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EMBA Fest 2020

Source: Tim Mosenfelder / Getty

On Saturday night (April 13), Hip-Hop production titans DJ Premier and the RZA faced off for an epic “Verzuz” beat battle cooked up by Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. Although there was some technical issues, the showdown was worth the hype, and Twitter is still debating who actually won.

DJ Premier was on time (9PM) while the RZA eventually hopped on about 10 minutes later. The Abbott had some audio difficulty at the start of the head to head match up but things started sounding crisper as it went on. The mastermind behind the Wu-Tang Clan set things off by playing GZA’s “Liquid Swords” from his album of the same name. Premier responded in kind with Jay-Z’s “A Million and One Questions” and it was on and popping.

Both production legends started off kind of slow, playing more personal favorites (at one point RZA played Wu-Tang Clan’s “Maria” while Premier threw in D’Angelo’s “Devil’s Pie”) than knockout tracks. But the type of content everyone tuned in for went down towards the latter portion of the battle, probably most obvious when RZA served up Raekwon’s “Ice Cream” to only have Preemo retort with the Notorious B.I.G.’s “Unbelievable.” How do you even choose?

The old friends with long memories shared various stories before playing their tracks that also made the moment a history lesson while dropping timeless classics like Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect Ya Neck” or Gang Starr’s “DWYCK” or Method Man’s “Bring The Pain” or Jeru’s “Come Clean.”

Even with a bonus round (Premier didn’t play Gang Starr’s “Mass Appeal” in his initial 20 songs!) both production virtuosos left some of their greatest beats unplayed.

But as for who won, Twitter continues to debate. Actually, while the back and forth arguing is part of what Hip-Hop is about, what’s even louder is the praise for the incredible moment we were all able to witness. It was close, but this writer gives the edge to RZA. Peep some of the reactions below. Hip-Hop won last night.

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