Finding The GOAT Group Championship: A Tribe Called Quest vs. Wu-Tang Clan. Who Is Best?
“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, an Elite 8, a Final 4, 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 last match-up of the tournament is here. Nearly six months in the making, A Tribe Called Quest and Wu-Tang Clan clash. Each has weathered five tough opponents to arrive at this stage. Now, only respected New York City collective can walk away as the undefeated champion of “Finding The GOAT Group.” Both of these squads have similarly sized discographies—Tribe has six LPs, while Wu has released seven to the public. Each entity has some overflow of soundtrack, compilation, and guest work as well. These groups existed in the same timeline too. While Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) reached the GOAT Album championship round back in 2016, one could argue that A.T.C.Q.’s catalog is more consistent, having a handful of releases in the classic album consideration category. Both acts are sacred in the eyes of many, especially after the deaths of Ol’ Dirty Bastard and Phife Dawg. This one could get interesting. Make sure your opinion is heard and gets counted (click on your group’s image in the box below, then click “vote”). The winner will be announced Friday (September 28).
A Tribe Called Quest
(defeated Public Enemy in Round 5, 67% to 33%)
(defeated Run-D.M.C. in Round 4, 76% to 24%)
(defeated De La Soul in Round 3, 75% to 25%)
(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.
(defeated OutKast in Round 5, 62% to 38%)
(defeated The Roots in Round 4, 74% to 26%)
(defeated Cypress Hill in Round 3, 86% to 14%)
(defeated M.O.P. in Round 2, 92% to 8%)
(defeated Heltah Skeltah in Round 1, 89% to 11%)
The name Wu-Tang Clan is synonymous with legendary Hip-Hop groups. RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Raekwon The Chef, Ghostface Killah, Masta Killa, U-God, Inspectah Deck, and Method Man created a musical brand as strong as any in the last 25 years. Since formation, Wu has stood for power in numbers and featuring many styles in one place. The collective’s 1993 debut album, Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) never cracked the Top 40, and somehow challenged the mainstream understanding of rugged, unconventional Rap music from a very raw place. The Loud Records LP also served as a launchpad for every artist in the group, collectively and individually over the next decade. The Clan has unified for at least seven other albums in the last 25 years, and countless compilations, side projects, and factional lineups on a la carte songs. Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game is an acronym that lived up, as recently as October, Wu still forms like Voltron to attack microphones and feeble-minded peers. The 2004 death of O.D.B., internal legal battles, and so many obstacles that only Wu seems to face cannot stop these swordsmen, who have pierced the consciousness for decades and sliced through the Rap landscape.
So who is the better Hip-Hop group? Make sure you vote above.