Finding The GOAT Group: Public Enemy vs. Brand Nubian. 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.

The final frontier for Round 2 is here. Public Enemy faces off against Brand Nubian. Two New York City groups that made anthems for Black empowerment and social change while still supplying the party square off. Both 30-year vets soundly beat their Round 1 opponents. The last entry to the Sweet 16 will likely not get there easily.

Public Enemy

(defeated Stetsasonic in Round 1, 97% to 3%)

When Rock & Roll Hall of Famers Public Enemy formed in the mid-1980s, their mission was to disrupt the status quo of not just the Rap industry, but all of Pop culture. During the Long Island, New York collective’s formative years, the Black community was being ripped apart by rampant drug abuse, political disenfranchisement, and lulled by the apparent whitewashing of mainstream media. True to their name and logo, P.E. stood out as targets for combating these forces with truths—about oppression, inequality, and a media agenda. Chuck D stood as the front-man and the booming voice of power. Flavor Flav played hype-man and a jester in the commanding court. Meanwhile, martial arts expert Professor Griff led the group’s military aesthetic including S1W soldiers. DJ Terminator X’s scratches matched the energy of the delivery in this high-powered demonstration. P.E. debuted with an iconic hat trick of three LPs: Yo! Bum Rush The Show, It Takes A Nation Millions To Hold Us Back, and Fear Of A Black Planet. The groundbreaking sampling techniques of their in-house production crew The Bomb Squad on songs such as “Don’t Believe The Hype,” “Fight The Power” and “Welcome To The Terrordome” pushed the boundaries for Rap music. In more than 30 years, P.E. has never slowed its roll or ceased operations. On the road and in the studio, the group with more than 14 albums continues to deliver a message to the masses.

Brand Nubian

(defeated Jungle Brothers in Round 1, 80% to 20%)

This group hailing from New Rochelle and the Bronx, New York has made an indelible influence on Conscious Hip-Hop. The collective has consisted of three MCs which are the boastful Grand Puba, the introspective Sadat X, the intellectual Lord Jamar, in addition to DJs Alamo and Sincere. When they emerged in 1989, Brand Nubian’s approach to song-making was combining lyrical substance with the samples and sounds that still made bodies move right along with the listener’s mental. In addition to their playful and stylish rhyme deliveries, the Nubians offered a challenging brew of educational and politically charged lyricism, often referencing their 5 Percent Nation ideology. With Puba absent in the cipher for two albums, B.N. has released six LPs together in their career. Standout works include 1990 debut, One For All, which was given a coveted five-mic rating from The Source magazine; Sadat, Jamar, and Sincere’s In God We Trust, released in two years later, and ’98 reunion LP, Foundation. Eleven years since Time’s Runnin’ Out, Brand Nubian still tours together, and forms like Voltron for the occasional feature.

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