In the pre-social media era, hip-hop beef would sometimes linger for years. That’s how long it would take for some artists to respond to a diss, waiting until it was time for their album to drop to retort. Ice-T Vs LL Cool J didn’t blow up as big as the Meek Mill Vs Drake battle, but the feud had its entertaining moments nonetheless. On this week’s episode of “Drink Champs,” Ice-T sits down with hosts N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN and remembers his one-time game of one-upsmanship with his Queens rival.
“What happened was with him, he was saying he was the greatest rapper ever. And I was coming out from the West Coast. How was I going to be able to taken seriously if I let someone say they were the best? So I had to rep,” Ice detailed. “I was like ‘fuck whoever you think you are. Nigga..’ I had coast on my back so I was like let’s go. Now whether or not I thought I could actually beat him rapping… I had to stand my ground and I thought I might have been able to be more clever than him. Who knows."
Ice had shot some subliminals at LL, but there wasn’t any guessing who he was shooting barbs at on the 1988 LP Power.
On “I’m Your Pusher/ Pusherman,” Ice uses dope hip-hop music as a metaphor for drugs, and a fiend gladly accepts albums from artists such as Doug E. Fresh, Eric B and Rakim and Public Enemy to get his fix. However, when asked if he wanted some LL Cool music, the junkie declines. Later on in the album, via the song “The Syndicate,” Ice dedicates several bars to L.
“A lot of MC's like to talk 'bout they self./ A first-grade topic, I think you need help,” he raps. “How many times on one album can you say you're ‘Def?’/ ‘I'm baaaad.’ Yo punk, save your breath./ That's weak shit from a weak mind./ And a weak mind creates weak rhymes./ You ain't never kicked knowledge one time./ Just livin' on your own dick./ That's a crime./ Homeboy, why don't you talk about somethin'./ You just talkin' loud and sayin' nothin'./ And if you get mad, sorry brother./ And when you're in LA, watch your colors.”
Cool J had a more famous clap back on “To The Break of Dawn” - he threatened to cut Ice’s ponytail, among other darts - on 1990’s Mama Said Knock You Out. Uncle L dissed Hammer, Kool Moe Dee and Ice-T on that song.
“You're gonna hear a real ill paragraph soon,” LL Cool J warned. “I took the cover right home to the bathroom./ In the immortal words of L.L., 'hard as hell'./ Your broad wears it well./ She's the reason that your record sold a few copies./ But your rhymes are sloppy./ Like Oscar, and you're bound to get dropped./ And stopped, I ain't Murray the cop./ Nor am I Felix, but I got a bag of tricks./ Mr. Pusherman, gimme a fix./ So I can show you I'm immune to them Romper Room tunes./ You little hip-hop raccoon./ I'm not Scarface, but I want more beef./ Before you rapped, you was a downtown car thief./ Workin' in a parking lot./ A brother with a perm deserves to get burned.”
Of course, Cool J came back for more a few years later bragging, “what the fuck, I thought I conquered the world, crushed Moe Dee, Hammer and Ice-T’s curl” on the remix to “I Shot Ya” off the Mr. Smith album (1995).
As we all know, even OGs have OGs older than them that they listen to. So the war of words between Ice-T and Cool J was eventually squashed by one of rap’s forefathers, Afrika Bambaataa.
“That shit got shut down. Bambatta actually shut down that rap beef. Cause LL wanted to be part of Zulu [Nation]. There was a moment when they were asking me, I was like ‘if it were up to me, me and him is kinda beefing.’ ... But it was just record shit. Who was the better rapper? We weren’t threating each other’s lives. ‘I think he said ‘I took the record cover to the bathroom.’ But whatever, that’s not grounds for murder.”
Believe it or not, all that time while Ice and Cool were beefing and even in the aftermath, the two stars never met until half a decade ago.
“I ran into LL in Monte Carlo,” Ice explained to Capone, who joined that discussion on “Drink Champs.” “We were doing a television convention. I chopped it up with LL, ‘Back in the day this is what we had to do. We had to stand our ground. No disrespect.’ We shook [hands] and everything. But this happened maybe five years ago. Up to that point I hadn’t crossed LL’s path or nothing like that. It wasn’t that serious It was rap shit. ‘I can rap better than you. No you can’t rap better than me.’”
Ice-T gets a lot deeper on “Drink Champs.” He talks about his friendship and eventual falling out with Tupac, coming under fire from the government for “Cop Killer,” and hesitantly accepting his biggest movie role as Detective Scotty Appleton in “New Jack City.” You can catch that episode Thursday at 11PM on Revolt TV.