So while many Verzuz battles — which have included Alicia Keys vs. John Legend and Gladys Knight vs. Patti LaBelle — have been lovefests, or otherwise passive-aggressive musical showdowns, this one was decidedly more heated. Each man played 24 tracks, and while Jeezy leaned into past hits like “Standing Ovation,” “Go Crazy” and “Air Forces,” Gucci Mane did not shy away from pure venom, including multiple songs that demeaned Jeezy by name and detailed the killing of Pookie Loc.
The tension also rose in between songs, as the men compared longevity, real estate holdings, outfits and influence. “That was cute,” they each sneered at various points.
After Gucci Mane performed a particularly scathing account of their disagreements, “Truth,” to Jeezy’s face, finishing it with further taunting, an argument nearly broke out in earnest as the men repeatedly interrupted one another. “I told you straight off the dribble,” Gucci Mane said, “we can’t do nothing if it ain’t street. If I can’t perform the ‘Truth,’ we can’t do it.” Jeezy countered that he wanted to appear together “for the culture.”
“I brought you here to show you that the world care about what we got going on, because we are the culture,” he said, adding expletives. “Me and you. Where we came from. What we’ve been through.” He then cited their influence in the shooting deaths of rappers like King Von, Nipsey Hussle and Pop Smoke, before diving straight into another song.
But in something of a surprise turn, the stream ended on a note of reconciliation, or at least good business. After Jeezy offered up a likely inevitable duet of “Icy,” with each man dancing happily and performing his verse at a distance, Gucci Mane plugged a joint appearance at a local nightclub, with little regard for the raging coronavirus. Each rapper had a new release set to drop at midnight — a greatest hits mixtape for Gucci Mane, a new album for Jeezy — and the demons, apparently, had been exorcised.
“Listen, all respect,” Gucci Mane said. “I appreciate you for throwing out the olive branch — I accept that. No disrespect. It’s all love.”