Dj Premier Vs. The Rza…A Classic Battle Or A Hip Hop Letdown?
While the whole world is on hiatus due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, certain artists and entertainers are making good use of the heavier than usual online traffic. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland (always the musical competitors) continued their off line musical rivalry, by setting up never seen before Instagram “battles” between beat makers and artists alike.
Fans worldwide faced with overwhelming stress and boredom were immediately receptive. Before we knew it, there was talk of DJ Premier (the legendary producer and DJ from the groundbreaking Hip Hop group GangStarr), battling RZA (the musical mastermind behind Hip Hop mega force The Wu-Tang Clan).
Sound the horn
And just like that on April 11th, at 9:00 pm est in cyberspace, within 180 seconds 100,000 viewers had already logged on to witness, Hip Hop’s equivalent of Floyd Mayweather vs Bruce Lee. The “crowd” included Snoop Dogg, Black Thought, Jadakiss, Method Man, Common, T.I , Shaq, even the pornstar Sara Jay logged on alongside of Hip Hop lovers on every continent. All of Hip Hop was “locked in” literally and figuratively.
For a rap lover like myself who at one point was the youngest in the room, (and now is relating more to the oldest guy in the room) just hearing RZA say he can only go until his wife says “cut it” was a validation. It made me think “wow, Hip Hop has really grown up”. The man who was the brain power behind one of the music industry’s biggest take over’s was set up in his living room, ever so cognizant of the volume for wifey. I would’ve been excited just to see DJ Premier set his wires up. Maybe his preferred brand of mixer adds to his signature fat as butter Hip Hop sound?
Beat after beat
After early technical issues the two beat making giants would go back and forth for a 20 instrumental showcase of their classic productions. As assumed we soon found out the veteran Hip Hop legends had a huge amount of love and respect for one another. Their creative friendship stretches back before the world wide acclaim both would earn. Beat after Beat after Beat. I would’ve closed my eyes and teleported back to the smokey backseat of a 1999 pathfinder, but I was too fixated on my favorite emcees losing their minds in the comment section.
But wait…There’s another side to it. There are Hip Hop purists who are severely disappointed about the beat battle between DJ Premier vs. RZA. Do they have a case?
Were you shortchanged?
Time sure flies. It’s 2020. Let’s say RZA or Preemo made a classic production in, lets just keep the numbers round…the year 2000. Many of their musical masterpieces were crafted even earlier in their brilliant careers. Now lets flash back to 1985 to a hypothetical situation. Let’s say a young RZA in 1985, linked up with a young DJ Premier and the two friends were going to attend a battle of the bands between the funkiest bands. The groups aren’t oldies bands. Sure they started back in the day but the two bands are currently releasing brand new funk. As music lovers you’re excited to see, what new chords and techniques the respect they both have for each other is going to inspire. And after a brief delay because of sound issues, both bands play their greatest hits from 1965. Man, forget about these funk bands, let’s get down with this new culture called Hip Hop. I can hear RZA saying it now, in his unique New York City accent and inflection.
Hip Hop memories
I love Hip Hop. I remember seeing DJ Premier spin in a sweat box in Philly, where he spun nothing but his own productions for hours and hours. Each song, just seemed doper than the next. A memory that will always stand out to me, is meeting the Wu-Tang Clan at The Sound Of Market record store in downtown Philly. They were on their first in-store promotional tour with fellow Loud Records artist The Alkoholiks. Maybe as I age in the Hip Hop culture i’m not as judgemental as I once was. I think it’s amazing, that the technology to stream a battle between two of my favorite Hip Hop giants exists no matter what unfolded.
All these years later two of the greats are still inspiring their colleagues and the next generation of artists. To me, this beat showcase was right on time. Did you notice you saw no one promoting their mix tapes in the comments? Truly locked in. Would I be mad if some 19 year old beat maker living in the dark corner of some under served community was disappointed because he wanted to hear a new style, a fresh technique and maybe just maybe the giants do battle for real, with the creative gloves off? I couldn’t be mad at that or I wouldn’t be Hip Hop.
Watch the Full Battle Here (Courtesy of Machine Masters)