New York’s Watercooler Moment

In Beats + Bytes by Nue Agency

The aftermath of last week’s Verzuz battle continues to be a thrill. The showdown between The Lox and Dipset has the whole industry buzzing.

Even though everyone wins with Verzuz, especially the culture. Jadakiss took control of the evening from the start and won big.

I was inspired by Jada’s level of preparation and focus. He’s obviously a gifted rapper, but to see him come in there with that clarity and relentless competitive spirit was like watching a legendary athlete who’s still got it. That kind of love and respect for the game is a wonder to behold.

On Saturday, Hot 97 played Jada’s “Who Shot Ya” freestyle over and over again like a new king of New York had been crowned. To boot, the performance had a potentially massive career effect: The Lox, right after the battle, flew to Atlanta to record with Kanye for his much anticipated album, Donda, and to attend his listening party. This characteristically shrewd move by Ye has everyone even more excited than they already were.

The next day, The Lox got the key to the city of Yonkers.

With a long history of working with members of both groups, I have a personal connection to all of them. I’m a fan. I wrote about the Verzuz effect last August, but watching the battle live at the world’s most famous arena definitely took Verzuz to another level and brought me back to the days when NYC topped the charts.

What has me really pumped, though, is how epic the watercooler convo has been. It’s transcended all aspects of mainstream culture. This battle became the dominant news story in music this week without anything elicit; just raw rap shit.

Scrolling Twitter the next morning was a treasure hunt of digital treats. There were so many worthwhile memes, comments, insights, and stories. We seem to all have a connection to these artists, which made this an epic moment we could enjoy as a community.

I’m guessing a mainstream network will give Fat Joe a commentator role following his viral recap of the night. It was funny watching Kevin Hart and Snoop anchor the Olympics this year, but Fat Joe is still my favorite voice in entertainment. It’s remarkable that his dissection of the battle has been almost as discussed as the battle itself. He was there, boots on the ground at MSG, wearing a mask and loving every moment. He’s a true champion of the NYC “brand.”

Next up is a Lox show in Brooklyn as part of Budweiser’s celebration of Biggie. I’m sure there’s a ton more happening behind the scenes, too. The spotlight is on them and they have the catalogue to back it up. They’re charming and still feel relevant. I know this moment is going to bring some fantastic options to the table, and like Jada always said, “options are a beautiful thing.”

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Also published on Medium.