Finding The GOAT Group: Organized Konfusion vs. Black Star. 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.
This match-up is between two New York duos who each parted ways to pursue solo careers, while still keeping their bonds intact and fans guessing. Brooklyn’s own Yasiin Bey (fka Mos Def) and Talib Kweli as Black Star take on Queens’ Pharoahe Monch and Prince Po as Organized Konfusion. It’s a battle between two highly respected groups of lyricists who were in overlapping circles, and whose influence can still be heard in Hip-Hop today. Only one gets to move on to Round 2, and your vote below can decide it.
Releasing three albums between 1991 and 1997, the Organized Konfusion duo of Pharoahe Monch and Prince Poetry displayed innovation in lyricism and flow. Formed more than 30 years ago while school students (Po rapped, Monch beat-boxed), the group excelled at tight routines. many of O.K.’s songs were concept-heavy, with ideas that would later be expanded upon and popularized by other artists, such as the bullet personification on “Stray Bullet.” The way these Queens, New Yorkers chopped up their flows with a rapid-fire, boomerang style would also influence MCs for decades to come. Before the end of the ’90s, the duo would split up to pursue solo interests, with Monch ascending into a celebrated solo career. In recent years, in addition to performances together, these two rhyme virtuosos cut new tracks side-by-side and adding to a discography that left Heads hungry for more.
Mos Def and Talib Kweli formed Black Star in the late 1990s, injecting Hip-Hop with socially conscious lyricism at a time when violence and materialism were prominent in the mainstream. They were a keystone of Rawkus Records’ influence on the underground, releasing their album Mos Def & Talib Kweli Are Black Star in 1998 before splitting off to build highly respected solo careers and release side projects over the next several years. Even as solo artists, they’ve still maintained that strong chemistry displayed on their first album whenever they collaborate. While their output as a group has been sparse over the years, opting for quality over quantity, the duo has announced that a second album may be in the works, with production from Madlib. Currently, Yasiin and Talib wave the Black Star flag during performances, including some home and away, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their classic LP.
So who is the better Hip-Hop group? Make sure you vote above.