Contact Us

Six Legendary Rap Battles From The 1980s & 1990s

Kool Moe Dee & Busy Bee Starski

Year: 1981

While certainly not the first battle in hip-hop history, Kool Moe Dee and Busy Bee Starski’s two-part bout in 1981 ranks as one of the earliest and most legendary rap battles recorded for posterity. Both MCs had built reputations in their respective neighborhoods—Busy was from the Bronx, and Moe was from Manhattan—which inevitably led to the two battling for microphone supremacy. Although only the first battle was recorded—the recorder broke during the second—Moe Dee recalled that he was crowned the undisputed champion in their rematch a few weeks later. Despite the victory, Moe Dee says he felt like a “bully” for the battle, as Busy Bee was more of a party rocker than a battle rapper.

“There were two [battles], the first was a draw,” Moe Dee recalled. “The kids at Harlem World, when they saw what happened—he got a lotta screams, he had a lotta people from the Bronx there. I had a lotta people from Manhattan that not only werent gonna let me lose, but they were like, ‘Did you just hear that!?’ The rhyme I said was damn near off the top of the head, I was stumbling over it, I wasn’t confident. The reality was I still would’ve won that night, but the Harlem World crew wanted to milk it and bring it back 4 days later…the real secret [of the second battle] that nobody knows is that I felt like shit after that. I felt like a bully in my heart—I knew that he was no contest. He was a party MC; he was a master at his game, but not this part of the game.”

[via Tha Foundation]

Previous Page Next Page

Recommended For You

Around the Web

Best of XXL

Leave a Comment

It appears that you already have an account created within our VIP network of sites on . To keep your personal information safe, we need to verify that it's really you. To activate your account, please confirm your password. When you have confirmed your password, you will be able to log in through Facebook on both sites.

Forgot your password?

It appears that you already have an account on this site associated with . To connect your existing account just click on the account activation button below. You will maintain your existing VIP profile. After you do this, you will be able to always log in to using your original account information.

Please fill out the information below to help us provide you a better experience.

(Forgot your password?)

Not a member? Sign up here

Sign up for XXL Mag quickly by connecting your Facebook account. It's just as secure and no password to remember!