It’s 8:30 p.m. outside Madison Square Garden, and the crowd is getting antsy. They’ve come to witness Dipset and the Lox’s Verzuz battle, but some of Dipset’s crew has been denied entry. Security is ordering everyone to move back because they’re having trouble keeping a crowd of people waiting to get inside the media door under control. Despite the frantic atmosphere, no one appears to be in a hurry. After all, you can expect this sort of thing when putting on a hip-hop event – huge entourages telling security about their connections as they try to get into the show. However, there was a serious issue for me: I didn’t have a ticket.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying that it didn’t work out. I called MSG in the morning and tried to impress the guy on the other end of the line with my nice and boyish demeanour. I wasn’t handed tickets immediately away, but I was promised that if I made a request, they would respond by email. The email was never received. Finally, I met up with some friends who were able to get a ticket from a New York Times critic who had an extra.
It helps to know some excellent individuals, especially on occasions like today. Dipset was pitted against The Lox, Jadakiss was pitted against Cameron, D-Block was pitted against Harlem World, and Swizz Beatz was pitted against The Hatmakers. This was like experiencing the Knicks in the Finals as a local New Yorker. It would have been a travesty to miss out on this opportunity.
The Diplomats, A.K.A. Dipset, Are a Harlem Rap Group Who Have Had a Rapid Career:
Some background for individuals who were not born in the five boroughs. The Diplomats, a.k.a. Dipset, are a Harlem rap group who have had a rapid career. They were a member of Puffy and Mase’s Harlem World scene in the late 1990s and joined Roc-a-Fella Records in the early 2000s, led by Cameron, Juelz Santana, and Jim Jones. Dipset was odd, rebellious, and melodious in equal measure. Nobody can match Cameron’s ability to make words like “drinking sake on a Suzuki on Osaka Bay” slide off the tongue such effortlessly.]
As a result, Dipset distinguished Harlem from the rest of New York. “I Really Mean It,” a song that characterises the Dipset era with its swagger and casual attitude, is on Roc-a-Diplomatic Fella’s Immunity, released in 2003. Dipset was unapologetically witty, dark, and delightful in the strangest of ways. Dipset’s fashion choices, like Juelz dressed in Americana like a Harlem Bruce Springsteen or the notorious shot of Cam in a pink fur coat talking on his flip phone, are just as important as their music in explaining why they are so popular. It’s because they weren’t hip enough to listen to Dipset that Kid Cudi taught them how to be odd.
Jadakiss, Styles P, and Sheek Louch make up the Lox. The trio formed when they were all high school students in Yonkers, and they were able to gain respect in the rap game for the little city north of the Bronx. They arrived with something nastier and more distinctive to their neighbourhood. There is still a big city attitude in even the lowest sections of NYC. You’re on your own to rot in Yonkers. This is where the Lox developed their gritty street-level raps, and the locals take great delight in it.
After Signing with Bad Boy Records, the Group Released Money, Power, Respect in 1998:
The group released Money, Power, Respect in 1998 after signing with Bad Boy Records. It was a strong debut album, although the Lox seemed to be underutilised by Puffy. The crew’s more toughened ethos didn’t fit the glossy shine of No Way Out. When the Lox requested to be released from Bad Boy Records’ constraints of shiny suits, their legend only grew. It was them breaking away from the mainstream and establishing themselves as a distinct cultural entity with their own code and language. Puffy removed them from Bad Boy in 1999, and the three joined the audaciously disrespectful Ruff Ryders Records, where they’d recorded a streak of bona genuine hits alongside the late DMX.
As Michael Buffer revealed the two groups to the fans inside MSG’s Hulu Ampitheater, Jadakiss looked like he was ready for a heavyweight bout. He had a Mike Tyson-like growl on his face, and he wasn’t saying anything, just menacingly gazing. While Styles and Sheek were energising the crowd, Jada appeared to be a member of their security team, checking the area for threats. The Lox had a commanding lead with the crowd early on, opening with “Fuck You,” from 2000’s We Are the Streets. They sang mixtape smashes and Bad Boy jams like “It’s All About the Benjamins,” all while showcasing each other’s lyrical prowess.
The shit-talking, on the other hand, was out of this world. “I don’t live in Colorado, I don’t live in Miami,” Jada declared emphatically before launching into his legendary line on Ja Rule’s “New York.” Last night, if there was any debate about who was the best rapper, the Lox put it to rest. Dipset, of course, had its moments. While Jimmy’s rendition of “We Fly High” was impressive, it paled in comparison to the Lox’s renditions of “Mighty D-Block” and “Dope Money.”
Jadakiss would make quick work of Dipset over the rest of the evening, demonstrating why he is one of the best New York rappers of all time, dead or alive. He looked like Biggie with Anthony Mason’s body and delivered the furious “Who Shot Ya” freestyle without breaking a sweat. He was New York personified, rapping in Juelz’s face and knocking his patented bandanna off his head while standing on the corner talking stuff.
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Continuity turned out to be a crucial factor. Individual Lox members were as familiar with each other’s verses as they were with their own. Sheek and Jada rapped alongside Styles with the same degree of fervour they had for their own work when he was rapping. Dipset appeared to be a bunch that was continuously at odds with one another. Cam was relaxing in his beach chair, lacking the ferocity of his opponents. You can afford to do that when you’ve had the kind of career he’s had, but in a Verzuz, it came out as being unprepared for war.
To be fair to Dipset, their songs rang out until the Lox simply took over at the end. The final blow was “We Gonna Make It,” which makes the listener believe he can perform pull-ups on an NYC street pole. The crowd cheered for the Lox as Dipset went down and the crowd cheered for the Lox. It was a show-stopping moment for an overlooked group who had finally received their flowers. Yonkers’ tough dudes proven to be more powerful than Harlem’s wild hustlers.