Shady vs. Bone Thugs: The Greatest Rap Crew Competition
In recognition of Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary, BET Digital, in partnership with Ambrosia For Heads, is celebrating the culture by hosting a bracket-style competition that allows you to determine Hip-Hop’s greatest crew.
Rather than having “experts” tell you who is the greatest of all-time, this is your opportunity to collectively make that decision. After giving the opportunity to any and all fans to provide feedback on which crews should be included, 32 collectives from different regions, styles, and generations have been selected—all vying for that #1 spot. When the final battle is over and the last vote is cast, you will have determined who is your Greatest Rap Crew of All Time.
After unveiling the eight crews representing the East Coast bracket yesterday, the voting continues with eight from the Midwest, which were selected with your feedback. Below, you will find the four Midwest matchups, along with instructions on how to cast your votes for the winners on BET.com and have the chance to win prizes, including two tickets to the 2023 BET Awards.
A decade after the formation of N.W.A., two of its members lit the pathway for two superstar crews in the Midwest. After Eazy-E used his Ruthless Records label to present Bone Thugs-n-Harmony and Dr. Dre made Eminem his latest protege, Hip-Hop history was changed. Eminem and his affiliates and B.O.N.E. Enterpri$e (as they were once known) made moves less than 200 miles apart—in Detroit and Cleveland, respectively. Both entities took the attention they got from making quality music and helped put others on, leading to plaques, awards, and fast-flowing rap styles. Despite their decorated accomplishments, in this Round 1 matchup, only one Midwesterner can remain.
G.O.O.D MUSIC VS. ST. LUNATICS
Two of the most significant breakout movements in the Midwest began just a few years apart. Superstars blazed the trail with game-changing albums featuring distinct sounds. Nelly’s Country Grammar and Kanye West’s The College Dropout set the table for the St. Lunatics and G.O.O.D. Music crews, respectively, with affiliates peppered on these releases. In the years that followed, West and Nelly worked closely with these acts to distribute attention and cultivate moments in hip hop. This round 1 Midwest matchup can leave only one crew advancing. Your vote decides which.
Once a city that fought for its hip hop recognition in the 1990s, Memphis now has multiple crew movements. Three 6 Mafia and Hypnotize Minds helped lay the blueprint for artists making southern-minded Gangsta Rap that honored its city’s musical roots. Not long after Three 6 began, Yo Gotti embarked on his independent journey from North Memphis before launching his uber-successful Creative Music Group crew. While there may have been friction in these two camps for a time, those issues have been resolved as their music has been released. Both entities have made Memphis a Rap destination and built two thriving Black-owned companies surrounded by devoted crews. In this tournament, however, only one of these collectives can move past Round 1.
The Soulquarians and Griselda formed over a decade apart. Each unit combined stunning talent from multiple regions and creatively cultivated their bond in the studio. Starting in the 1990s, the Soulquarians were composed of The Roots’ Questlove, Slum Village’s J. Dilla and Common, as well as a number of non-Hip-Hop artists. The collective set up shop for a series of incredible albums in Hip-Hop and R&B. During the 2010s, Westside Gunn built the Griselda crew around family, who happened to share a prowess for hard-hitting lyricism rooted in authentic reality. Even two decades apart, these respective crews welcomed a far-reaching crew of artists into their orbits, which included overlapping affiliates like Black Thought, Jill Scott, and Black Star. Each squad has achieved critical acclaim and cult followings, but only one of these heralded crews can reach the second round of this tournament.
Go to BET.com to vote on which of these crews you believe should advance to the next round, and to learn of the other Midwest crews that are battling in this round. You can also vote on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #BETGreatestRapCrew and a hashtag with your favorite crew.