Finding The GOAT Group: Run-D.M.C. vs. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. 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.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and Run-D.M.C. are two groups massively responsible for Hip-Hop’s fast-changing sound and mainstream embrace in the first half of the 1980s. Flash and his crew of elite MCs carried the baton from Rap’s 1970s Disco roots and into sharp, reality-drenched lyricism on songs like “The Message” in 1982. One year later, the Hollis, Queens-based trio emerged with a game-changing sound and punchy rhyme aesthetic that made them international superstars ready for the music video era. This match-up looks at that time and questions the significance of both innovating collectives. Make your vote, as it says a lot about the Hip-Hop of the last 35-plus years.


(defeated The Fat Boys in Round 1, 94% to 6%)

The original kings of Queens have been often imitated, but never duplicated in how they turned the music community on its ear when some still viewed Rap as a fad. Run-D.M.C. became top-selling acts with music that melded hard rock guitar riffs with towering vocals and street-savvy content. Run, Darryl, and Jam Master Jay gave Hip-Hop music and fashion a facelift as they took a hardcore sound to the mainstream. They accomplished several firsts as a Rap group: the first with their video “Rock Box” featured on MTV in 1983, the first Rap group on the cover of Rolling Stone, and the first with a platinum-selling LP with 1986’s Raising Hell. Through seven studio albums, Run-D.M.C. cemented their place in music history and are among the five Hip-Hop acts inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Their first two albums, the self-titled effort and King Of Rock, catapulted them into the conversation of Rap’s elite in 1983 and 1984, respectively. But their biggest hit to date “Walk This Way” revived would-be Rock legends, Aerosmith, to become one of Rap’s most important songs to date. Run-D.M.C. was an undeniable force in the marketing world with product placement tune “My Adidas.” Although JMJ was murdered in 2002, this group’s legacy burns bright. It’s like that, and that’s the way it will always be.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five

(defeated Whodini in Round 1, 66% to 34%)

Few groups integrated turntablism and MC’ing in the same outfit as well as Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five. With one of Hip-Hop’s credited godfathers behind the wheels of steel, this troop also includes legendary lyricist Grandmaster Melle Mel on the mic, alongside a highly esteemed assembly of Rahiem, Cowboy, Kidd Creole, and Scorpio. Formed in the Bronx, New York, the outfit came up through performances and legendary battles, before becoming one of the most successful pioneering acts on wax and video. In the late ’70s and ’80s, Flash and company made records that featured cutting, scratching, technically-advanced rapping. Whether on the mic or behind the 1’s and 2’s, there was often a message involved. This collective fractured into two separate acts during the ’80s, simultaneously, but these Rock & Roll Hall Of Famers are best remembered for their days as one unified body of skill.

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

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