Finding The GOAT Group: EPMD vs. Eric B. & Rakim. 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 real-life, there was a very real rivalry between EPMD and Eric B. & Rakim that included subliminal disses and even a club confrontation. Now these legendary crews, each with Long Island ties, are quite cool. That may change among their fans, in a match-up that shows just how real things can get in the tourney’. EPMD narrowly bested the Beastie Boys to reach Round 2. Meanwhile, the Paid In Full creators moved the crowd in a landslide defeat of Salt-N-Pepa. Nothing is a “gimme” in this match-up—especially at a time when both duos are back in major action. Your vote counts, so speak loudly.
(defeated Beastie Boys in Round 1, 51% to 49%)
For more than 30 years, Erick Sermon and PMD have given Hip-Hop Heads the business. These Long Island legends are innovators of rhyming and production alike, as two double-threats in one crew. Few duos have the balance of EPMD, with each half seemingly pull equal weight on the mic and the boards. The pair’s heralded catalog includes aggressive anthems, stylishly funky hits, and plenty of slow flows over melodic beats. Down to one of Rap’s oldest song series (“Jane”), EPMD’s formula is often emulated, but never antiquated. The group’s roots sprouted Redman, Das-EFX, Keith Murray, K-Solo, and DJ Scratch. Even with some ugly hiatuses and emphasis on solo and side ventures, these two brothers from Brentwood, L.I. maintain a family bond that is active and strong 30 years after Strictly Business.
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.
So who is the better Hip-Hop group? Make sure you vote above.