Finding The GOAT Group: Bone Thugs-N-Harmony vs. Three 6 Mafia. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Group,” the fourth installment of Ambrosia For Heads’s annual battle series features Hip-Hop’s greatest collectives vying for the #1 spot. Sixty-two groups have been pre-selected by a panel of experts, and one slot will be reserved for a wild-card entry, including the possibility for write-in candidates, to ensure no deserving band of MCs and DJs is neglected. The 2018 contest consists of seven rounds, NCAA basketball-tournament style, leading to a Top 32, then the Sweet 16 and so on, until one winner is determined. For each battle, two groups are pitted against one another with a ballot to decide which one advances to the next round. Though there will be an enormous amount of debate in comments, on social media, in barbershops and text messages, which we encourage, only votes cast in the official ballot (below) count.

In the 1990s, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Three 6 Mafia were real-life musical rivals. Both acts presented dark imagery in fast flows over slower beats. These parallel entities are rooted in consistency, despite label moves and internal challenges. Heads have a chance to definitively decide which is the better group. Your vote may the one that seals the deal.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony

From its melodic harmonies and triple-time rapping to an intersection of church and street, Bone Thugs-n-Harmony created a distinct sound at a time when Gangsta Rap seemed formulaic. An architect of the sub-genre, Eazy-E, signed the Ohio group in the early ’90s and spent his final days producing them into super-stardom. Soon after, Biggie, Tupac, and countless others sought out collaborations with Layzie Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Bizzy Bone, and sometimes Flesh-N-Bone. Whether a quadruple-platinum Ruthless LP or an under-the-radar indie release, Bone’s quality is rarely a reflection of their platform or resources. Additionally, with a member status always in question, this nearly 30-year-outfit weathers storms better than most. At the crossroads of delivery style and lyrical content, B.T.N.H. are successful Midwest pioneers whose impact continues to show itself.

Three 6 Mafia

DJ Paul, Juicy J, and Lord Infamous formed Three 6 Mafia in Memphis. The collective would grow to include Koopsta Knicca, Gangsta Boo, and Crunchy Black, ahead of a series of personnel shifts. First as a regional independent act and later as chart-toppers and Oscar award-winners, The Mafia 6 rarely deviates from a sound and style rooted in the occult, evil forces, and confrontational Crunk. Paul and J’s Hypnotized Minds music used a foundation of ’70s Soul, butchered with repetitive vocals, psychedelic accents, and hard-hitting bass tones. This group has endured a series of lineup overhauls, the deaths of Infamous and Koopsta, and plenty of copycats. Rather than chastise, Three 6 Mafia members enjoy a place as one of 2010 Rap’s biggest time-capsule influences for double-time deliveries, wavy beats, and irreverence for just about everything.

So who is the better Hip-Hop group? Make sure you vote above.