Diddy Challenges Jermaine Dupri To A Beat Battle & Shuts Him Down

Over the last 18 months, Verzuz has become one of the most important platforms in Hip-Hop and pop culture, generally. The battle/celebratory format pioneered by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland started as a healing salve to ease the stress of lockdown, and grew into a full blown phenomenon. Now that people have re-entered society and are working their way toward “normalcy,” Verzuz has only gotten bigger.

Earlier this week, millions of fans were treated to an entertaining battle between Fat Joe and Ja Rule. The two friends sparred using both their street records and chart toppers. By comparison, it was a far more gentille affair than the all out slugfest that took place between The LOX and Dipset in the same Madison Square Garden theater, just a month earlier.

Typically, Fat Joe has used his Instagram live to host recap shows for the Verzuz series. This week, however, despite his participation in the match, it was Fat Joe’s conversation about another potential Verzuz battle that has had Hip-Hop buzzing.

Yesterday, Joe hosted a discussion that, at various points, included Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Snoop Dogg, Jermaine Dupri and Sean “Diddy” Combs. What started as a postgame talk between Joe and Swizz, quickly turned to the possibility of a Verzuz between JD and Puff Daddy. Puff and Jermaine had been trading shots recently about who would win if they were to take the stage, with Diddy commenting that Dupri’s arms were “too short to box with God.” The Bad Boy artist-producer-entrepreneur also vocalized that he would only battle Dr. Dre.

As Joe and Swizz Beatz are speaking, Snoop Dogg joins the discussion and quickly dismisses the possibility of a Dr. Dre and Diddy Verzuz. Snoop says of Dre, “Dr. Dre ain’t going to get in that ring. This ain’t appealing to Dr. Dre. This don’t move Dr. Dre. I’m just going to be honest with you.” He goes further to explain Dre’s mentality, saying “He ain’t forgot where he came from. It’s just that ain’t appealing to him. That’s not moving him. It has to move him. That doesn’t move him to sit back and play his music. And, at the same time, as far as performing, if it ain’t a helluva production, Cuz ain’t getting down.”

Snoop Dogg & Eminem Have Been Feuding For Months. Here’s Why

With Snoop emphatically conveying Dr. Dre’s status, Swizz Beatz steers the conversation back to the possibility of Jermaine Dupri and Diddy (also known as Love), squaring off. Shortly thereafter, Jermaine Dupri joins the IG live session. As the conversation about the potential battle proceeds, Joe asks JD what his answer would be for records Puff Daddy would certainly play featuring the late Notorious B.I.G. Without hesitation, Dupri simply replies “The South,” presumably referencing countering Biggie’s legendary status with the dominance the South has exuded over Hip-Hop for nearly two decades.

Fat Joe, Snoop Dogg and Jermaine Dupri continue their conversation for several minutes, when Joe decides to go out on a limb and see if he can get Sean “Diddy” Combs to join. To everyone’s surprise, Puff answers the invitation and he comes in guns blazing, filling the virtual room with smoke for Dupri. “Ay yo, Short Arms. You need to chill out, Short Arms. You hear me? I said you need to chill out,” Puff says before even acknowledging anyone else on the screen. Diddy makes it clear that Dupri is his brother and he loves him. He also lets it be known that Dupri should want no parts of a battle with him, emphatically saying “I’m not here to play. I must say this to everybody. You amnesia-having muthaf*ckas. I done gave y’all life for muthaf*ckin’ 20 years of music!!” He ends his opening missive with “Don’t play with me, boy!!”

Diddy Blasts The Grammys For Not Respecting Hip-Hop & Calls For A Boycott (Video)

Diddy’s pause is brief. He quickly picks up on the question Joe asked earlier about Biggie Smalls, saying “What are you going to do when ‘One More Chance’ drops?? What are you going to do when ‘Warning’ drops??” Dupri attempts to respond, and Puff does not let him get a word in, edge-wise. He screams “I’m the greatest!! I am the greatest, ni**a!! What the f*ck y’all talking about?!” Puff continues his assault, by going after Dupri’s catalog. “Yo, Bro. I don’t even hear them play none of your sh*t! When they go back in the club, I don’t hear them play none of your sh*t! I don’t hear them play no Kris Kross! Ain’t nobody rockin’ no Kris Kross sh*t!,” he says. Diddy then, again, lets his true target be known, screaming “Yo! I want Dre! Wear is Dre???”

After dropping off the stream, momentarily, Diddy re-joins and challenges Dupri to battle him right there and then, in front of the world, on Instagram live. “Let’s go now, ni**a! You can play ’em now. Just do a test 5 for 5 real quick. Play your top 5 joints!” When Joe asks Jermaine what records he will play, Dupri demures, saying “We’re not doing all that.” Puff immediately pounces, saying “Aww. You scared ass. I dare you! I dare you!”

Puff Daddy continues trying to draw Dupri into battle, by beginning to state the records he would play against Dupri. When Dupri doesn’t take the bait, Puff goes even further and starts playing the records. Over the course of several minutes, he plays his song “Victory,” featuring The Notorious B.I.G., Biggie’s “Who Shot Ya” and “Hypnotize,” Jodeci’s “Come and Talk To Me,” Black Rob’ “Whoa,” Mary J. Blige’s “Real Love” and “I’m Goin’ Down,” Diddy’s “I Need A Girl (Remix)” and “All About The Benjamins,” the remix to Craig Mack’s “Flava In Ya Ear,” and Waka Flocka Flame’s “O Let’s Do It” remix featuring Diddy. Throughout, Puff, Joe, Snoop and seemingly everyone in the chat is exhorting, nearly pleading with Dupri to play a record, but he refuses, stating that he wants Combs to sign the paperwork so they can do an official Verzuz in an arena, and presumably for a lot of money. Puff seems to speak for the people, when he says “JD, as your friend. You not playing a song is so un-Hip-Hop.” Despite being a billion dollar mogul, it is clear that Diddy’s love of Hip-Hop is paramount.

Eventually, Dupri relents and plays a snippet of Usher’s “Confessions,” but, to many onlookers, it feels as if he has squandered what could have been a massive moment for the culture. Two such people who share that perspective are none other than Verzuz founders, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, who join the conversation after Diddy says farewell. Swizz tells Dupri, “JD, I’m not gonna lie though. This would have been a good start to the showmanship. You could have hit him with 2 or 3 [records] though. The people wanted to see that.” Swizz does not see a pre-game battle as cannibalizing Verzuz. Instead, he likens it to the hype that surrounds the weigh in before a boxing match. Timbaland shares Swizz’s sentiments, saying “Damn, JD! You gotta know when it’s the pregame, man!”

Even if the moment was not all that it could have been, watching 6 titans of Hip-Hop relish in their love of the culture for more than an hour was supremely entertaining. And, if Diddy and Jermaine Dupri do finally go head to head with their catalogs, there are sure to be fireworks. Perhaps, Dupri was right to save his catalog for the potential big night, but yesterday’s performance by Puff was nothing short of dominant.