Watch Jeezy & Gucci Mane Get Tense With Each Other Before Burying Beef & Performing “So Icy” Together In Dramatic Verzuz Battle

Watch Jeezy & Gucci Mane Get Tense With Each Other Before Burying Beef & Performing “So Icy” Together In Dramatic Verzuz Battle

For the past few months, the Verzuz battles have been fun distractions — part competitive, part celebratory. Watching aging hitmakers bonding over their own catalogs has been a balm. But last night’s Verzuz battle was a different story, and it was appointment viewing. Atlanta rap kings Jeezy and Gucci Mane have been bitter rivals for 16 years, and the sight of the two of them sharing a stage last night was truly surreal.

Gucci and Jeezy both arrived at the same mid-’00s moment. Early in their careers, they had two songs together, “Black Tees” and the hit “So Icy.” Shortly afterward, though, tensions between the two emerged, possibly over which rapper should get credit for “So Icy” and which one could put “So Icy” on an album. The two attacked each other on multiple songs, and the feud wasn’t just musical. In 2005, five armed men stormed into Gucci’s house, and Gucci shot at them, killing one of them — Pookie Loc, a rapper signed to Jeezy’s CTE label.

In the years since, there have been a few entreaties to end the feud, but it’s never happened. Even in his relatively peaceful post-prison phase, Gucci has been bitter and unsparing in his attacks on Jeezy — especially on the 2012 track “Truth,” on which Gucci taunts Jeezy over Pookie Loc’s death: “I know it’s hard for you to sleep knowing you killed your homeboy/ You left his son to be a bastard, won’t even raise your own boy.”

Recently, Jeezy, gearing up for a Verzuz battle with T.I., said that he’d reached out to Gucci for a Verzuz battle but that Gucci had declined. So it was a genuine shock to see that, in a change of plans, Jeezy and Gucci would be going head-to-head in the same room. Last night, it all happened in the iconic Atlanta strip club Magic City, with both rappers sitting in side-by-side thrones onstage.

The battle started with a surprise cameo from former Georgia gubernatorial candidate and voting-rights advocate Stacey Abrams, who talked briefly about the importance of the coming senatorial runoff elections. (Gucci: “Can you wipe my record clean?”) But Gucci clearly couldn’t wait to get going, and he started things off with the Jeezy diss track “Round 1” before the call with Abrams was even over. The battle stayed intense like that. Gucci did a generous handful of diss tracks and berated Jeezy for playing too much “old-ass shit.” Jeezy tried to stay above it and touted his own contributions to Atlanta and rap culture.

As a sheer Verzuz battle, it was plenty entertaining, since both of them have hits for days. But there was also a lingering tension underneath the whole spectacle, and that came close to exploding when Gucci rapped “Truth” straight at Jeezy’s face, then taunted him some more about Pookie Loc’s death. Jeezy responded with an impassioned speech about setting an example and doing it for slain rappers like King Von and Pop Smoke. It was stressful!

At the end of the night, though, we got the pro-wrestling swerve. Gucci and Jeezy performed “So Icy” together for the first time in a very, very long time. Jeezy introduced it thus: “We could do this motherfucker one last time and be done with it.” When the song came on, both of them looked euphoric, smiling and dancing together. The battle ended with Gucci thanking Jeezy for extending an olive branch. It was quite a thing to see.

You can watch the entire Verzuz battle below.

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