So, as I’m sure we all know, the battle between hip hop gods LL Cool J and KRS-One ain’t gonna happen.
For the confused and late, let me catch you up.
At a recent performance, KRS-One was challenged by a fan to battle. The fan was obviously out of his mind and spent his verse reciting old MC Shan lines. In response, KRS went OFF on the poor bastard, unleashing a punch-heavy freestyle that culminated in the parting shot:
My man walked up with a red Kangol hat
Like he ain’t tryna be on LL’s dick and LL’s WACK!
This led to the speculation that KRS and LL would actually lock horns in a live or wax emcee battle. Why not?
With the culture already being primed with the summer’s Drake vs. Meek Mill dust up, it would’ve been the perfect time for two veterans to get into the ring and show everyone how it’s supposed to be done.
But alas, it was not meant to be.
At a Nov. 21, performance, KRS cleared the air and apologized to his fellow hip hop icon, claiming that there was no, and would be no, battle between the two.
That’s a shame.
Yeah, I know the two share a deep respect, but Bird respected Magic, that didn’t stop them from getting in each others’ shit. (Pause)
So in the name of good fun, I decided I was going to break down the two could’ve-been combatants, Deadliest Warrior-style, to find out who would’ve won.
In the red corner KRS-One:
Classic Battle Tracks: South Bronx, The Bridge is Over, and I’m Still #1 The Numero Uno Mix.
Famous Bodies: MC Shan, Melle Mel, Poet and Nelly
Battle Style: KRS-One is known for his aggressive take no prisoner approach to lyrical combat. KRS’ freestyles often get really personal if he wants. Although he’s a monster on wax, he is more of a problem in live battles.
Weapons of Battle: KRS is all aggression, he never backs down and rarely has a moment of self-reflection as to whether the battle at hand even needs to happen. If he feels slighted, insulted or challenged, heads fly. That’s it, that’s all. He’s the type to ask questions later. Upside: You never have to wonder if KRS is going at you, he makes it abundantly clear when you’re on his shit list. There are no subliminals. He doesn’t beat around the bush. He will beat you with his rhymes and mind. He’ll out think you and use your defeat as a lesson for future emcees on why not to fuck with him. Downside: KRS is impetuous to a fault. More than once his eagerness to battle has led him down a road where he has ultimately had to either apologize or admit to an emotional overreaction. That’s best case scenario. Worst case scenario, he’ll outright fabricate beefs for the sake of beefs. Remember, the Bridge Wars, in its entirety, was a decade-long war that began exclusively within KRS’ trigger-happy head.
Goddamnit I never said it started in Queensbridge!!
In the blue corner LL Cool J:
Classic Battle Tracks: Jack the Ripper, Mama Said Knock You Out, To Da Break of Dawn, The Ripper Returns, Rasta Impasta
Famous Bodies: MC Hammer, Canibus, Wyclef
Battle Style: High-energy, high-intensity attack preferred. He has primarily been a wax battler, rarely risking his reputation on something as unpredictable as a live battle. He prefers to craft diss songs that double as radio singles and classic hip hop tracks (i.e. Mama Said Knock You Out, To Da Break of Dawn). That being said he rarely, if ever, gets personal.
Weapons of Battle: LL’s biggest asset in battle is knowing how to craft a hit. LL’s most scathing battle songs have also been club or party bangers. This is a horrible possibility for his opponents who can never hope to match LL in his crossover ability. So while your song dissing LL may bang for the hip hop heads and in underground cyphers, LL’s song dissing you will bang EVERYWHERE. To this day, most people feel LL bodied Kool Moe Dee, simply because LL’s songs got more radio play. Most never know how close Moe Dee came to ending LL’s career with “Let’s Go,” mostly because the song didn’t have nearly the same reach as any of LL’s. Upside: When LL has someone to battle, and he has something to talk about, his albums are infinitely better. Whenever he’s in the middle of a conflict, he has dropped some of his best albums. Downside: Making diss songs that can double as radio songs means the content has to be as non-specific as possible, while still being direct enough to do damage. This being the case, LL can be very subliminal with his attacks. Case and point, MC Shan attacked LL with “Beat Biter.” LL possibly, probably, maybe, kinda responded with The Breakthrough, which was both very subliminal and very, very good.
What the ever-loving fuck?! Seriously, leave me alone!
How Would a Battle Go:
First and foremost, LL never starts battles and seeing as how KRS-One ALWAYS starts them, we’d know how this thing would get kicked off. It would probably start like always: KRS being a bit too free with his style and LL catching feelings.
But let’s say KRS doesn’t apologize this time. Instead, he doubles down, releasing a track aimed squarely at Uncle L. KRS is not one to send out feeler tracks like Drake’s “Charged Up”; no, he goes all in off the rip.
LL is usually pretty reluctant to go all in, but since KRS doesn’t have a feeling out process, LL would be forced to.
Being that this is out of his bag, I think LL wouldn’t come off as strong as he could.
KRS-One would take the first round, but then he’d make a misstep.
Because LL’s been in so many battles there’s only so much you can say to him that hasn’t been said. And I think in his urgency to come out the gate strong, KRS would expend his clip early.
LL would drop something in a way that KRS couldn’t follow: He’d go mainstream. It’d be on a soundtrack or something, maybe the new theme to NCIS Coney Island or something.
LL about to spit that fire
It is my opinion that this song would crossover and become the song people most associate with the battle, painting KRS in the corner of having to make a hit record to compete.
And unfortunately, KRS hasn’t courted the mainstream in years.
Even if he countered with a banging response (which I don’t think he’d have enough material to pull off), the popular consensus would be that he lost.
Winner: LL Cool J
But shiiiiiit, what do I know?
I could be wrong. Let me know if I’m full of shit in the comments below. Who do you think would win? More importantly, who else in the god level of hip hop needs to get in the ring and who do you think would win.