feuds), these two Hip-Hop heroes compare resumes in one nail-biter of a show-down. (click one to vote)
Voting For Round 5 is now closed. Stay up to date with the latest Finding The GOAT brackets
It was KRS-One who adapted MC from entertainer into poet, philosopher, and teacher—coining and living the term “edutainment.” In reality, the Bronx, New Yorker born Larry “Kris” Parker is self-taught, a onetime homeless youth who channeled his aggression and outsized charisma into the competitive battlefield of Hip-Hop. From his introduction, Blastmasta stepped to pioneers like Grandmaster Melle Mel (“I’m Still #1), before squaring off against contemporaries including MC Shan and Marley Marl (“The Bridge Is Over”), and challenging the intentions of classes of rappers to come (“Ova Here”).
The founder of H.E.A.L., Stop The Violence and the Temple Of Hip-Hop has stood tall as a critical link in Hip-Hop’s lineage. From Boogie Down Productions to his solo career, KRS has been able to uphold an improvisational, park-jam style, still dropping quotably insightful commentary three decades after his debut. His delivery consistently points to Rap’s roots in Dancehall, and preserving the elements of the culture. With emphatic cadences, uncompromising sincerity, and a litany of “blueprints,” the Teacha is Hip-Hop’s poet laureate.
From the first time his voice hit wax, Nas proved to be one of the most exciting, versatile, and skillful MCs of all time. Mentored by Large Professor and Kool G Rap, Nasty Nas possesses a rawness in his delivery, imagery, and approach to songwriting. In the earliest days of his career, the Queens, New Yorker ripped mics rapping about exploiting immigrants, brandishing guns at nuns, and tucking machine guns into his Army fatigues. Later in his career, Nas had insightful commentary about raising a young woman, unifying music with its pan-African origins, and properly honoring Coretta Scott King. In between those poles, Nasir Jones has been authentic, precise, and righteous no matter his message. The raspy-voiced MC bridged the gap between the ’80s and the 2000s as well as anybody, making him such a championed favorite.
In more than 11 albums, Nas has proven to be one of Hip-Hop’s most consistent-yet-evolutionary artists. Content-wise, Life Is Good has little in common with Illmatic, which plays to Nas’ ability to grow, and differentiate his works. However, the level of rapping, wordplay, and the dynamic lens to the world has always been steadfast. He takes risks, like 2008’s Untitled album (intended to be called “Nigger”), recording posthumous collaborations with nemesis 2Pac, and making a joint LP with Dancehall sensation Damian Marley. Along the way, Nas’ catalog is decorated with five #1s, and a hallway of gold, platinum, and multimillion selling LPs. Nas’ singles have never had the same magnitude of success, making the longtime Columbia/Sony Records artist feel like an underdog, “surviving the times” in the mainstream. Although he was once “too scared to grab the mics in the park,” Nas has risen into one of Hip-Hop’s leading GOAT contenders, touching the hearts, minds, and sound-systems everywhere.
The Best Of Nas Mix by DJ J. Period (Hosted by Nas)
So…who you got?