Saturday night’s highly-touted song battle between St. Louis’ Nelly and Atlanta’s Ludacris on Instagram Live ended with one clear winner — Ludacris’ WiFi.
The rappers met online during the popular Verzuz series in which artists put their songs up against each other, taking turns going song for song to see who has the biggest and best repertoire. More than 450,000 people tuned in Saturday.
The heavy downpour that swept through the St. Louis area as the virtual battle got underway literally took Nelly out of the competition for stretches during the early portion. There was even a suggestion of postponing it at one point. Ludacris passed the time waiting on Nelly by debuting “Silence of the Lambs,” an unreleased track produced by Timbaland.
Once Nelly returned, his audio and video never seemed as concise as Ludacris’, which gave Ludacris an edge, and made Nelly the source of many new memes and GIFs.
A couple of random observations among many over the three hours: Ludacris was more strategic while Nelly was just having fun; and Nelly may have left some key joints on the table. For example, how does he not play “Call on Me,” his song with Janet Jackson, on her birthday (he did play it during the bonus round that didn’t count)? And how did Nelly not lead with “Country Grammar”?
If there’s a public consensus, it’s that Ludacris won. Ludacris was also Billboard magazine’s pick.
Throughout the event, the respective hometown legends spoke warmly of each other’s music.
Ludacris acknowledged Nelly’s bringing St. Louis hip-hop into the national conversation and suggested St. Louis should throw him a parade. Nelly showed off his Diamond Award given to him by the Recording Academy for selling over 10 million copies of “Country Grammar,” and brought up his 2012 Soldiers Memorial concert that drew his biggest local crowd ever, as well as the biggest crowd for Celebrate St. Louis.
Kevin Hart, Missy Elliot, Travis Scott, Tiffany Haddish, Common, Trey Songz, Ja Rule, Marlon Wayans, Snoop Dogg, Kevin Durant, and Michael Blackson were among the celebrities who checked into the battle.