Back in February, super producers Swizz Beatz and Just Blaze took to Instagram Live for a friendly competition that left the internet on tilt. The two Hip Hop heavyweights squared off in a beat battle, taking us through two hours of a sonic version of the dozens. Juggling hits from their equally iconic catalogs as fans watched, cheered and coached through the live feed, they made Instagram the Friday night place to be- no VIP guest list needed.

After Swizz Beatz was dubbed the winner (thanks to a perfect cheat code- an unreleased Jay-Z record), their star-studded studio agreed that moments like these were necessary to keep Hip Hop as we know it alive. With a rumored battle between Timbaland and Pharrell on the horizon, I did some crate digging of my own and lined up 7 must-have beat battles for the culture.



1. Neptunes vs Kanye West

If you didn’t play the "GRINDIN" beat on the cafeteria tables every single day, you might be too young for this post.  While Pharrell has become one of the most famous faces in music independently, his accolades alongside Chad Hugo as The Neptunes cannot be ignored. And let's not forget, before Kanye was a Kardashian, he produced for Lil Kim, Mos Def, gave us Hov's Blueprint and served up most of his own greatest hits. "Excuse Me Miss" vs "Gold Digger"? Imagine that.


 


2. Scott Storch vs Bangladesh

To the boom-kat dance crews and the gelled down baby-haired teenagers that mimicked Ashanti in their high-school halls (guilty), these phenoms are responsible for the fun of your glory days. From “A Milli” to “Candyshop” Scott Storch and Bangladesh mastered the radio formula of keeping it simple and making people dance while still being eerily complex.


 


3. Alchemist vs RZA

For the Hip Hop lovers that nod their head to the allure of street tales, they'd make for an interesting competition. Rza is a legend. "C.R.E.A.M." alone has been sampled over 200 times and could possibly give him the win in this battle. His highly coveted drums have given us dozens of classic, timeless records. Alchemist doesn't get enough credit, but he too is a beat wizard with a style that's incredibly robust. If you don't know his name, you absolutely know his hits with Styles P., Lil Wayne, Nas and more. Can he compete with the WU? Maybe. I'd be interested in seeing just how mafioso it gets if they go head to head. 

                                          



4. Bryan Michael Cox vs Darkchild

We can't forget R&B.  If there were to be a date night battle, B. Cox and Darkchild are two of the best baby makers in the game. They’ve equally mastered hazy piano chords and have both contributed to the albums of some of the greatest voices we've had in the past three decades. If Usher's "Do It To Me" and Destiny's Child's "Cater To You" never made your take it down playlist...idk fam. 

 



5. J.U.S.T.I.CE League vs 40.

Would you listen to a Rick Ross vs Drake playlist? Probably. Both emcees have held song of the summer titles almost each summer, and it's because of the producers in their arsenals that have played wing man from the beginning. The J.U.S.T.I.C.E. League trio is responsible for Ross's uncanny ability to make us want to smoke Cubans in Miami. Noah "40" Shehbib's sounds transformed wheelchair Jimmy to the slick talking save-a-stripper spitta we love today. 

 



6. Dr. Dre vs Pete Rock

This is Hip Hop royalty and we deserve it. That's all. Both living legends are Hip Hop cornerstones with catalogs that would take us through an entire day. Perhaps Dre will take the win by giving us Detox. (I have hope)


This last one is the one we needed but sadly will never get...


7.Nujabes vs J. Dilla

These two are arguably the most missed creators in Hip Hop. Nujabes, flipped jazz samples like none other, creating a sound within Hip Hop that was inventive, emotional and heavily textured. Dilla, did the same with soul samples- mixing slippery synths and "off-beat" but ever so perfect boom-bap drum patterns. Born on the same day (February 7th,1974 ), their talents mirror each other in a way that's as eery as it is perfect. I can only imagine what a NujDilla collaboration would've sounded like- and watching them go at it beat for beat would've been legendary.


This list can go on forever, but this is just a sprinkle of favorites that got Hip Hop through its glory days. We oftentimes forget that our favorite songs wouldn't be our favorites without the masters behind the boards, so kudos to Swizz Beatz and Just Blaze for the timely reminder. They may have curated the best use of social media I've seen in a while, and I'd trade a night in the club for another Instagram Live battle on any Friday.