Verzuz Cheat Sheet: RZA x DJ Premier

Apple Music

Verzuz Cheat Sheet: RZA x DJ Premier

When DJ Premier and RZA faced off on Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s livestreamed Verzuz series, years’ worth of barbershop arguments and rap-nerd message board fantasies came to life. Both producers are indisputable GOATs who helped resurrect NYC rap in the ’90s after West Coast gangsta rap emerged as a chart-topping force. Decades later, the sounds they specialized in—dusty, chopped-up samples and heavy drums—are still thought of as the classic New York sound, often nicknamed boom bap. But despite the comparison, RZA and Premier took different career paths: The former had an unmatchable streak as the mastermind behind Wu-Tang Clan, producing and rapping on their entire run of early classics, from Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) to Raekwon’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx. Preemo forged his sound as one half of underground favorites Gang Starr before becoming the guy that NYC legends like JAY-Z, The Notorious B.I.G., and Nas turned to for their best album cuts. Needless to say, it made for a classic Verzuz battle. To really understand the two producers’ highly anticipated face-off, check out this Cheat Sheet playlist that dives into their classic catalogs, curated by Apple Music host Lowkey.