Finding The GOAT Group: De La Soul vs. A Tribe Called Quest. 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.

Round 3 begins with a Native Tongues showdown for the ages. A Tribe Called Quest and De La Soul face off. The De La trio was the first of the two groups to release an album, and they have three more in their catalog than Tribe. Meanwhile, A.T.C.Q. achieved two #1 albums, and has more platinum and gold in the jewelry box than their homies from Long Island. Both of these legendary groups released new albums back in 2016 after some time away. Both acts kept the party moving through concerts and tours, even when they were not dropping tons of music. Both Tribe and De La are bright and bold testaments to innovation, evolution, as well as originality. However, in this competition, only one entity can reach the Elite 8. Vote with care.

De La Soul

(defeated Dilated Peoples in Round 2, 68% to 32%)
(defeated Leaders Of The New School in Round 1, 94% to 6%)

For 30 years, the Long Island trio made up of Posdnuos (aka “Plug 1”), Trugoy The Dove (nka Dave) and Maseo (aka Plug 3) have been some of the most positive, vulnerable and innovative artists on the scene. De La Soul’s debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising entered with concepts, creative sampling (thanks to mentor Prince Paul), and lots of substance. The LP was the first in a discography that has showcased De La’s ability to create inventive, witty songs that smartly balanced production influences of Jazz, Funk, and Disco. Across nine albums and several companion releases, this trio is revered for its consistency and evolution. De La Soul has been able to sustain a dedicated fan-base, despite label woes and sometimes long hiatuses. In addition to the aforementioned debut, the collective’s catalog contains other classics, such as Stakes Is High and De La Soul Is Dead. The collective’s most recent release topped Rap charts and earned the trio another Grammy nod. Apart from critical acclaim and award mentions, the troop has platinum and gold certifications in its discography. De La Soul remains one of Hip-Hop’s most trusted brands and beloved bands.

A Tribe Called Quest

(defeated Black Sheep in Round 2, 98% to 2%)
(defeated Souls Of Mischief in Round 1, 95% to 5%)

A.T.C.Q. stands tall as one of Hip-Hop’s most trusted and consistent sources of music. For nearly 20 years, Q-Tip, Phife Dawg, Ali Shaheed Muhammad (and sometimes Jarobi White) released six distinctly-themed albums and two handfuls of additional songs via soundtracks and Native Tongues features. In all of it, Tribe oozed originality. Lyrically, they covered unique and universally accessible subject matters with whimsically inventive rhyme routines. Songs about lust, resisting oppressive governments, and coping with stress were intermixed with elite Rap illustrations about collecting props and besting lesser MCs. In step with their song themes, the group was at the forefront of free-form sampling, eventually drawing extensively from Jazz in a way that re-purposed record crates for producers across the genre. Lou Reed, Funkadelic and Ramsey Lewis records were sliced precisely in a way that showed respect for musical forefathers, without relying on their grooves. The interplay with Tip and Phife epitomized chemistry with distinct voices and personality, as Ali spoke with crisp cuts. The Queens, New York collective produced its music, especially the biggest hits. Through the journey from teenagers, to proven Rap stars, and reunited family after an 18-year hiatus, Tribe was on a Quest to be something different in the musical space. All six LPs achieved gold or platinum status, with 2016’s We Got It from Here…Thank You 4 Your Service earning a #1 on the group’s final award tour. Having retired the group in the wake of Phife’s death, A.T.C.Q. is an immortal Hip-Hop brand that made the Rap group like its coolest in four different decades.

Here Are The 16 Hip-Hop Groups Competing To Be Named The Best Of All-Time

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