Throughout the pandemic (which is still ongoing, despite relaxed safety precautions), the Verzuz battle series has been an uplifting constant. The show, which highlights classic artists and their catalogs, brought hip-hop and R&B fans together when we were still in the house, then gave us a reason to get back out there with its live shows. However, there have been a few names missing from the fun, such as Busta Rhymes and Jay-Z, for whom the show’s producers have had a tough time finding a match, and West Coast gangsta rap pioneer Ice Cube.
That’s not for lack of trying, though. Cube explained why he turned down offers from Verzuz to do battles with both LL Cool J and Scarface during a recent episode of the Bootleg Kev Podcast. According to Ice Cube, “They was talking LL at one point, they was talking Scarface at one point. I said, ‘No.’ Verzuz is good, but my concept would have been, ‘Yo, I’m a fan. You do this song for me.’ Like, okay, I get to have LL do my favorite LL songs and he gon’ have me do my favorite Ice Cube songs, and it’s not Verzuz, but it’s love. It’s like, ‘Yo, do this, and he do ‘Rock the Bells,’ and he asks me, ‘Yo, do ‘Once Upon a Time in the Projects.” That would have been my concept.”
As he put it, “I can’t go against people I admire. LL is an OG to me in the game, so I can’t see it. Me and Scarface love each other, but we don’t communicate enough to do a Verzuz together. I don’t want it to be competition.”