Originally scheduled to be a contest between Jeezy and T.I., the battle between The Snowman and La Flare was the first Verzuz match-up since Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle concluded the first season in September. Stacey Abrams appeared via TV screen at the event (held at legendary Atlanta strip club Magic City) to introduce “the battle to end all battles” -- which prompted Gucci Mane to ask if the politician could wipe his criminal history clean.
While both rap vets brought their A-games, here’s how Billboard broke down the round-by-round battle -- with our overall winner declared at the bottom.
Round 1: Gucci Mane's “Round 1” vs. Jeezy's “Intro”
Gucci Mane provoked a ton of “OMG’s,” “LMAO’s” and “NO WAY’s” in the Instagram comments by kicking off the battle with the infamous Jeezy diss track “Round 1,” rapping at his opponent and having Jeezy eventually admit, “I get it, I get it though.” While Jeezy’s Trap or Die intro was rightly hailed as “legendary,” it wasn’t gasp-inducing in the same way.
WINNER: Gucci Mane
Round 2: Gucci Mane's “Benchwarmers” vs. Jeezy feat. Bun B's “Trap or Die”
Gucci kept the energy high with the equally disrespectful “Benchwarmers,” but Jeezy wisely unfurled a track with a much higher pedigree: the Thug Motivation 101 bone-crusher “Trap or Die.” Great counterpunch from The Snowman.
Round 3: Gucci Mane feat. Ester Dean's “I Think I Love Her” vs. Jeezy's “Standing Ovation”
“I came out the box like a motherf--king wrecking ball,” Jeezy declared before dropping another Thug Motivation 101 standout, “Standing Ovation,” which was yet another instance of the “classic s--t” Jeezy kept crowing about and enough to overpower Gucci’s “I Think I Love Her.”
Round 4: Gucci Mane feat. Rocko's “Plain Jane” vs. Jeezy's “Gangsta Music”
With Jeezy dropping yet another TM101 track, Gucci Mane had the more creative selection here with the Trap Back anthem “Plain Jane” -- and with Jeezy staying seated for this round, Guwop took over the energy of the battle.
WINNER: Gucci Mane
Round 5: Gucci Mane feat. DG Yola's “I’m a Dog” vs. Jeezy's “Bottom of the Map”
Deep-cut territory for both artists here, with neither seeing an opportunity to pounce and score an easy victory in the fifth round. “Bottom of the Map” is solid TM101 fodder for Jeezy, but Gucci’s “I’m a Dog” matched it well enough.
Round 6: Gucci Mane feat. OJ Da Juiceman's “Vette Ride Past” vs. Jeezy's “Jeezy The Snowman”
Here’s where Jeezy’s enthusiasm really picked itself up, with an extended intro speech prior to “Jeezy the Snowman” after another bit of buried treasure from his opponent. “Vette Ride Past” was solid, but lacked the urgency that Gucci needed to win the round.
Round 7: Gucci Mane feat. Bruno Mars & Kodak Black's “Wake Up in the Sky” vs. Boyz N Da Hood's “Den Boyz”
This was the “MAKE A NEW HIT!”/“GET SOME CLASSICS THEN!” round, which opened with Gucci taking a pretty hard shot at Jeezy, claiming that his opponent doesn’t have any current smashes before dropping his hit pop collaboration with Bruno Mars and Kodak Black. Jeezy countering with a cut from his 2005 album with his group Boyz N Da Hood was inventive, but not a potent-enough response.
WINNER: Gucci Mane
Round 8: Gucci Mane's “That’s My Hood” vs. Jeezy's “Let’s Get It/Sky’s The Limit”
“The earth is my turf,” Jeezy sneered before standing up and letting another TM101 gem blare behind him. “Let’s Get It/Sky’s The Limit” is a stone-cold classic, and thoroughly overpowered Gucci’s “That’s My Hood” in the round.
Round 9: Gucci Mane feat. Drake's “Both” vs. Jeezy feat. Jay-Z's “Go Crazy”
Going back to the claim of Jeezy not carrying enough new hits, Gucci wisely dropped the Drake collab “Both” before Jeezy countered with one of his Jay-Z team-ups. “Both” sounded fresher than “Go Crazy” considering the context, and Gucci notched another win.
WINNER: Gucci Mane
Round 10: Gucci Mane feat. Yung Ralph & Yo Gotti's “Bricks” vs. Jeezy feat. Bankroll Fresh's “All There”
Gucci Mane seemed to pick up the pace a bit when rapping along with the mixtape standout “Bricks,” and Jeezy nicely rose to the occasion with the rousing “All There,” with some smooth moves thrown in during the rap-along, and shout-outs to the departed Bankroll Fresh, to make sure he tied things up.
Round 11: OJ da Juiceman feat. Gucci Mane's “Make tha Trap Say Aye” vs. Jeezy's “Who Dat”
Gucci started the back half with an A-plus feature in a career full of them, but then Jeezy dropped an atomic bomb into the round -- “Who Dat,” a face-melting cut from The Recession. Jeezy knew he won this round, and danced accordingly.
Round 12: Young Money feat. Gucci Mane's “Steady Mobbin’” vs. Shawty Lo feat. Jeezy's “Dey Know” (Remix)
“Steady Mobbin’” came at a time in which Gucci Mane was tossing out indispensable guest verses in the late 2000s, and the Young Money track was a smart pull from La Flare... but holy cow, is “Dey Know” still an enormous record, and the Shawty Lo classic powered Jeezy to another W.
Round 13: Gucci Mane's “Heavy” vs. Jeezy feat. Plies' “Lose My Mind”
“I had to take my motherf--king coat off!” Gucci declared at the end of Round 13, as Jeezy’s “Lose My Mind” proved a formidable response to the still-awesome State vs. Radric Davis cut “Heavy.” What could have been a decisive win in the round for Gucci slipped away and resulted in a tie.
Round 14: Gucci Mane's “Street N---az” vs. Jeezy feat. Future's “Way Too Gone”
Gucci continued to throw it back with the early mixtape cut, while Jeezy continued moving forward with a Future-featuring track from TM103. “Way Too Gone” isn’t the strongest track on the underrated 103, so Gucci eked out the win on this one.
WINNER: Gucci Mane
Round 15: Gucci Mane's “First Day Out” vs. Jeezy's “Air Forces”
Jeezy finally ditched the fur and sounded ferocious while throwing it back to Thug Motivation 101, overcoming Gucci Mane’s post-prison anthem “First Day Out” with sheer willpower. Still, Guwop had the superior song here, which was enough to overcome Jeezy’s stage show.
WINNER: Gucci Mane
Round 16: Gucci Mane's “Photoshoot” vs. Jeezy's “Everything”
The round began with Gucci Mane bragging about having the superior outfit for the evening’s battle -- a claim met with Jeezy boasting about the amount of Atlanta real estate he currently owns. “Photoshoot” and “Everything” were appropriate tracks to play for the respective points, but the latter, a killer cut from Jeezy’s The Recession, proved the stronger rebuttal.
Round 17: Gucci Mane's “Wasted” vs. Jeezy's “Trap Star”
Finally, an unstoppable Gucci Mane hit! After dancing around his bigger singles for most of the battle, dropping “Wasted” was likely going to wipe out whichever Jeezy track it was pitted against, and although “Trap Star” received a rousing intro speech, this was an easy victory for Guwop.
WINNER: Gucci Mane
Round 18: Gucci Mane's “Truth” vs. Jeezy's “Get Ya Mind Right”
“For the record, this is not a diss record/ Just the truth,” goes an interlude on Gucci Mane’s “Truth,” a not-so-thinly veiled shot at... none other than Jeezy. And here’s where the tensions finally boiled over: after Gucci took one too many Pookie Loc-referencing jabs at his opponent, Jeezy paused the battle to go over the ground rules again, nod to the culture, and finally push things forward with the triumphant “Get Ya Mind Right.” Foreshadowing the beef-frying that would occur later, Jeezy used the moment to assert his elder-statesman status -- especially while shouting out rappers like King Von and Pop Smoke who had been taken too soon -- and win the round.
Round 19: Gucci Mane feat. Juicy J & DJ Paul's “745” vs. Jeezy feat. Kanye West's “Put On”
Gucci didn’t really address Jeezy’s olive branch in the previous round, instead sinking his teeth into yet another diss track in “745,” while Jeezy countered with more grown-man monologuing -- and an indisputable classic in “Put On,” which served as a late-battle chest-thump in the Atlanta match and an easy victory.
Round 20: Gucci Mane's “Trap House” vs. Jeezy feat. Jay-Z's “Seen It All”
“Trap House” and “Seen It All” offered very different closing statements for the 20 rounds of regulation: Gucci Mane leaned on his impeccable mixtape repertoire, while Jeezy showed off a glossy late-era hit (with an excellent Jay-Z verse that we didn’t get to hear, sadly). Both worked in their own way, making for a too-close-to-call finish prior to overtime.
This feels fitting for a battle that ended with a collaboration, right? Even before the feel-good “Icy” ending, in which both rappers joined in on a rendition of their hit collab from 2005, each MC got the same number of post-fight punches in -- Jeezy with “Soul Survivor” and “Welcome Back,” Gucci with “Lemonade” and “I Might Be.”
Wider Catalog: Gucci Mane
Although Thug Motivation 101 is one of the best rap albums of the 2000s, Jeezy really leaned on his monster-selling major label debut, especially in the first few round of the battle; meanwhile, Gucci Mane more nimbly hopscotched across his catalog, confidently tossing out mixtape cuts and pop crossovers. Although his taunts against Jeezy’s lack of current hits were largely unfounded... Gucci Mane did play more current hits!
Biggest Snub: Jeezy (Point: Gucci Mane)
While Gucci Mane played the majority of his most recognizable hits, Jeezy left a ton of mammoth tracks on the table: no “I Luv It” stung, no “And Then What” was a major bummer (especially considering all of the other TM101 selections), and no “My President” meant the lack of a President Obama shout-out while he’s on his book tour. Any one of those would have strengthened an already-impressive night from Jeezy.
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Best Banter: Jeezy
Even aside from his late-battle lecturing of Gucci Mane, Jeezy was simply the more eloquent contender -- reflecting upon his time in the streets, his early-career win, how much he loves Atlanta, and how much he loves owning a lot of Atlanta real estate. While Gucci was certainly more focused on tearing down his foe with his musical selections, he remained largely quiet in between beats.
Biggest K.O.: Jeezy
This one’s close, since Gucci’s “Wasted” steamrolled “Trap Star” in the 17th round, but Jeezy saving “Put On” for the penultimate battle was a brilliant move to secure an essential round; Guwop’s spiteful “745” never stood a chance against such a towering anthem.
People’s Champ: Jeezy
It was clear from the get-go that Gucci Mane had entered the Verzuz arena with a bone still to pick with his opponent, while Jeezy wanted to reflect on his journey and work toward a feeling of unity. Once that dynamic was established, it was hard not to root for Jeezy’s harmonious agenda -- and although the battle veered toward an irreconcilable break in its later stages, the “Icy” finale was a win for Atlanta, hip-hop, and the rapper who came in looking for peace.
FINAL SCORE: 12-9-5, Jeezy