The Break-Down

The 32 Group Battle Royal

32 of the Greatest Hip Hop Groups ever are about to go to war! And it’s up to you to decide who will survive the Battle!


The war is on! 32 of hip hops greatest groups are about to battle it out, with the crown “The Greatest Hip Hop group” waiting for that sole surviving team. And it is up to you to decide who will be the sole survivors! Over the course of the next few months, we will put each of the 32 groups against each other, NCAA Basketball style, and it will be your votes in each of the individual battles that will determine who gets knocked out, and who moves on towards grabbing that “Greatest Ever” crown!

But not only do we want your votes, but we want your opinions! The goal with this tournament, more than anything, is to create dialogue between fellow hip hop lovers. To discuss why you think one group is better than another. What tracks are your favorites from each group. And to hopefully discover some great, classic hip hop that you might not have been familiar with before. Through the “Classic Hip Hop Group” on Facebook, it is your chance to shine, and to be a part of the conversation.


We know that, hands down, some of you are going to be like “hey where is ______” or  “_______ shouldn’t be in this!” or “how can you pick ______ over ______!” The bottom line is that this tournament is not perfect. There is some groups out there that did not make the cut, but that might have a legit justification for being a part of this thing. But you need to first understand the way we selected.

  1. ONLY GROUPS THAT HAVE BEEN AROUND SINCE 2005  – We are doing this with the Classic Hip Hop group, and we consider classic to be anything pre-05. So while there is some great music that’s been released in the previous 5 years, only groups that have released at least one album previous too 2005 are being considered.
  2. A LITTLE BIT OF EVERYTHING – We are trying to hit all corners here. Some East Coast, West Coast, Dirty South. Some artists that can be considered mainstream. Some artists that can be considered straight underground. Some pioneers. Some new school. Some men and women in the mix. BASICALLY we are trying to add a touch of everything into this thing, and when you try to cover all bases, your going to end up with a selection of 32 that not everyone is going to agree on 100% because everyone has difference of opinions. That’s what makes the world great. BUT just remember that this is not the definitive “Best 32 ever” list.
  3. No MC + DJ (Except for one) – A group to us is at least 2 MC’s. Every group on the list has at least 2 MC’s. An MC + DJ group is almost it’s own sub category all together. So that means groups like Pete Rock and CL Smooth, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Eric B & Rakim and Kool G Rap and DJ Polo have not been considered, even though all these groups have contributed some of the greatest hip hop ever. THE ONE EXCEPTION is Gang Starr, as they have been included. Why? No real reason, we just wanted them in it.
  4. No Supergroups/Posses – We understand that Wu-tang and NWA might seem like supergroups today, but the reality is that both started off as a hip hop group and later branched off into single careers. (I know that some of them had individual work previous to being a group, but I think you can see our point on this one). So that is why Wu-Tang and NWA is in, but groups like Boot Camp, Hieroglyphics, Flip Mode Squad are not. Boot Camp is a collection of 3 or 4 groups. Hiero is a collection of groups and solo MC’s. Flip Mode same thing. SO, just remember…no Supergroups/Posses.

At the end of the day, everyone will have a variety of opinions on the final 32, but just remember….this is not an exact science. Most certainly you can discuss which groups you felt were left off that should not have been, but let’s not go overboard in the bitching, ok?


Starting on Monday, May 17th, we will select 2 of the 16 first round battles and put them into the “Current Battle page” of The Program 101. For the next 7 days, you will have a chance to vote on those two battles, as well as discuss those groups in particular, in the dedicated discussion on the Classic Hip Hop group on Facebook. Which tracks your liked, ever seen them live, favorite videos, favorite lines…whatever you want to discuss. But whatever you say, just make sure you say the following… “I vote for ______”. You can also throw your votes in the comments section here on The Program 101. At the end of the week, we will go through the comments on Facebook and on this website, and tally up the winners of the battles. We will post the winners and results on the “previous battles” page of the Program 101, and begin the next two battles. Wash, rinse and repeat until we have a champion.


Historical significance? Lyrics? Flow? Album quality? Battle skills?  Personal Preference? What exactly are you voting for? Well here is the thing…we are not putting guidelines on this. You can vote based on any reason that you choice to vote on. You find lyrics and flow more important? Vote based on that. Does historical milestones matter more? Sounds good, vote based on that. THE BOTTOM LINE is that we are giving you two groups, and you need to decide which one is better. And you can come to that decision any way you want to.


We might see some battles that have some odd combatants. Maybe it’s like comparing apples to oranges. So be it, those are still the battles, and you still have to make the choice. And  if you need to use personal preference as the decision maker…cool. What we did was ranked all 32 groups in a very rough order, and paired them off 1 vs 32, 2 vs 31 and so on. We are not posting our rankings because it’s not important, only done for the purpose of creating brackets and attempting to make sure that we have some big battles the further along we go in the tournament. So bottom line, you might see some odd battles at points, but you still need to make the call.


Everyone hated homework, but this is the good kind. We are going to help you out by posting a few tracks for each of the battles as they are going on. But this is your chance to check out each of the groups, perhaps we have a few in the tournament that you are not familiar with. Check them out, listen to some tracks, and prepare yourself when making your vote.

Remember that every Monday new battles begin, and old battles end. The brackets will be updated every Monday as well. And you can Vote and Discuss for each battle in the comment section of this website, or with the community of hip hop lovers on “The Classic Hip Hop Group” on Facebook.

SO….who is going to be crowned the winner of the 32 Group Battle Royal?


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