The gloves were off between New York icons The LOX and The Diplomats for their highly-anticipated Verzuz showdown Tuesday night (August 3). New York City was buzzing with infectious energy weeks before the marquee event, with supporters on both sides making their claims on who would come out on top. Flocks of fans trekked to Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden for a sold-out show that had everything a lover of New York hip-hop could ask for.
The heavyweight groups duked it out for Big Apple rap supremacy in an entertaining match-up that featured trash-talking, freestyling, ring announcer Michael Buffer, beach chairs and more. The groups took center stage in the middle of a boxing ring for this epic night that had all the fixings of a classic hip-hop moment. Triller and Verzuz treated fans at home to a show, but those lucky to find a way inside Hulu Theater witnessed an electrifying contest with fight night-like energy.
The LOX came for the kill early in the bare knuckle rap fight with their features on N.O.R.E.’s “Banned From TV” and DMX’s “N—az Done Started Something,” setting the aggressive tone for the entire night of action. Dipset showed glimmers of hope with solid outings from Jim Jones and Cam’ron on songs like “Byrd Gang Money” and “Get Em Girls,” but The LOX delivered too many knockout punches for the Harlem collective to get back on their feet.
The New York crowd that repped Harlem, Yonkers and the five boroughs played a massive role in the event with their boisterous reactions to the classic records played by these legendary collectives. Guests such as Fat Joe, French Montana, Fabolous, A$AP Ferg and more also added to the massive star power inside the Hulu Theater.
Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Verzuz platform has provided hip-hop culture with memorable moments from each battle, and this edition was no different. From Dipset’s fresh outfits dripping all over the stage to Jadakiss stealing the show with his microphone banter, the essence of New York City hip-hop was on full display Tuesday night. Billboard compiled a list of the six best moments of the night. Check out the picks below.
1. The Big Apple crowd revolting against a DJ playing non-New York anthems
During the early warm up for the Dipset versus The LOX showdown, a random DJ switch interrupted the fans vibing inside Hulu Theater. People were rocking out to classic New York rap tunes before the new DJ began playing hits by Lil Uzi Vert and more. The crowd responded with ferocious boo’s heard throughout Madison Square Garden. The DJ realized his mistake and attempted to get people back on his side with Fivio Foreign’s “Big Drip,” but it was already too late. The crowd was unmoved by the DJ’s attempt to save his sinking ship and people were ready for the main event to begin.
2. Playground trash talk setting the tone for the evening
New Yorkers earn their trash-talking stripes in the number of playgrounds scattered throughout the city, and non-New Yorkers often consider natives rude or disrespectful. Out-of-towners in attendance must have thought The LOX and Dipset would have came to blows at some point — for weeks, the legendary rap groups have been going at it, hurling insults at each other on Instagram and that contentiousness only picked up on Tuesday night. The groups threw shots at each other all night, and got as disrespectful as they could be. Some of the disses were lighthearted — like Killa Cam calling The LOX “peas and gravy” for their multiple guest features, or Styles clowning Jones for his leather pants. But some hit below the belt, such as The LOX performing Cam’ron’s former rival Mase’s “24 Hours To Live.”
3. Jadakiss calling out Dipset for not knowing their rhymes
In the middle of the bout, Jadakiss took a minute to criticize Dipset’s use of backing tracks with original vocals when playing their songs. The LOX were going through their hits, rapping over instrumentals easily without vocal assistance, and they had enough of the lack of preparation from their Harlem peers. “New York, they causing a distraction — this is hip-hop, we in the mecca of New York, it’s D-Block and Dipset,” Jadakiss told the rabid crowd. “Why don’t they know the words?” The crowd agreed, and Jadakiss turned the Garden upside down with a fiery rendition of his “Who Shot Ya Freestyle.”
4. The LOX and Dipset saluting the city’s grit with New York Anthems
New York City is the birthplace of hip-hop, and Jadakiss and Cam’ron made sure to specifically salute the Big Apple with their song choices during Verzuz. Cam’ron unleashed his anthemic JAY-Z collaboration “Welcome to New York City” while Jadakiss answered the call with his guest feature on Ja Rule’s “New York.” The crowd cheered for both songs, and it was a touching moment to hear and see a sea of New Yorkers represent their home, especially after a long year and a half of the city suffering through the COVID-19 pandemic.
5. The LOX pulling out records for the ladies
The LOX are known for their street records, but not many are familiar with their love songs. Juelz Santana thought his crew had the upper hand with songs geared towards women, but The LOX shut that down quickly. The Yonkers trio ran through “Ryde Or Die B–ch,” Mariah Carey’s “Honey (Bad Boy Remix),” Jennifer Lopez’s “Jenny From the Block,” Mary J. Blige’s “Family Affair (Remix)” and Sheek Louch’s “So Good” in succession. It was clear Juelz got a little ahead of himself.
6. The Max B name drop heard around the world
Hardcore Dipset fans know the controversial history between Jim Jones and the incarcerated rapper Max B. They worked together in the past before falling out over creative differences in the mid-2000s. The two have yet to patch things up, and Styles P made a note of that, showing he’s a master of competition on Verzuz. Before going into his feature on Akon’s 2004 hit “Locked Up,” Styles told the crowd he was with somebody for three weeks before this person was sent to prison. The audience wondered who he was talking about, and Styles dropped Max B’s name — to which the crowd erupted in shock.