If you’ve been under a rock, Verzuz is the latest wave in social media entertainment that pits some of your favorite artists within the same genre of music against each other to go hit for hit. The event takes place live on Instagram and Apple TV, and the most recent face off between Jeezy and Gucci set a record by garnering an audience of 1.8 million viewers.
So, when Foxy’s brother Gavin reportedly popped into a Clubhouse chat and spilled the tea that his sis had just finished the paperwork for a Verzuz with Lil Kim, fans were obviously hype. And, if what Gavin said is true, a Lil Kim and Foxy Brown Verzuz could easily bring in the most viewers to date.
As far as hip hop beefs are concerned, the one between Kimberly Jones -aka- Lil Kim and Inga Marchand -aka- Foxy Brown is legendary—dating back to the 90s. Formerly friendly, the two rappers grew up in the same neighborhood of Bed-Stuy and even attended the same high school. At one point, the two Brooklynites were cordial enough to do a song together (albeit never in the same scene together)—both rocking the mic alongside Da Brat (who I personally believe had the best verse) on the remix to the 90’s classic “No One Else” by Total.
Maybe it was because Hip Hop fans have a tendency to pit female rappers against each other in a way that they rarely do to male rappers. Maybe it’s because they both debuted on the scene at the same time, both selling sex appeal and a swag that is soo New York. Maybe it’s because both were aiming for the same throne. Whatever it was, with Kim by Biggie’s side, and Foxy rolling with Jay-Z and later Nas in The Firm, the beef between the two has seemingly never been resolved.
So, what started the beef in the first place? Well, aside from the fact that both rappers’ debut albums were released a week apart from each other, making them commercially competitive, there are a few rumors as to what ignited an air of dissension between the two. According to former editor of The Source, Kim Osorio, the beef may have began due to one copying the other with both rappers wearing the same outfit in a photo inside each artists’ debut album packaging.
I’ve gotten mixed versions of the story. One story that I remember was about their album packaging. If you go back to both of their debut albums, you will notice they have on the same outfit. I [heard] that one had borrowed the outfit from the other and that led to them not speaking. Whatever the reason, it seemed trivial to everyone around.-Kim Osorio
While some may say that it was probably more a coincidence than copying, when it comes to the music industry, it doesn’t take much to orchestrate a “beef” between two female artists (think Brandy and Monica). Beefs also drive record sales. However, at this point, the “beef” was likely more fan driven than an actual beef between Kim and Fox. In fact, Foxy gave props to Kim on her title track on Ill Na Na.
However, the first real signs that the two were no longer friendly came in 1997 after both rappers turned down a deal from Def Jam CEO l, Lyor Cohen, to record a joint album titled Thelma and Louise, that would’ve netted both women $500K a piece. By the end of the 90s, both rappers would begin dissing each other lyrically.
Kim seemingly threw the first jab at Foxy with a subliminal on the track “Play Around” from Lil Cease’s first solo album with what many believe was Kim insinuating Foxy was copying her style. Kim was also hyped up on the track by Diddy.
However, Kim was much more direct on the title track of her sophhomore album, The Notorious K.I.M. with the following lyrics:
This chick running around with this stink a** gap
And them fake a** raps having panic attacks
You ain’t a star and your record company know that
How you make all this money, get this far and blow it?
I’m a businesswoman now, so I’m not concerned
I’d bet on Lil’ Cease before you and your firm
If this was back in the days, I would’ve been snatched you
I’m getting money now, them b*tches in the hood they can have you
After those shots were fired, it didn’t take long for Foxy to clap back on “Bang Bang” from Capone -N- Noreaga’s album The Reunion rapping:
You talk slick, f*ck is all that sneak sh*t
Y’all kill me with that subliminal sh*t
Why’s you frontin’ and kickin’ that street sh*t
Please, impress me, go back to that freak sh*t
However, the real diss on that track is when Foxy references Kim publicly mourning the death of Big, saying, “Let the n**** rest in peace and hop off his d*ck… do you“, and we all know that Kim don’t play when it comes to Big.
In 2001, Foxy attempted to make amends with Kim, telling MTV News, “I really don’t know how it started. But Russell [Simmons] and I, we got together, and I said, ‘Russell, I want to call a truce. I want to have a sit-down with Kim. I don’t care what it is. Let’s just end it. We can even do a collaboration. We’re bigger than this. If it has to start with me, let it start with me.” However, Kim reportedly never responded.
Over the years the two would trade shots back and forth on various songs, and the beef would continue…largely on wax. But as Hip Hop evolved, both rappers began to fade from the limelight, with both serving time in prison, Foxy developing hearing loss, and later teaming up with another of Kim’s arch nemesis’, Nicki Minaj, followed by both women taking on motherhood and seemingly moving on.
So, what does a Verzuz between the two mean? Hopefully, it means there’s been a softening of hearts. Ultimately, if it goes down, this event will likely be one for the record books and will definitely be a gift for the culture.
Verzuz organizers have yet to officially confirm if and when this event is taking place.