To conclude their show, Three 6 Mafia and Bone Thugs-N-Harmony united on stage to perform Bone Thug’s ‘Crossroads’ as a screen behind them featured photos of late entertainers such as Memphis’ Young Dolph. (Photo: Brianna Smith-Herman)

by Brianna Smith-Herman —

Throughout quarantine, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Verzuz battle series has been a hot commodity. 

It redefines the DJ battles of hip-hop’s early days for the “one gotta go” set. 

TSD contributor Brianna Smith-Herman (right) and Timalisha Dixon are ready for the must-see event at the Hollywood Palladium.

Two legendary crews, Memphis’ Three 6 Mafia and Cleveland’s Bone Thugs-N-Harmony recently faced off against one another in Los Angeles and I had the pleasure of attending this legendary battle.

The premise is simple: Two prominent producers, singers or songwriters pair up live on Instagram and compete to decide who has the better catalog. 

The rules came together on the fly through trial and error. As it stands, each battle goes 20 rounds, with each contestant playing a hit and hearing a rebuttal. 

Verzuz is fun, simple and doesn’t have many rules. The audience is mostly in charge of the scoring, and there’s rarely an agreement on points.

There have been tense moments at previous Verzuz events, but they never have broken out into a full-blown tussle… until last Thursday (Dec. 2) night in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Palladium.

Three 6 and Bone Thugs spent years beefing with each other, going back to the mid-’90s, where Three 6 accused Bone Thugs of biting their style. 

Over the years, both groups amassed enormous catalogs, scoring hits of their own and guesting on other people’s chart-toppers. 

Bone Thugs was popular in their time, as they were discovered by NWA’s Eazy E. 

Three 6 was popular, but more of an underground sensation. Over the years, they have proven to be vastly influential in the rap & hip-hop industry. 

Being a Memphian and a fan of Verzuz since the beginning, I was excited to be able to witness Three 6 in rare form. 

Juicy J, DJ Paul, Gangsta Boo, Crunchy Black, Project Pat and La Chat were all in attendance. 

Three 6 started the show with high energy, performing “Who Run It.” 

With caution tape dividing the stage down the middle and with members of both groups jawing at each other, I knew the night was going to be one to remember.

Three 6 and Bone Thugs ended their feud a long time ago, but apparently nobody told Bizzy Bone, the most famously troubled livewire onstage that night. 

About 3 songs into the battle, Bizzy Bone went off at the mouth and threw something at Juicy J. 

The music stopped and members of Three 6, along with their entourage, rushed Bone Thugs. On the microphone, Gangsta Boo called Bizzy Bone “A hater! You mustn’t take your pills!”

The stage immediately filled up, and it took a minute to settle everyone down. 

The caution tape between the two groups had been broken during the fight and all the rappers spent the rest of the night roaming freely, embracing one another and cheering each other on.

And it turned out to be arguably the most purely entertaining Verzuz battles yet, with both groups pulling from deep reserves of hits and bringing surprise guests out onstage.

Bone Thugs-N-Harmony came ready. (Screen capture)

Bone Thugs brought out Chamillioniare, Lil Jon, the son of their late mentor Eazy-E, and their “Thuggish Ruggish Bone” collaborator Satasha Williams — an impressive list of performers, but nothing like what Three 6 had on deck.

Three 6 went crazy with the special guests Lil Flip, Duke Deuce, Wiz Khalifa, Project Pat and La Chat, and a triumphant “Stay Fly” with 8Ball & MJG and Young Buck. 

“Three 6 Mafia bringing everyone back for their verse on ‘Stay Fly’ live in 2021 might be the best performance I’ve ever seen on a Verzuz,” said Cory Townes. 

They had a mid-set Lil Wayne appearance, which is the sort of thing that most groups would’ve saved until they end. However, Three 6 had more tricks up their sleeve when actor Terrence Howard, came out to perform “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp,” the song that won Three 6 their Oscar award. The song was featured in the movie “Hustle & Flow,” which featured Howard.

Terrence Howard, with passion, performed “It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp,” the song that won an Academy Award for Three 6 Mafia. (Photo: Triller/Amanda Westcott)

In the end, the fight didn’t matter too much. By the time the show was over, everybody was sharing hugs, love and laughter. It ended on a high note.

“I want to send a shout out to y’all Memphis partner Dolph,” said Lazy Bone. “While we got a chance to enjoy each other, that’s exactly what we should be doing… Juice we gone do this together.” 

With the two groups gathering together on the stage to perform Bone Thug’s ‘Crossroads,’ where a screen behind them featured photos of late entertainers, such as Young Dolph, Biggie, Eazy-E, Nipsey Hussle, Kobe Bryant, 2Pac, Virgil Abloh and DMX.

“This Verzuz just reminded me of my childhood and was definitely one for the ages,” said Frank Herron Jr. “It had it all: Scuffles, love, special guests, classics, thug hits, club hits, pop hits, stripper anthems, hilarious commentary — all in the name of two of the most influential groups of all time.”

I recently read articles and YouTube comments on others’ thoughts of the Verzuz battle and many people who watched it live on Instagram said the show was perfect outside of the audience being dead and I am here to debunk that lie.

The show was sold out from top to bottom and the audience was indeed lit, participating and enjoying themselves. The mics did not pick up the audience and so that is why it may have seemed that way to the viewers but it was indeed a packed and popping show!

If you love rap music, the whole thing made for an exciting night of entertainment, and you can relive the whole battle below.

 (To view the full battle, visit https://bit.ly/3y6DafK.)