Earlier this week, Swizz Beatz made the major announcement that hip hop legends DJ Premier and RZA would be going head-to-head in their very own VERZUZ Instagram Live battle. Almost immediately after this news spread, all real rap lovers were more than ready to clear their schedules on Saturday (April 11) to watch the showdown. Thankfully, as planned, it went down and it was nothing short of iconic.
Equipped with their DJ sets – which, of course, included their turntables because this was a real hip hop performance — and genius deejaying talents, the two started their battle with a vengeance. When we tell you that this was hip hop at finest, we mean it. One of the many dope things about their IG Live show was the fact that both Premier and RZA told classic stories about their beats, and the hip hop/R&B artists who spit and/or sang on them.
For example, after RZA played his remix of Mary J. Blige’s “All I Need,” he told a mini story of how Diddy – then called Puff Daddy – came into the studio to also work on the song with him. The Wu-Tang Clan member also credited Blige and Method Man, who’s featured on the track, for penetrating the Grammys, which RZA said was “anti-hip hop” at the time, with the record after it won a Grammy for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group in 1996.
From playing other classic tracks from The Notorious B.I.G., Nas, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, and much more; all the true hip hop heads were living for the OG deejaying greatness. Some fellow rap figures who were hype in the IG Live comments as the fire beats kept dropping included Busta Rhymes, Lil Cease, Method Man, Fat Joe, Kid from Kid N Play, Killer Mike, Black Thought, N.O.R.E., Westside Gunn, Jay Electronica, Stalley, Snoop Dogg, LL Cool J, T.I., DJ Scratch, Old Man Ebro, Papoose and so many more. Even TV/film industry heads like Idris Elba, Mack Wilds and Marvel Studios – yes, of Black Panther and Avengers fame – pulled up.
Needless to say, hip hop Twitter was also locked in and commenting on everything that was witnessed on the Live. You can take a look at some of the many tweets about the battle below.
RZA in the studio when he made the C.R.E.A.M beat pic.twitter.com/h1skVClVHU— Beanie Seagull (@DaBlackHoward) April 12, 2020
I just think it’s a flex that RZA playing Afro Samurai in the background while all this is happening. pic.twitter.com/lyKsIaX1gJ— ohNahrion (@markuspr1m3_) April 12, 2020
DJ Premier and RZA gave y’all a history lesson tonight pic.twitter.com/AI5eLtLzEJ— HipHopDX (@HipHopDX) April 12, 2020
Well of course RZA would have Afro Samurai playing in the back while he battles. pic.twitter.com/n7ghym26RD— Tron Ortaga (@_Jza___) April 12, 2020
I remember being amped as fuck to hear where RZA was gonna take us with his production on Wu Tang Forever and he came out the gate giving us some heat from some violins. What a legend— Beyonce has an uncle named Larry Beyince. Bruh.... (@DragonflyJonez) April 12, 2020
RZA got his kids wildin, beautiful.— . (@Nigerianscamsss) April 12, 2020
I keep thinking RZA just played the signature RZA hit and he keeps having more signature hits— Craig Bro Dude (@CraigSJ) April 12, 2020