Saturday’s (June 26) Verzuz brought the Y2K back even if only for one night. Two of the most influential millennials in hip hop, Shad Moss — better known as Bow Wow — and Soulja Boy Tell Em took the stage in Los Angeles to go hit for hit. DJ Carisma held it down for the West Coast during the warmup while DJ Jus held it down for the East.
Celebs like Drake, Lizzo, Quincy, Omarion, Saweetie, Sean Kingston, Jacquees, Ray J, Zonnique, Brandy, Spectacular, Tyga, juicy J and Joe Budden joined over 500,000 viewers on Instagram, cracked jokes and shared memories in the comments.
Bow Wow’s career began in 1993 when the rapper-turned-actor-turned-entrepreneur was only 6 years old. The tiny rapper at the time was spotted by Snoop Dogg during a concert and was pulled to the stage for the opportunity to perform and earn his moniker: Lil’ Bow Wow. By the year 2000, he was signed to Jermaine Dupri’s So So Def and released his debut album, Beware of the Dog, at 13. Bow would go on to star in featured films Like Mike, Johnson Family Vacation, Roll Bounce, The Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift and Madea’s Big Happy Family to name a few.
Soulja Boy got his start by self-producing his own original music and uploading it to early social media websites like SoundCloud, YouTube and MySpace. The same year he launched his website SouljaBoyTellEm.com and named his first album the same. His self-produced “Crank That” music video featured the dance tutorial to the lyrics that caught on in classrooms, night clubs and even sporting events. Some credit this hit as the formula we see popularized with dance challenges on social media today.
The night was one of the best Verzuz thus far. Check out the best moments below! What was your favorite moment?
1. Drake Trolling in the Comments Within the First 60 Seconds
Viewers know when we’re in for a treat when the celebrity viewers start cutting up in the comments on IG Live. Among the comedians and public figures cracking jokes was Drizzy when he entered the chat with “DRAAAAKE?” — a play on Soulja Boy’s notorious 2018 interview with “The Breakfast Club.” The OVO rapper even took a shot at Spice Adams. Nobody was safe.
2. Battle of the Beyhive
Bow Wow came out the gate with the Destiny’s Child feature on the “Jumpin’ Jumpin’” So So Def remix, but Soulja Boy reminded “Shad” that he worked with Queen Bey too when he played the sample from Beyonce’s “Hold Up” before going into his own smash record “Turn My Swag On.” Nicely played if you ask us.
3. The Trash Talking
Soulja Boy mispronouncing Bow Wow’s government name or “forgetting” the name of the films he’s been in helped to keep Bow humble when he wanted to go off about the number of years he’s been in the game.
“The difference between me and you, Bow, is all those songs are old man!” Big Draco said before he played “Make It Clap” ….again. This time, with the Nicki Minaj feature! That caused Bow to playfully take a nap on stage.
“What you basically telling everyone at home and your fans is that you don’t have enough songs to hang with big Bow Wow” Mr. 106 & Park said. In the end, both rappers were respectful of the other and ultimately gave each other their props.
4. Bow Wow Wearing the Jersey from his Album Cover
Playing only No. 1 hits in the first five songs, Bow Wow pulled out his debut single featuring previous Verzuz act Xscape for “Bounce With Me.” The nostalgia and Bow’s energy got the crowd hype. When he turned around to show his back to the camera, fans noticed he was wearing a custom Cleveland Browns Jersey — just like the one from his Beware of Dog album cover.
5. “She Make It Clap” on Replay
One of hip hop’s first Internet trolls, Soulja Boy showed us how it’s really done when he kept playing his 2021 single “Make It Clap.” In case the viral #SouljaBoyChallenge didn’t make your timeline a few months ago, Soulja Boy played the flute-heavy track not once, but three times during the first hour.
He played it as his first song out the gate, drawing attention to the fact that Bow Wow hasn’t released any music in a while. The second time he played it, he played a never-before-heard Nicki Minaj verse. On the third play, Bad Boy rapper French Montana hit the stage to rap his feature to the track live. This guy’s marketing mind is brilliant.
6. The Dance Breaks
As the Ciroc kept flowing, Mr. 106 & Park and Big Draco got a little footloose. First, Bow got a little cocky on “Say My Name” so he hit his famous C-walk to the song, which features the big homie Snoop Dogg. Even O.T. Genasis co-signed his moves. By the second shot, Bow was doing the Harlem Shake to “Take Ya Home.” The showmanship was truly A-1. Not to be outdone, Soulja pulled out the sunglasses with his name spelled across the lenses to full out crank that Soulja Boy.
7. Double Cheeked Up
For the clappas in the house, Soulja Boy topped off “Donk” with Nicki Minaj freestyle “Itty Bitty Piggy” that used the same beat. If fans weren’t already out of breath, Bow followed that up with “Pop, Lock, & Drop It (Remix)” and dedicated that set to St. Louis and the late rapper Huey.
8. The So So Def Pop Up
“I Think They Like Me” brought out heavy features and made the viewership skyrocket when a member of Dem Franchize Boyz along with Jermaine Dupri and Da Brat joined Bow Wow for a live performance of his feature on the 2006 smash record.
9. The Three 6 Mafia Appearance
Bow Wow flexed his film connections once more by amping up his Oscar award-winning musical friends Three 6 Mafia to perform “Side 2 Side (Remix)” live. The Memphis Grizzlies celebrated their hometown heroes from the Instagram comments as Juicy J polled viewers on who he should go against in his own Verzuz battle.
10. Lil Romeo Hit the Stage With Bow Wow
For the first time in 20 years, Bow Wow and Romeo “Lil’ Romeo” Miller shared the same stage after Soulja Boy brought him out as a guest. Romeo performed two of his childhood jams along with a new kid group from No Limit. In true businessman manner, he also pulled out a bag of Rap Snacks and plugged his shoe line. To not completely overshadow the moment, Romeo also took a beat to give his peers their “roses” for their respective success and influence. He compared the three of them to Micheal Jordan, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James. “At the end of the day, we stronger together,” he said. Someone in the comments, however, asked if Soulja Boy had to tag in Romeo because he ran out of hits.
11. The “Millennium Tour 2” Preview
One thing about Bow Wow, he knows how to lean into a viral opportunity. He served the “Let Me Hold You” arms directly into the camera just before Omarion joined him on stage to sing the chorus. The B2K frontman remained on stage and performed “Like You” alongside him, too.