Finding The GOAT Group: Eric B. & Rakim vs. Salt-N-Pepa. 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.

The next battle is between two mid-1980s New York Rap groups as Eric B. & Rakim face off against Salt-N-Pepa. These two bracket contenders never showed weakness in their releases. Each has respected discographies in both the ’80s and ’90s. Both have halted new music, but continue to keep their brands strong through touring and side ventures. Only one group can get to Round 2, and your vote may seal the deal.

Eric B. & Rakim

Eric Barrier and William “Rakim” Griffin, Jr. may have set the standard for all others to follow as far as MC/DJ tandems. Upon 1987’s Paid In Full, the Queens-Long Island link elevated the rhyme schemes, expanded the subject matters, and brought along advanced sounds to set Rap music on a journey into innovation. In just five years and four albums, this mighty pair impressed the Hip-Hop scene with a plethora of hits. They released four albums in five years, evolving well with the times. In 1992, following Don’t Sweat The Technique, the pair split both creatively and in business. In the last year, the group is back intact and getting paid in full on the road. Time will tell if E and Ra’ will make their first music together in more than 25 years, but the catalog speaks for itself.


Cheryl “Salt” James, Sandy “Pepa” Denton, and both editions of DJ Spinderella kept the hits flowing from the late 1980s into the 1990s. Their breakout hit “Push It” put Sears co-workers Salt, Pepa, and producer Hurby “Luv Bug” Azor together for a sexual record that had Rap appeal, New Wave keyboard charms, and helped define a crossover movement for the genre in the 1980s. The Brooklyn-Queens group have a voice to women, especially in relationships. “Whatta Man,” “Let’s Talk About Sex,” “Shoop,” and “None Of Your Business” played as anthems that had men dancing and singing along too. Three platinum and two gold albums line a five-LP discography that was always commercially successful and Top 40 or better. While S&P stopped releasing music ahead of Y2K, the bond still runs strong on the road, and on awards shows and their own reality program. Thirty-three years since their debut, Salt-N-Pepa gave Hip-Hop so much flavor.

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