Bad Boy vs. So So Def

AURN contributor J. Hall breaks down his prediction on the recently confirmed Bad Boy vs. So So Def Verzuz battle.


Credit by BET. Strictly for editorial use.
Reading Time: 3 minutes

After multiple delays of Sean “Diddy” Combs playing Jermaine “JD” Dupri like a middle-school stepbrother, the Bad Boy vs. So So Def Recordings Verzuz has finally been confirmed. And although there’s been no official date set, that doesn’t stop me from making a grand prediction that I could be wrong about it, but I’m pretty sure I won’t be. So here it goes:

A Tale of Two HNIC’s:

Starting at the top, both captains Sean “Diddy” Combs and Jermaine “JD” Dupri dance(literally) on the line of CEO and artist. If the battle was based on raw talent, it’s JD, without a doubt. But although Dupri has written and produced both hit Hip Hop AND R&B projects, the charisma of Mr. Combs is just too strong when it comes to solo records. Yes, Money Ain’t A Thang with a present Jay-Z is a gut punch, while it’s a sure bet that any Atlanta, GA, building will go PPP loan insane once JD plays Welcome to Atlanta. However, Diddy has too many uppercuts with the I Need A Girl sequels, Can’t Nobody Hold Me Down, and Bad Boy for Life.

Strong Team Mean

Credit by Rap Up. Strictly for Editorial Purposes.

Both So So Def and Bad Boy had an anchor artist, The one MC who sets it off and holds down the label. The go-to Chief MC for So So Def was DaBrat, the first female rapper to go platinum with her Funkdafied debut. The Chi-town MC follow-ups, such as Give It 2 You and Whatcha Like, and standout feature(s) on Mariah Carey’s Always Be My Baby. Dru Hill’s In My Bed-remix made her the general of So So Def. Unfortunately, that arsenal is a fly-size scratch to anything Notorious B.I.G. An added truth is that if this battle stays in the rap choice, it’ll be heavily one-sided in Bad Boy’s favor. Kris Kross (RIP Mack Daddy) and Bow Wow (whether as Lil or Shad Moss) have dope middle-school anthems but would catch a lunchtime beatdown once Mase and The Lox step on stage. So So Def has a solid backup with songs like I Think They Like Me, Neva Scared, and DAMN! that goes hard at every Black College Homecoming, but Special Delivery, It’s All About the Benjamins, and Flava In Ya Ear, make Bad Boy reign supreme any day of the week.

Strong Team Smooth

The best strategy for So So Def against Bad Boy is to stay within the R&B lane. The label’s production work (mainly Jermaine Dupri and Bryan-Michael Cox) on albums like TLC’s CrazySexyKool, Mariah’s The Emancipation of Mimi, and Usher’s Confessions edge out Puff’s Hitmen production squad, sending them home for Christmas early. Although Faith Evans, Carl Thomas, 112 vs. Xscape, Anthony Hamilton, and Jagged Edge appear even on the surface, So So Def’s work outside the label would place them a mile ahead of their competition.

There Can Only Be One

A Bad Boy vs. So So Def battle between the two legendary music labelscould be iconic whether you’re in the audience trying to duck Covid or at home trying to steal your neighbor’s wifi. However, the victor would go to Bad Boy simply because of their era of dominance. So So Def has always been in the solid second or third place, but Bad Boy made everyone take notice when at its peak as no.1. So So Def will have a hometown advantage if the Verzuz takes place in Atlanta; still, unlike Cash Money or No Limit, their (So So Def) identity was never solely recognized as a southern record label. So So Def was a diverse talent with classic records that everyone should celebrate, but Bad Boy in its prime was more than a label; it was a movement that shifted culture that will forever be felt.

** Listen to the Bad Boy vs. So So Def playlist below or click HERE to listen on Apple Music. **

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