Finding The GOAT Group: Black Star vs. Slum Village. Who Is Better?

“Finding the GOAT Group,” the fourth installment of Ambrosia For Heads’ annual competition 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 (which has been determined), 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 match-up, 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 count.

In the late ’90s, Black Star and Slum Village were both juggernauts of the burgeoning Underground Hip-Hop movement. Both outfits were partly mentored by Native Tongues crews like A Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, and Da Bush Babees. However, regardless of cosign, the Brooklyn duo and the Detroit trio (that would later expand) proved that they could make marvelous music. For Black Star that was just one album and a handful of loosies. Meanwhile, the Villa prevailed in the ’90s, 2000s, and the current decade, despite as many lineup changes as any act in memory. Artists from the same collaborative circles clash as only one entity can reach Round 3. Your vote may be the ticket.

Black Star

(defeated Organized Konfusion in Round 1, 73% to 27%)

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.

Slum Village

(defeated Jedi Mind Tricks in Round 1, 56% to 44%)

While S.V. began as a trio between Dilla, T3 and Baatin for celebrated albums such as Fan-Tas-Tic, Vol. 1 and Fantastic, Vol. 2, the squad became a revolving door throughout the 2000s and 2010s due to solo pursuits, turmoil, and tragedy. Despite massive setbacks and losses, the Vill’ has made consistently dope music in all of its iterations. Top 40 releases followed, as well as early Kanye West and Dwele features, and increased recognition for fiery lyrics (thanks in large part to Elzhi) as much as thumping beats and clever concepts. In the last 15 years, S.V. stuck to the script of delivering raw, relatable, unfiltered Hip-Hop and showcasing a side of Detroit that did not need to be hardcore to thrive. Today, with co-founder T3 and producer Young RJ carrying the torch, Slum Village brandishes its rich legacy of making fantastic music.

Finding The GOAT Group: Cypress Hill vs. Naughty By Nature. Who Is Better?

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