Hip-Hop

Eve vs. Trina in 'Verzuz' Battle of Hip-Hop Greats: See Billboard's Scorecard and Winner For the Showdown

Trina, Eve
Johnny Nunez/WireImage

Trina and Eve attend the 2010 Hennessy Artistry concert series at Cipriani Wall Street on Oct. 14, 2010 in New York City

The go-to industry move for decades has been to pit successful women against each other, especially in rap. Eve and Trina experienced that first-hand while coming up at the same time in the late '90s and early 2000s. The iconic MCs got the last laugh tonight (June 16) by breaking through another glass ceiling together as the first-ever female rappers to battle in the Verzuz ring. 

Queens have graced Verzuz before. Who could forget Erykah Badu vs. Jill Scott for Mother's Day 2020, or Brandy taking on Monica last August -- before the Season 1 finale between soul goddesses Gladys Knight and Pattie LaBelle? Leading up to this, Season 2 also gave us Ashanti vs. Keyshia Cole and, most recently, R&B girl group royalty SWV vs. Xscape. Eve and Trina picked up where Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, who co-founded Verzuz to as the pandemic struck in March 2020, left off with their May 30 rematch and raised the bar for June 26's clash between Bow Wow and Soulja Boy.

It was a certified ladies’ night at LIV Nightclub -- if this truly were a playoff game, Trina would automatically have home-court advantage as Miami’s own, while Eve was videoing in from London -- as the two competitors lathered each other in love, dancing along when the other was performing and noting favorites from each other’s catalog. Trina had previously said she really wanted to do a Verzuz with Lil’ Kim, but toward the end of her battle (read: celebration) with Eve, she put an end to that rumor. “I wouldn’t have wanted to do this with nobody else than my sister, Eve,” the Diamond Princess said. “We’ve been knowing each other for over 20 years. We always showed love, we always supported each other, we always held each other down.”

The bars were flying, and with them came nostalgia. These 90 minutes existed solely to give flowers to two of the baddest women this industry has ever seen. Even so, there always has to be a winner. Below is Billboard's round-by-round scorecard with a victor declared at the end.

Round 1: Trina feat. Trick Daddy’s “Da Baddest B—h”  vs. Eve’s “Tambourine”

Trina wastes no time reminding everyone she really is that bad 21 years after the title track (and her debut solo single) from her game-changing debut album. Eve eases in with 2007’s “Tambourine” -- a strong song in its own right, having cracked the top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Songs chart -- but she admits Trina picked the “perfect way to start it off” and wished she were in Miami to enjoy it.

WINNER: Trina

Round 2: Webbie feat. Trina’s “Bad B—h (Remix)” vs. Eve feat. Nokio the N-Tity’s “What Ya’ll Want (Remix)” 

If this weren’t a broadcast allowing all to see Eve’s snarl during “What Y’all Want,” it certainly can be heard through her confident delivery.

WINNER: Eve

Round 3: Trina’s “Pull Over” vs. DJ Clue feat. DMX, Drag-On, Eve, Jadakiss & Styles P’s “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem (Remix)” 

Trina really takes advantage of having an audience to play to, and punches-up her “Pull Over” performance with backup dancers joining her on stage. “Any time you come to the 305, this is how we get down,” she boasts. Inarguably strong, but Eve's counter has an emotional element that can't be topped: The Ruff Ryders’ First Lady throws up an X in tribute to the late DMX, who died April 9, and lets his verse play uninterrupted before saying, “May he rest.” Trina agrees, putting up an X, prompting a broadcast-wide moment of silence, and recognizing that this was happening on what would have been Tupac’s 50th birthday.

WINNER: Eve

Round 4: Silkk the Shocker feat. Trina's “That’s Cool”  vs. Eve’s “Let’s Talk About”

Let it be stated for the record: Trina’s energy is relentless. Every time Eve brings a timeless banger to the table, such as the second track on her debut album Let There Be Eve...Ruff Ryders’ First Lady, Trina counterpunches. In this round, Eve may have had the more recognizable song, but Trina makes sure anybody who hadn’t heard “That’s Cool” before is adding it to their playlist.

WINNER: Trina

Round 5: Trina’s “Single Again” vs. Missy Elliott feat. Eve, Nas, Lil’ Mo & Q-Tip’s “Hot Boyz (Remix)” 

Trina shouts out the Slip-N-Slide label to introduce “Single Again,” produced by J-Roc and Timbaland for her 2008 album Still Da Baddest. She even brings it home a capella, without missing a word. But then Eve goes and brings Missy Elliott into the mix: “Hot Boyz” is one of Eve’s four top-10 Hot 100 hits, peaking at No. 5, and spent a then-record 18 weeks at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Rap Singles chart.

WINNER: Eve

Round 6: Missy Elliott feat. Ludacris & Trina’s “One Minute Man (Video Remix)” vs. Eve feat. DMX, Drag-On & The Lox’s “Scenario 2000” 
Smart move, Trina: It’s always a good idea to ride the Missy Elliott wave. Both women make sure to point out that Missy was a pioneer, “an architect,” who paved the way for them and so many other women in the game. “Scenario 2000” will never hit the same without DMX there to deliver his own biting and barking bars, but Eve bringing it back to that in the first place is a winning move.

WINNER: Eve

Round 7: Trina feat. Ludacris’ “B R Right”  vs. The Roots feat. Eve & Erykah Badu’s “You Got Me”

This is Eve’s moment to rep Philly, and it works, but it doesn't hit as hard as Trina’s continuous nods toward Miami -- because Eve is stuck in a room all the way in London while Trina gets to physically rock it out with her fellow Miamians. “You Got Me” is an all-time classic -- that goes without saying, and it even has a Grammy to show for it -- but here, Badu and Black Thought’s background vocals overshadow Eve. Trina, meanwhile, holds down her stage presence with her 2002 Kanye West-produced bop “B R Right.”

WINNER: Trina

Round 8: Trina feat. Monica’s “Always” vs. Eve’s “Love Is Blind”

Trina reveals that “Always” almost didn’t make her 2010 album Amazin’  because it was too R&B, but she fought for it. The crowd proves her right in fighting for it by finishing out her verse for her, but Eve again pulls at the heartstrings with 1999’s “Love Is Blind,” a song bravely tackling domestic abuse that she admits she was too young at the time to fully wrap her head around. “It’s sad and unthinkable to think that people are still going through s—t like this,” she reflects.

WINNER: Eve

Round 9: Trina feat. Kelly Rowland’s “Here We Go”  vs. Eve feat. Gwen Stefani’s “Let Me Blow Ya Mind” 

Trina somewhat stays with the theme, bringing out “Here We Go" off her 2005 Glamorest Life album, a slow song sampling Force MDs’ classic '80s ballad “Tender Love.” The track calls out any man who dares cheat on her, and before diving in, Trina dedicates it to all the ladies out there. She doubles down by singing Kelly Rowland’s vocals before shredding her verse. In any other round, this would likely be an easy W for Trina.

But Eve’s pacing pays off. She saved her highest-charting Hot 100 single, the No. 2-peaking “Let Me Blow Ya Mind,” to jolt the energy back up about midway through the battle.

WINNER: Eve

Round 10: Yo Gotti feat. Trina, Nicki Minaj & Gucci Mane’s “5 Star” vs. City High feat. Eve’s “Caramel (Remix)” 

Trina again takes the mood Eve was setting and turns it up a notch -- making it easy to forget that this is actually Yo Gotti’s 2009 banger that also featured Nicki Minaj. The same can be said for Eve and “Caramel (Remix),” though this particular performance from Trina is hypnotizing.

WINNER: Trina

Round 11: Chingy’s “Right Thurr (Remix) feat. Trina & Jermaine Dupri vs. Eve’s “Gotta Man”

“Right Thurr” skyrocketed Chingy to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2003, and it charted for 33 weeks overall. The remix went just as hard, though, and Chingy has Trina to thank for that. In London, this round brings out some of Eve's best banter of the evening. “This is when I was in love,” she says, before sneaking in a jab: “I’m still in love. I got a better man.”

WINNER: Tie

Round 12: Trina’s “F—k Boy” vs. Eve’s “Satisfaction”

Have we mentioned just how strong Trina’s stage presence is? For “F—k Boy,” she leans all the way into her verse, throwing up the middle finger and all, giving Eve serious FOMO. “I wish I were there with y’all,” Eve admits. “I’m feeling real left out. I’m sad, man.” She does channel that into her “Satisfaction” verse, throwing up her own middle finger. It's the strongest she's sounded to this point -- Dr. Dre should be proud.

WINNER: Tie

Round 13: Trick Daddy feat. Trina & Slip-N-Slide Express' “Take it to Da House” vs. Eve’s “Give It To You”

“Take it to Da House” is just an immediate feel-good vibe, one that probably got viewers even more excited to return to the clubs after the pandemic. Eve tries to play to Trina’s Miami audience by “taking it to Jamaica” with “Give It To You” featuring Sean Paul, but this round's a little out of her reach. 

WINNER: Trina

Round 14: Trina feat. Killer Mike’s “Look Back at Me” vs. Eve feat. Drag-On & Swizz Beatz' “Got What You Need” 

The Huffington Post’s Philp Lewis called “Look Back at Me” Trina’s “magnum opus,” and he’s not wrong. Trina even brings her booty-bearing dancers back out! That's a tough move for Eve to match, as she only has her DJ to bounce off of. “Got What You Need” is still the perfect response, though, especially when Eve shouts out her “brother Swizzy.” Always good to pander to the event’s co-founder -- if only this were an actual boxing match and Swizz Beatz were an actual judge.

WINNER: Trina

Round 15: Trick Daddy feat. Trina’s “Shut Up” vs. Mary J. Blige feat. Eve’s “Not Today”

“Shut Up," from 1999, helped to put Trina on before Da Baddest B—h solidified her place as a solo star. “Not Today” was a heavyweight 2003 collaboration with Queen of Hip-Hop Soul Mary J. Blige. Any time Mary J. is involved, it shifts the scales.

WINNER: Eve

Round 16: Latto feat. Trina & Saweetie’s “B—h From Da Souf (Remix)”  vs. Kelly Rowland feat. Eve’s “Like This” 

The whole battle has been an homage to the female R&B/rap pioneers of the ‘90s and early '00s, but Trina ups the ante here by using her platform to put on for the next generation of female emcees -- highlighted by her feature on Latto’s “B—h From Da Souf (Remix)” that came out in 2019. 

WINNER: Trina

Round 17: Trina feat. Rick Ross’ “Told Y’all” vs. Amerie feat. Eve’s “1 Thing (Remix)” 

Again, Trina’s energy is unmatched. To be fair, by this point it's the middle of the night in the U.K., and Eve is understandably exhausted -- especially without the adrenaline boost a crowd provides. She hides it pretty well during “1 Thing (Remix),” but Trina just keeps punching.

WINNER: Trina

Round 18: Trina’s “Red Bottoms” vs. Eve feat. Alicia Keys’s “Gangsta Lovin’” 

Trina walked in “Red Bottoms” so Cardi B could run in them with “Bodak Yellow.” Trina is prepared for this one, too: she put the finishing touch on by wearing red bottoms. Eve’s DJ points out that “Gangsta Lovin,’” the lead single from her third studio album Eve-olution -- her third No. 1 album on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart -- needs no introductions. Eve slips back to 2002 and delivers it as God intended.

WINNER: Eve

Round 19: Trina feat. Lil Wayne’s “Don’t Trip”  vs. Missy Elliott feat. Eve’s “4 My People” 

The Missy Effect strikes again. Eve would have benefitted tenfold from being at LIV and performing this song in a place she claimed she spent many, many long nights in due to this 2002 smash -- but some songs just have an eternal quality. This is one.

Winner: Eve

Round 20: Trick Daddy feat. Trina’s “Nann N---a” vs. Eve’s “Who’s That Girl?”

Trina, you sneaky, sneaky legend. After previously stating ahead of “Shut Up” that Trick Daddy couldn’t be there with her, she goes and brings him out for “Nann N---a.” It's very full circle in more ways than one, as “Nann N—a” was her first-ever verse at just 19 years old, and the video was shot in LIV. Eve chooses to end on “Who’s That Girl?” -- lead single from her 2001 sophomore album Scorpion. It still slaps 20 years later, and Eve will forever be that girl, but Trina’s finale moment is just too perfect.

WINNER: Trina

BONUS ROUNDS

Wider Catalogue: Eve

This is just math. Trina’s Da Baddest B—h put the whole game on notice and hit No. 1 on the Billboard Top Rap Albums chart, while Still Da Baddest perched atop the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, but Eve owns three No. 1s on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart.

Biggest Snub: Eve (Point: Trina)

Both women did an exceptional job at hitting all their biggest career moments. Eve’s catalog is so deep that she left some notable collaborations, such as “Hey Y’all” feat. Snoop Dogg and Nate Dogg -- Philly’s own invading West Coast rap. There are also innumerable Ruff Ryders’ joints that were left unplayed, like “Dog Match” with DMX or “Thug In the Street” with Drag-On and The LOX. 

Best Banter: Trina 

This is not to say Eve didn’t have any personality. She shined. It was more that Trina took the lead because she could feed off of her crowd’s energy. She generally had more pre-song banter and took the lead on mentioning just how much this matchup was for all the ladies and for the culture. “This is for all the females in hip-hop, all the females that’s up-and-coming that’s doing it. … It’s all queens in the buildings, and when you’re a queen, you hold your crown. You don’t never gotta feel insecure about no b—h.” 

Biggest K.O.: Trina 

Not only was Trina the only one to feature an on-stage cameo, she used part of the short time between when the battle ended to when the broadcast feed cut off to perform her brand new single “Receipts” for the first time. “Receipts” dropped earlier Wednesday. There was no time for Eve to counter, though the internet would likely have broken if she’d unveiled new music. 

People's Champ: Tie

This may seem like a cop out, but it’s the truth: On Instagram Live, as soon as the comments section was fluttering with praise for Eve, Trina gave them something to talk about, and vice versa. Fans seemed mostly happy that two powerful Black women were given the room to remind everyone that Black women should always have free reign to own these spaces. Eve and Trina set that tone.

FINAL SCORE: 12-10-3, Trina