Fat Joe and Ja Rule VERZUZ battle took place last night at the theater at Madison Square Garden in New York.
The New York battle had several guests, an intermission, and lots of smack talking between the two rappers even though they had no real beef between them.
The evening kicked off in party mode and dance hits from the ‘80s including “Candy Girl” by New Edition, “You Called me and Told Me” by Jeff Redd, “Don’t be Cruel” by Bobby Brown, and “Remember the Time” by Michael Jackson set the tone for the crowd.
Technician the DJ changed the vibe by kicking off his set with jams from Biggie Smalls, JAY-Z, Styles P, Fabolous, Nas, Wu-Tang and more New York legends. He even played some 50 Cent tracks, a move suggested to be targeted at Ja Rule as the rapper is his arch-enemy.
Terror Squad’s Fat Joe took the stage first before Murder Inc.’s Ja Rule brought the energy in return.
While Joe taunted Ja for his current relevance by asking “Where you been the last ten years?”, Ja maintained that his short run in the spotlight still eclipsed Joe’s multi-decade track record of hit-making.
Both rappers took fans back to their breakout hits. Fat Joe dusted off “Flow Joe” from his 1993 debut, and Ja Rule reached back for his 2000 Grammy-nominated “It’s Murda” featuring DMX and JAY-Z. After he played “Can I Get a What What,” Joe called him out for all the features with Hov.
The first special guest was the first lady of Terror Squad: Remy Ma who performed her verse on “Ante Up (Remix)”. She rocked the stage in a yellow leopard print cropped bubble jacket and matching hot pants. While Ja Rule was rapping along, Remy took a shot at him right in his face.
As the battle went on, it became clear that the terror squad star’s strength was in his high profile collaborations and he also bragged about the artists he put on (DJ Khaled, Big Pun) and how rich they are.
When Fat Joe laid claim to songs like “Still Not a Player”, Ja pushed back by saying “That’s not your record!” Joe fired back by saying “I was the executive producer”, to which Ja interjected with “That don’t count!”.
When Joe teased Ja for doing more singing than rapping, Ja reveled in the acknowledgement that he was ahead of his time. Ja said “I’m the singing rapper! I started this shit! You getting bodied by a singing rapper!“
The terror squad star also made frequent references to Ja Rule’s disastrous Fyre Festival, mocking the “Baloney sandwiches” from infamous reports about the festival’s catering.
As Ja Rule’s DJ began to play “Put It On Me,” featured artists Lil’ Mo and Vita joined the stage for in-person features for the first time in almost two decades for a timeless Murder Inc. reunion.
When Fat Joe tried to cut off Ja Rule by saying “Yesterday’s hits are not today’s hits, the Queens rapper reached out to the crowd and said “When I say hits, you say classics!”
Tensions got high when Ja played “Rainy Dayz” by Mary J. Blige. Joe talked through the track, but as a counter, when Joey pulled out “Another Round,” Ja assumed his role as the first “singing rapper” and accompanied his opponent with the vocals.
Nelly was called in as Fat Joe’s reinforcement and they both performed “Get It Poppin’” from his 2005 album, All Or Nothing. Scott Storch who produced the song was in the Instagram comments reminding fans that he’s the GOAT.
As Princess of Hip Hop and R&B, Ashanti took the stage, fans went wild. Donned in all black leather, the Long Island doll stole the show as she tipped around the stage in thigh-high laced heels and jet black shades following her ex-boyfriend’s appearance. Fat Joe also pulled her in for a performance of their collaboration What’s Luv”.