Imagine a scene in the woods in an old Kung-Fu movie where a young, skilled warrior meets an older, experienced one. Nobody else is around, and all of a sudden they both draw their swords and decide to test each other’s fighting style and proficiency. After the short aggressive duel, the two fighters, who have no personal malice against each other, simply walk away peacefully and continue their paths through the woods that they were originally on.
That’s what I envision when I look at this Legends Only battle between Method Man and Math Hoffa. The woods that I refer to in the previous paragraph would actually be the jungle with these two emcees, because the streets are normally referred to as the “concrete jungle” in Hip-Hop (the setting of the battle was the middle of a back street where buildings with graffiti surrounded them). With the sword sounds and Chinese writing that you hear and see during their verses, you just get the feeling of an intense match in solitude where mutual respect is gained between the two artists.
The young, skilled warrior would obviously be Math Hoffa, who was born Justin Edwards in Brooklyn on May 16th, 1995. The older, experienced warrior would be Method Man, who was born Clifford Smith on April 1st, 1971.
The ‘Legends Only’ Platform
It’s so much fun seeing emcees from the 1990’s and early 2000’s battle the younger ones from today, because the style of battling has changed up so much. There’s hardly ever any music used anymore. But, the lyricists get to put more emphasis on the lines they use, and it just makes you all the more curious to hear how rappers from the earlier era would sound in an acapella battle of today.
This battle right here between Meth and Math was a joy to watch, and the vision that Math Hoffa has for this new Legends Only platform is one that Hip-Hop fans are going to really appreciate.
According to The Shadow League, when asked how he got in contact with Method Man, Math Hoffa said “Meth is the big bro!” And, when he asked the Wu-Tang member whether he wanted to get involved, and The Iron Lung (one of Meth’s nicknames) immediately said yes.
Tical (another one of Meth’s nicknames…he has a few) also pointed out the fact that the beauty of battle rapping is that people get to judge for themselves who they think won. “This will be the highest form of a rap artist’s expression…period.” he was quoted as saying in a recent article. “So in that competition takes a backseat to excellence and two emcees with the desire of being ‘legendary”, hence the name…this is a dream come true, and a league that we have been waiting for…as a legend in the culture and a fan of Hip-Hop, there’s no way to lose. I can’t lose as a businessman, fans can’t lose as viewers. We all win. It is just that beautiful.”
Best Lines in the Method Man and Math Hoffa Battle
If I had to write out all of my favorite lyrics and metaphors in this battle, I would go way over the word count limit that I have for this article. So, I’ll point out the lyrics that they used against each other that were about one another, some of my favorite one’s from each emcee.
Math Hoffa said “They told me to milk the game for the cheese, because the cream will make you legendary…” C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me), released in 1993, is one of Wu-Tang’s classic hits. But, he also rips into Meth, especially one line where he says “My punches will cut your wind and / gut through them till there’s nothing in em”, and when he spits “This is our block you can’t trek / Beat mathematics? Must have been a Wu-Tang track…” Mathematics, of course, is Wu-Tang’s DJ.
Meth and Math in mid-battle. Image from TrackBlasters Ent.
Then, Method Man scratches his chin and goes in. He starts by saying “I guess you’re curious, if Meth gets furious…/ Math throwing punches at the Wu? Get Serius…/” There was once an incident in 2013 where Math Hoffa threw a real punch at Serius Jones in a rap battle). Meth continues to hit him with lyrical swords like “You must be off a bad pill, you stepping on a landmine / I’ll bury you in a landfill, now that’s two Hoffa’s they can’t find…” He even shows love to the new school, saying in one line “Y’all perfected our bounce”, referring to the unique style and bounce that Hip-Hop music had in the 1990’s.
I’m sure there will be more great battles to come on Legends Only.