Pay close attention to the interview in the latest issue of XXL between Slaughterhouse, Eminem, and Yelawolf. A lot is discussed, but the subject that gets all parties talking is battle rap. What it used to be and what it is today. As Royce Da 5’9″ says, “These kids now, they don’t even call it battlin’. They just straight up call it beef.”
We can’t say Royce is wrong. Let’s be real, what qualifies as battle rapping these days is a bunch of diss records where rappers go after one another with threats of real warfare instead of waging lyrical warfare. But oh how we long for the days when rappers wouldn’t be afraid to go against one another in a straight up battle of who was nicer on the mic. Excuse our nerd-dom as we imagine what it would be like to hear these 15 battles between some of our favorite MCs.
- Biggie Pun BattleNotorious B.I.G. VS Big Pun <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: Besides the two of them obviously being in the same weight class, no two MCs represented New York hip-hop in the streets and in the clubs better than Pun and Big.
- Redman Kurupt BattleKurupt VS Redman <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: Two of the most underrated lyricists on both coasts could probably give each other a run for their money. When we think about the metaphors Red and Kurupt would come up with and use against one another, we laugh, and our heads almost explode.
- Bun B Killer Mike BattleBun B VS Killer Mike <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: Obviously there's the Southern connection Bun and Mike have (Texas and Georgia, respectively), but it's obvious Mike is a disciple of Bun's style. There's the rapid-fire aggressive braggadocio raps mixed in with the street conscious storytelling, all of which make for an intriguing match-up between the two wise men.
- J. Cole Drake BattleJ. Cole VS Drake <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: We thought we were going to hear a "Renegade"-like cut between these two when reports of their collaboration first broke. Instead, we got something like an R&B duet on "In The Morning." All good though, we're not complaining, but we are being greedy. Obviously Drizzy and Cole are cool peoples, but a lyrical sparring match between the two could only strengthen their bond, right? We think so.
- Lil Wayne 50 Cent BattleLil Wayne VS 50 Cent <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: For years 50 has taken aim at Wayne only to hear crickets in response. We say these two kings of first-week sales push the petty money-talk aside, put some money up for charity instead and over some dope Bangladesh beat, go in, best two out of three, 16 bars each round.
- Tupac Nas Battle2Pac VS Nas <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: Lyrically, we know what Nas can do. Emotionally, we know what 'Pac could do. It's a shame the two never collaborated together, but we can dream, can't we? Mr. "Black Girl Lost" against Mr. "Brenda's Got A Baby", sounds like a rumble we can ride with.
- Ludacris Busta Rhymes BattleLudacris VS Busta Rhymes <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: These sultans of the guest-verse make complete sense in a rhyme face-off. Not only are they go-to guys whenever someone needs a hot 16 for a remix, they're also two of the most animated lyricists to touch a microphone. The ad-libs, the punchlines, the multiple rhyme patterns? Someone set this one up now!
- Jim Jones Tony Yayo BattleJim Jones VS Tony Yayo <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: With these two, it's always been more style over substance, and we can't say that's a bad thing. They may not give us the illest lines we ever heard, but we're pretty sure they'll come up with a crazy dance or two to go with their rhymes and we'll be doing said dance in the streets for months.
- Lloyd Banks Juelz Santana BattleLloyd Banks VS Juelz Santana <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: This one's obvious. Everyone knows when it comes to the lyrical credibility of G-Unit and Dipset, it rides on the shoulders of Lloyd Banks and Juelz Santana respectively. These two are the lyrical muscle of their crew, so it only makes sense for them to flex on each other at some point in time.
- Cam'ron Kanye BattleCam'Ron VS Kanye West <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: The history of bad blood between these two rappers has been well-documented, but has anyone noticed how both their styles compliment each other. Cam'Ron is definitely a disciple of Mase, and Kanye has gone on record to say Mase was one of his biggest influences as an MC. Few MCs can stunt as cleverly as 'Ye and Cam, and few have caused as much controversy with their wardrobe selections. One of the requirements for this battle would have to be both of them wearing furs.
- Young Jeezy T.I. BattleYoung Jeezy VS T.I. <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: Both from Atlanta. Both from the traps. Both made a name for themselves talking about these very things, so in a verse who can capture the spirit of where they're from better? A battle would certainly help settle this.
- Pimp C Too ShortPimp C VS Too $hort <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: When it comes spitting that pimp game, few can touch the jewels Short Dog and Pimp bestow on the masses. We don't know who would take this one, but what we are sure of is only the women with the thickest skin would be able to tolerate it.
- Rick Ross E-40E-40 VS Rick Ross <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: Another heavyweight face-off, we like this match-up because of how often both MCs use words and brands we never thought could rhyme. Lyrically this would be a match we would have to rewind on more than one occasion just to understand.
- Andre 3000 Ghostface BattleAndre 3000 VS Ghostface Killah <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: Arguably two of the greatest storytelling MCs to ever record a song, we kind of feel like this one could be a story song battle. Give them some characters to work with and see who can come up with the best beginning, middle, and end in one 16.
- Eminem Jay-Z BattleEminem VS Jay-Z <em>Why We Want To See It</em>: Neither of these two will go on record and admit they bested each other on their collaborative song, "Renegade," and we don't really like ties in hip-hop, so how about it? Jay-Z against Eminem? We say in the booth, leave everything they have. No mercy. Shake hands after, press up the results, watch it sell millions.