The Top 10 Greatest Mainstream Rap Battles (pt 2)
The Top 10 Greatest Mainstream Rap Battles
We pick up where we left off viewing the Top 10 Rap Battles of all time. I would like to point out a changing trend that began to take shape in Hip Hop as we discuss these upcoming Rap Battles. With the exception of LL vs. Moe Dee, the Rap Battles began to exhibit a dislike towards each other, igniting real feuds or the now coined phrase Beef. I have my own thoughts on the causes of this mental shift within the Hip Hop culture, but I will reserve that for a later discussion. For now let’s continue…
7. LL Cool J vs. Kool Moe Dee – Rap Battle
It’s ironic that the man delivering the first Rap Battle blows in recorded history against the elder statesmen Busy Bee. Would now having the tables turned on him, and he himself now being viewed as an elder in the game, strike first at a young brash rapper coming out of Queens. This young man was none other than LL Cool J, who at the time was gaining critical acclaim and releasing his sophomore record entitled “Bigger and Deffer”. Although there is really no known actual cause for this Rap Battle, it is rumored that Moe Dee felt that LL had bitten his style and grown too big for his young britches. Prompting Moe to release “How you like me now”, the lead single off his sophomore solo album, which featured Moe standing in front of a jeep with a red kagol (LL’s trademark), under the front tire. LL responded immediately with “Jack the Ripper”, a song that many felt would end the beef. Not so fast young one, as Moe Dee hit back and hit hard with “Let’s Go”, which received no immediate response. LL did eventually fire back with “To da break of dawn”, in which he takes shots at his three nemeses at the time, Moe Dee, Ice T, and MC Hammer. Moe Dee responded with “Death Blow”, but by this time the Rap Battle had lost its luster in the fans eye. The winner of this Rap Battle is still a topic of discussion to this day, listen for yourself and decide.
6. Ice Cube vs. NWA – Rap Battle
It was with this Rap Battle in particular that the stakes were raised. What use to be viewed as competition to show lyrical superiority over your opponent, now began to exhibit a real resentment and harbored heavily on personal attacks. When Ice Cube left NWA 1989, claiming Easy E and the group’s manager Jerry Heller was cheating him and the rest of the crew out of their money, we had no clue that a Rap Battle of this magnitude would ensue. NWA fired the first shots with the release of “100 Miles and Runnin” with Dr. Dre statement; “It started with five but one couldn’t take it.”/”So now there’s four ’cause the fifth couldn’t make it.”/”The number’s even.”/”Now I’m leaving”, which left us all in anticipation for what would happen next. With the release of “Efil4zaggin” the rest of the members joined in calling Cube a “Benedict Arnold” as well as hurling many more insults. It would be awhile before we would hear a response from Cube, but it finally came on “Jacking for Beats” off the Kill at Will EP. However it was the release of his second solo release “Death Certificate” that brought us the song “No Vaseline”, possibly the hardest diss on any level recorded. We didn’t hear anything else from NWA in regards to Cube, but we later found out as Dr. Dre left the group, that there was truth in Ice Cube’s claims. After Easy E’s death there were rumors that the surviving members of NWA, had reunited and would start production on a new record. Although at the time of this writing, we have not been graced with a new NWA record, I’m sure many would love to see it happen.
5. MC Eiht vs. DJ Quik – Rap Battle
We stay out West with this look of two premier West Coast emcees, DJ Quik and MC Eiht. This may have been one of the longest mainstream Rap Battles to date, spanning over six years. Rumors have it that this Rap Battle started when MC Eiht heard his name mentioned on one of DJ Quik’s underground “Red” tapes. MC Eight being a Crip affiliate and DJ Quik a Blood, tension naturally rose to epic heights during the most heated period of this Rap Battle. MC Eight would take numerous shots and actually devoted a whole series of diss records entitled “Death Wish I-IV” as well as many other tracks aimed at Quik. DJ Quik responded with diss tracks of his own, “Way 2 Fonky”, “Let U Havit” and “You’z a Ganxta”. However it was “Dollaz and Sense” that solidified Quik as the apparent victor of this Rap Battle. Some would still argue to this day that it was MC Eiht who actually won this feud lyrically. To our dismay this may have been one of the first Rap Battles to actually spill over into the streets, and had the misfortune of a young man losing his life. The Emcees have since squashed their beef and have been reported to have had recording sessions together. We still wait to hear those unreleased tracks.
4. Dr. Dre vs. Easy E – Rap Battle
This Rap Battle officially signaled the end of the World’s Most Dangerous Group; NWA. Many insiders saw this coming from miles away, especially after Ice Cubes abrupt departure in late 1989. When we received word that Dr. Dre had left the group for the same reasons as Cube, it left little doubt that we were witnessing the closing of great era. An era which introduced the masses to Gangster Rap, and a say whatever you feel type of mind state. NWA ushered into Hip Hop a style of rap that would forever change its landscape, and to see the group fold over money issues was unfortunate. When Dr. Dre split ways, he immediately founded Aftermath Entertainment, but it wasn’t until he linked up with his former bodyguard (Suge Knight) and formed Death Row Records that we would hear an actual diss on Easy E. With the release of the “Chronic” one of a handful of records to be deemed a classic, he went in on Easy with the heavy bass funk groove “Dre Day”. Easy E responded with an EP entitled “It’s On (Dr. Dre) 187 um Killa”, which featured “Real Muthaphuckkin G’s, a diss track that questioned Dre’s manhood. However before his passing, Easy and Dre settled their differences, and the Creator only knows what could have been.
To be continued…