A couple of weeks after its date was announced, The LOX and Dipset’s Verzuz showdown is nearly at our doorsteps. On Tuesday (Aug. 3), the two cliques will engage in a competition to see just which camp has the most slaps.
A LOX and Dipset matchup makes sense on multiple fronts. For one, both collectives hail from New York City. For two, they, along with G-Unit, made up the nucleus of peak New York City gangsta rap in the early aughts though LOX got started a bit before the Harlem collective.
For their part, The LOX, who would rebrand to D Block before returning to their original name a few years ago, emerged in the mid-1990s. Comprised of dynamic wordsmiths like Jadakiss, Styles P and Sheek Louch, the Yonkers hailing clique broke into the rap games signing to Bad Boy Records, and collaborating with Diddy and The Notorious B.I.G. Years later, they’re considered undisputed rap legends.
Meanwhile, the Diplomats dropped their first album in 2003. That crew, one most frequently made up of Cam’ron, Juelz Santana, Jim Jones and Freekey Zeekey, made a name for themselves by letting loose bullet-riddle rhymes imbued with a natural Harlem swagger. At their peak, they helped define the swagger of NYC rap and became legends in the process.
Both The LOX and Dipset have an innumerable amount of slaps, and now, it’s time to look at some of their best — even if it’s not easy. Let’s take a look at 11 classic songs from The LOX and Dipset to get you ready for their impending showdown. Check out the list below, and we’ll see you there!
1. “Dipset Anthem”
With a clever flip of Sanchez’s “One in a Million” and playfully menacing verses from Juelz Santana and Killa Cam, “Dipset Anthem” distills all the swaggering, Harlem bluster the group would become known for. The track sees Dipset steal girlfriends, cook coke up, repurpose a classic ’Pac lyric and take over blocks “Friend or Foe” style. Gangsta music, indeed.
2. “Money, Power & Respect”
You know your song is a classic when its title has become a cliché. For The LOX, “Money, Power & Respect” is that kind of track. Filled with rugged aspirational bars from the crew, and appearances from DMX and Lil’ Kim, then ascendant superstars, the song is an anthem for the ages.
3. “I Really Mean It”
Near the peak of the chipmunk soul sample era, Dipset teamed up with Just Blaze for “I Really Mean It,” a song that’s as emblematic of 2003 as any. The track sees Cam at his best, as he flexes unpredictable rhyme schemes and lets loose a wide range of pop culture references. In just two verses, he manages to nod to Annie, Boyz n the Hood and rhyme Osh Kosh B’gosh with platinum plaque collages, creating a colorful tapestry of hip hop, Americana and unrepentant gangsterdom.
A wicked DJ Premier beat meshed with cutthroat lyricism is pretty much always a winning formula, and The LOX’s “Recognize” is no exception. On the track, Jadakiss scoffs at fears of a Y2K apocalypse as he takes comfort on the timelessness of drug addiction. Meanwhile, Louch threatens to body you in your mom’s crib and Styles contemplates taking a trip to heaven before letting loose his own death threat. It’s a memorable blend of casual violence and deft rhymes that define The LOX’s style.
5. “Crunk Muzik”
The hook for “Crunk Muzik” asks the world if they know how Dipset is moving, but the question might have been a rhetorical one. By this point, every rap fan knew about clique’s propensity for nimble rhymes, hard-hitting production and raucous gunplay. All those elements are present here, a track that features the crew’s strongest triumvirate and loads of menace.
6. “All About the Benjamins”
One edge The LOX has in this matchup with Dipset is their ability to pull out timeless classics with rap legends. Any song with a combination of Biggie, Lil’ Kim, Ma$e and Diddy will ring off. Throw in memorable verses from L.O.X., it’s no surprise that “All About the Benjamins” is one of the most iconic rap songs ever.
7. “Hey Ma”
Flirty but laced in rap machismo, “Hey Ma” is Dipset’s version of a love song. On the track, a then-18-year-old Juelz Santana uses some commanding charm to win over a baddie who’s older than himself before Cam unsuccessfully tries to convince one that he’s a changed man. Of course, she rocks with him anyway, and Cam opens his flip phone to let his friend know the date went exactly as he planned. The early aughts at their best.
8. “Mighty D-Block (2 Guns Up)”
At the beginning of “Mighty D-Block/2 Guns Up,” Jadakiss remixes a memorable football chant from Remember The Titans, and right then you know you’re getting something epic. With ferocious bars from Jada, Sheek Louch, Styles P and J-Hood, it doesn’t disappoint.
9. “I’m Ready”
Featuring a soulful Heatmakerz beat and free-wheeling rhymes from Cam’ron, Juelz Santana and Jim Jones, “I’m Ready” is Dipset at their rawest. The themes of the song are disconnected, but the three are united in the spirit of the come up. On the outro for the song, Capo says Dipset is coming for the title, and songs like this one helped make that point.
10. “Honey (Bad Boy Remix)”
Diddy has been credited with inventing the remix, and his reimagining of Mariah Carey’s “Honey” is a prime example of his proficiency in this area. For the track, he grabbed an ascendant LOX crew and Ma$e for a track laced with rugged bars and sweet Mimi melody for a track that exemplifies a peak blockbuster hit in the 1990s.
It was rare that members of D-Block and Dipset joined forces, but this one is a standout collaboration. For this 2008 track, Sheek Louch, Jadakiss, Jim Jones and Hell Rell trade street bars over a hard-hitting Mr. Devine-produced beat. The track has a straightforward title that feels especially appropriate, because a Dipset and D-Block team-up is an event in itself.