Supernatural vs. Juice

THROWBACK CLASSIC! This match-up from 1999 is one of the most famous freestyle battles of all time.

Once upon a time, the words “freestyle battle” were permanently intertwined with one legendary face-off: Supernatural vs. Juice. Given the ubiquity and readily available borderline over-saturation of battles today, it’s rare that we ever get two emcees considered the absolute best in their medium facing off to determine who truly is the absolute top of the battling world.

Supernatural and Juice had become the go-to emcees for every on-air or live freestyle performance. For any type of spontaneous off-the-head rap task that was asked, both delivered on an other-worldly level. Just about every opponent either man faced was effortlessly outclassed in lyrics, stage presence, and any other facet to winning a rap battle. After months of speculation, it was announced that the two would finally square off at the Wake Up Show's Ninth Anniversary party.

Adding to the showdown’s mystique is the turn-of-the-century availability of the battle. VHS hand-to-hand bootlegs were traded to the point where they became almost unwatchable copies with blurred images and barely-decipherable audio. Still, it was an absolute must-see, even if it could only be a must-hear. The battle’s inclusion on a handful of mixes, and those snippets soon surfacing on file-sharing sites, propelled it into a pretty contested debate as to who emerged the victor.

But this wasn’t some studio battle. This was in front of one of the most excited crowds to ever witness a rap battle. While most have only been able to catch visual glimpses through the excerpts seen in the Freestyle: The Art of Rhyme documentary, Supernatural’s stage presence combined with his rhymes and the visual elements of his references (which suddenly made sense thanks to the visible cues) makes him the battle’s undisputed winner. That’s nothing to take away from Juice, however, as it takes at least two to battle, and this particular contest is one that will live on forever.

Every Thursday, posts a classic battle that you should know about, or at least be reminded of occasionally. See them all here.