Hip-Hop

Rick Ross vs. 2 Chainz in Rap Hitmaker 'Verzuz' Battle: See Billboard's Scorecard & Winner For the Showdown

2 Chainz and Rick Ross
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for NARAS

2 Chainz and Rick Ross attend The 59th GRAMMY Awards at STAPLES Center on February 12, 2017 in Los Angeles.

It felt like 15 years of hip-hop history in one night, as Rick Ross and 2 Chainz -- two of the most prolific star rappers of their generation, and collaborators with nearly every other big name in the genre -- squared off on the latest installment of Verzuz, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz' live video battle series.

With over 200,000 viewers tuning in over Instagram at the event's peak, and untold more watching over Apple Music, the two MCs traded hits, ad-libs and extremely genial barbs for two hours, as fans rapped along on Twitter and reminisced about a decade and a half of treasured hip-hop memories.

Both rappers came correct, but here's how Billboard scored the round-by-round showdown between the two veteran hitmakers -- with our winner for the entire event at the very bottom.

Round 1: Rick Ross' "B.M.F. (Blowin' Money Fast)" vs. 2 Chainz feat. Drake, "No Lie" 

Rick Ross comes out swinging, leading off with one of his signature hits -- and one of the defining songs of all early-2010s hip-hop -- in the blazing Teflon Don classic "B.M.F." 2 Chainz responds with one of his own biggest in the Drake-featuring "No Lie," calling it the first record he got "a plaque" from. Respectable return fire, but this was Rozay's to lose.

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 2: Rick Ross' "Hustlin" vs. 2 Chainz's "I'm Different"

Another core hit for Ross, taking it back to his Port of Miami debut album and breakthrough hit "Hustlin." Chainz breaks out the microphone for his response, bringing the energy along with the piano plinks of his Based on a T.R.U. Story single "I'm Different." Ross has the stronger song, but Chainz has the stronger performance.

WINNER: Tie

Round 3: Lil Wayne feat. Rick Ross' "John" vs. A$AP Rocky feat. 2 Chainz, Drake & Kendrick Lamar's "F--kin' Problems"

"I'm not a star, I'm a hustler," Ross explains to intro his guest verse on Lil Wayne's Carter IV single "John," which borrows the hook from his own Teflon Don opener "I'm Not a Star." But when it comes to playing hit features based on stellar originals, Chainz has an ace up his sleeve with the full a cappella verse from which his classic "F--kin' Problems" chorus hook was taken, then segueing into the top 10 hit itself. Well-played.

WINNER: 2 Chainz

Round 4: Rick Ross feat. John Legend's "Rich Forever" vs. 2 Chainz' "Spend It" 

The second Verzuz appearance Ross' epic mixtape title cut, after John Legend played it during his own battle with Alicia Keys a month and a half earlier. Still sounds good, but gotta give this one to 2 Chainz for his still-intoxicating 2011 solo breakout hit.

WINNER: 2 Chainz

Round 5: Rick Ross feat. Wale & Drake's "Diced Pineapples" vs. Playaz Circle feat. Lil Wayne's "Duffle Bag Boy"

"Can I do something special?" Ross asks, before rapping along to the opening verse of his star-studded God Forgives, I Don't single. Sounds smoother than you might remember, but it can't possibly compete with the artist formerly known as Tity Boy's thunderous late-'00s classic with Playaz Circle, "Duffle Bag Boy." Ross is starting to fall behind here.

WINNER: 2 Chainz

Round 6: Rick Ross' "MC Hammer" vs. 2 Chainz feat. Nicki Minaj's "I Luv Dem Strippers"

One sure way to make sure you don't totally lose momentum in a song battle is to detonate the musical dynamite that is Teflon Don's "MC Hammer." The song is resounding enough even without Rozay spitting over it, but adding his full-chested spitting over it, it's just unstoppable. Respectable effort by 2 Chainz to respond with "I Luv Dem Strippers" -- especially with a "this song has just as much cultural relevance as anything I've put out" lead-in -- but it's no contest.

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 7: Rick Ross feat. Chrisette Michele & Drake's "Aston Martin Music" vs. Young Jeezy feat. 2 Chainz's "Super Freak"

Ross is staying in the Teflon Don lane, and he's officially hit cruising speed with the sublime "Aston Martin Music." Now it's Chainz's turn to feel the energy slipping away, though he does have one of the night's funnier moments by responding to his own "When they gon' make that Bentley truck?" lyrical inquiry with an excited "They did!"

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 8: Rick Ross' "Santorini Greece" vs. Juicy J feat. Lil Wayne & 2 Chainz's "Bandz a Make Her Dance"

"I always say that Atlanta has the best strip clubs," 2 Chainz asserts. "And you know I would debate that," Ross counters. The argument is certainly Chainz's to lose though, as not only does he drop an all-time strip-club classic  in Juicy J's "Bandz a Make Her Dance," he even brings out a couple dancers to shower with dollar bills as it plays. ("Essential workers!")

WINNER: 2 Chainz

Round 9: Meek Mill feat. Rick Ross' "Ima Boss" vs. Lil Wayne feat. 2 Chainz's "Rich as Fuck"

Not a lot of rap hooks in history go off like those faux-horns that kick off Meek Mill's national introduction "Ima Boss," and Ross doesn't waste the opportunity by hopping back on the mic to deliver the guest verse he helped coronate his young MMG signee with. Chainz responds with "Rich as F--k," calling it "the anthem for this Verzuz" -- but "Ima Boss" is just the anthem, period.

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 10: Rick Ross feat. Jay-Z's "Free Masons" vs. 2 Chainz feat. Pharrell's "Feds Watching"

Already Ross' fourth Teflon Don selection -- fifth if you count "John" quoting "I'm Not a Star" -- and a fair enough first-half closer, if not quite the ultimate weapon as some of the set's other cuts. Chainz ends his Act One with the reggae-tinged, Pharrell-helmed BOATS II killer "Feds Watching," explaining he was motivated in part to go hard on the set from his experience losing the Grammy for best rap album on his first album, Based on a T.R.U. Story. Whatever works.

WINNER: 2 Chainz

Round 11: Rick Ross feat. T-Pain's "The Boss" vs. 2 Chainz feat. Quavo & Gucci Mane's

There's no arguing with The Boss.

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 12: Jay-Z feat. Rick Ross' "FuckWithMeYouKnowIGotIt" vs. 2 Chainz's "Watch Out"

"I don't got no verse wit' Hov... so just go on and do your little scoring or whatever." 2 Chainz knows he's playing from behind trying to keep up with Ross' ace of a guest verse: Even Magna Carta-era Jay-Z is still Jay-Z, and the Ross-'featuring FWMYKIGI was one of that album's clear highlights.

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 13: Kanye West feat. Rick Ross' "Devil in a New Dress" vs. 2 Chainz feat. Travis Scott's "4 AM"

As far as all-time flexes go, getting a massage while six digits' worth of viewers watch you rapping along to your verse on one of the best songs from Kanye's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is pretty high up there. Chainz' Pretty Girls Make Trap Music single is solid, but he may as well just throw out a discard at this point.

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 14: Rick Ross feat. Cee Lo Green's "Tears of Joy" vs. 2 Chainz feat. Drake's "Big Amount"

We might hear all of Teflon Don at this point, as "Tears of Joy" makes it over half of the album represented in some form at this point. Good chance for 2 Chainz to get back in the game, but "Big Amount" isn't necessarily the recipe -- a gem from his underrated Pretty Girls Like Trap Music, but not bringing the energy Chainz really needed to reverse the momentum here.

WINNER: Tie

Round 15: Rick Ross feat. Drake & French Montana's "Stay Schemin'" vs. Drake feat. Big Sean & 2 Chainz's "All Me"

And Chainz might have missed his shot, because it's pretty tough to one-up the early-'10s world-beater that is "Stay Schemin'," a song every where nearly every lyric became a catchphrase. The rapper born Tauheed Epps does his darnedest to keep up with a winning Drake collab of his own in Nothing Was the Same bonus cut "All Me," but even Chainz would have to admit that few fans think of his verse first on that one.

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 16: French Montana feat. Drake, Rick Ross & Lil Wayne's "Pop That" vs. 2 Chainz feat. Trey Songz, Trey Songz & Jhené Aiko's "It's a Vibe"

The Drake faucet has been turned on, and Ross is still riding high on the wave with the timelessly hype "Pop That." 2 Chainz is still trying to keep pace with Pretty Girls cuts, and while "It's a Vibe" deserved better than its No. 44 Billboard Hot 100 peak, it's just not lasting a round with "Pop That." Did Chainz burn all his strongest cuts too early?

WINNER: Rick Ross

Round 17: DJ Khaled feat. Drake & Rick Ross' "I'm on One" vs. Chance the Rapper feat. 2 Chainz & Lil Wayne's "No Problem"

This is getting to be unfair, as Ross brings out a third straight certified classic Drake collab in the Khaled-curated "I'm on One." At least this time, Chainz has something of an era-definer of his own to counter with, striking back with Chance the Rapper's Coloring Book hit "No Problem." The edge may still really be Rozay's here, but we'll be charitable and call it a draw.

WINNER: Tie

Round 18: Rick Ross' "I'm Not a Star" vs. 2 Chainz feat. Kanye West's "Birthday Song"

Ross probably could've landed the knockout blow by dropping a fourth straight five-star Drizzy collab with Take Care's "Lord Knows," but instead he decides to double back to "I'm Not a Star" from Teflon Don -- a confusing move, given the airtime already afforded to "John." The opportunity to get back in the game is once again 2 Chainz's, and this time he pounces with his early Kanye teamup "Birthday Song" -- not quite a classic, perhaps, but essential from its era at the very least.

WINNER: 2 Chainz

Round 19: Rick Ross' "Mafia Music" vs. YG feat. 2 Chainz, Big Sean and Nicki Minaj's "Big Bank"

Back to Deeper Than Rap for Ross with the soulful "Mafia Music," a respectable move if a bit low-key for a penultimate entry. 2 Chainz is a little more up to the task with the star-studded "Big Bank," a top 20 hit just two years ago that still sounds fantastic. Still, you hope both dudes have one undeniable classic still left to play.

WINNER: 2 Chainz

Round 20: Rick Ross feat. Avery Storm's "Rich Off Cocaine" (plus Kanye West feat. Rick Ross' "Famous" Remix) vs. Kanye West, Big Sean, Pusha T & 2 Chainz's "Mercy"

Not the set-ender you would've expected from Ross, certainly -- a deep cut and fan favorite from Deeper Than Rap that makes you wonder if Rozay is closing out the competition thinking he's playing in garbage time. But just in case that wasn't enough for you, he also sneaks in a remix of Kanye West's "Famous" before turning the mic over to 2 Chainz. But the latter does the right thing and closes with his own Kanye collab in the undeniable "Mercy," whose immaculate closing verse confirmed Chainz as an emerging superstar.

WINNER: 2 Chainz

BONUS ROUNDS

Wider Catalog: Tie

Both artists share so many of the same regular collaborators -- Lil Wayne, Drake, Kanye West -- that drawing a distinction between their levels of range feels like splitting hairs. (Especially when neither rapper really reached for their farther-reaching crossover records, though it's unlikely anyone particularly expected to hear Mariah Carey or Ariana Grande tonight.)

Biggest Snub: Rick Ross' "Maybach Music" series (point; 2 Chainz)

Obviously 20 songs isn't enough for either of these dudes to span their whole catalogs -- as evidenced by some of the classic bonus cuts both started spinning after the end of regulation, including Ross's Kanye-assisted "Live Fast, Die Young" and Chainz's Nicki-supporting "Beez in the Trap" -- but perhaps the biggest surprise was that no entry in Rozay's now-six-part signature "Maybach Music" series got a spin.

Best Banter: 2 Chainz

Ross wasn't feeling particularly loquacious, so it was largely up to Chainz to keep the energy up in between songs -- which he did ably, smarting over the Rozay features he couldn't match up with and counting his Gold and Platinum certifications whenever possible ("Another plaque!")

Biggest K.O.: Rick Ross

The third-quarter run of "Stay Schemin," "Pop That" and "I'm on One" was such a pummeling that you really gotta give credit to 2 Chainz for staying in the game at all down the stretch. (Still no "Lord Knows" though -- what gives?)

People's Champ: Rick Ross

Everybody loves Tauheed, but the legacy most being celebrated tonight was clearly that of Rick Ross, as shirtless and splendiferous as he was 10 or 15 years ago (and as he undoubtedly will be 20 or 25 years from now).

FINAL SCORE: 11-10-4, Rick Ross