And in This Corner…

Hip-hop heavyweights square off to see who will emerge as King of the Mic

Ice Cube, LL Cool J, Public Enemy and De La Soul

LL Cool J, Ice Cube, De La Soul and Public Enemy

6:30 p.m. June 7

St. Augustine Amphitheatre, 1340 A1A S.,

St. Augustine

Tickets: $45-$85


Hip-hop has a long and checkered history of aggressive, sometimes violent rivalries: Biggie vs. 2Pac, Eazy-E vs. Dr. Dre, Nas vs. Jay-Z, 50 Cent vs. The Game. But on June 7, four of the biggest acts in rap history converge on St. Augustine Amphitheatre to duke it out over only one thing: microphone supremacy. New York's LL Cool J and Los Angeles' Ice Cube both boast hardcore-turned-mainstream career paths, while De La Soul and Public Enemy have flourished as legendary collectives representing two disparate ends of rap's socio-cultural spectrum. Folio Weekly breaks down all four fighters on the June 7 card to see how they stack up.


Real name: James Todd Smith

Age: 45

Hometown: Bay Shore, N.Y.

Rapping since: 1984

First big break: Meeting producer and Def Jam Records co-founder Rick Rubin in 1984

Total knockouts: Six No. 1 albums; 11 No. 1 singles

Most famous for: Kangol hats, his buff bod, mixing hardcore rap with steamy ballads, a prolific TV and film career, and "Accidental Racist," an idiotic and inflammatory recent country-rap collaboration with Brad Paisley

Pinnacle of career: In the 'hood, 1989 hit single "Mama Said Knock You Out"; in Hollywood, his recurring role on hit CBS drama "NCIS: Los Angeles"

Initial mainstream exposure: Star of NBC sitcom "In the House" (1995-'99)

Ultimate street cred: Minimalist black-and-white music video for 1988 hit "Going Back to Cali"

Raciest round: Hypersexualized, lip-licking video for 1995 single "Doin' It"

Lowest below-the-belt hit: Appearing in 1999 movie "Deep Blue Sea," about a top-secret sea base attacked by genetically enhanced sharks

Nastiest bare-knuckle moment: Publicly feuding with lethal battle rapper Canibus, who actually enlisted Mike Tyson to be his hype-man on an LL diss track

Political haymakers: Self-proclaimed independent; see outrage over aforementioned Brad Paisley collaboration

Latest brawl: New album "Authentic," released April 30; "Accidental Racist"

Extracurricular rope-a-dopes: Co-creator of FUBU clothing line, author of four books, founder of influential Rock The Bells label 
and festival


Real name: O'Shea Jackson

Age: 43

Hometown: South Central Los Angeles

Rapping since: 1985

First big break: Meeting producer, rapper and co-founder of pioneering rap group N.W.A.,  in 1984

Total knockouts: Five No. 1 albums; five  No. 1 singles

Most famous for: Confrontational star turn with N.W.A., unapologetic gangsta-rap solo career, going mainstream by writing and starring in cinematic cult classic "Friday," wearing Raiders gear, his infamous scowl and tight Afro

Pinnacle of career: Hit 1993 singles "It Was A Good Day" and "Check Yo Self"

Initial mainstream exposure: Star turn in 1991 movie "Boyz N the Hood"

Ultimate street cred: Writing most of the lyrics to N.W.A.'s seminal 1989 album "Straight Outta Compton"

Raciest round: Line from "It Was a Good Day": "And my dick runs deep, so deep/So deep put her ass to sleep"

Lowest below-the-belt hit: Starring in 1997 adventure-horror flick "Anaconda"

Nastiest bare-knuckle moment: Forming supergroup Westside Connection in the mid-'90s to fan-inflamed East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry

Political haymakers: Naming his debut album "AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted"

Latest brawl: New album, "Everythang's Corrupt," out later this year; supposedly working on movie remake of classic TV show "Welcome Back, Kotter"

Extracurricular rope-a-dopes: Owner of Lench Mob Records, producer and show runner for TBS series "Are We There Yet?"


(Trugoy The Dove, Maseo, Posdnuos)

Real names: David Jude Jolicoeur, Vincent Mason, Kelvin Mercer

Ages: 44, 43, 43

Hometown: Amityville, N.Y.

Rapping since: 1987

First big break: Meeting producer Prince Paul, who signed the group to Tommy Boy Records

Total knockouts: One No. 1 album (1989's "3 Feet High and Rising"), one No. 1 single (1989's "Me, Myself, and I")

Most famous for: Kick-starting socially conscious movement toward positive-minded hip-hop, sampling old jazz records and TV shows, smiling a lot

Pinnacle of career: Early period: 1989 album "3 Feet High and Rising"; middle period: 1996's "Stakes Is High"; 2004 comeback album "The Grind Date"

Initial mainstream exposure: British magazine NME naming "3 Feet" its 1989 Album of the Year

Ultimate street cred: Staying true to their enlightened, neo-hippie "D.A.I.S.Y. Age" lyrical content

Raciest round: 2001 single "Baby Phat," which celebrated plus-size women

Lowest below-the-belt hit: Teaming up with Nike for 2009 fitness-oriented mixtape "Are You In?"

Nastiest bare-knuckle moment: 1991 single "Millie Pulled a Pistol on Santa Claus," which addresses incest and sexual abuse

Political haymakers: N/A (too mellow)

Latest brawl: New single "Get Away," first in nine years, came out in April; long-in-the-works album, "You're Welcome," due later this year

Extracurricular rope-a-dopes: Winning Grammy Award with art project/rap-rock band Gorillaz, promoting independent hip-hop via the Spitkicker collective


(Chuck D, Flavor Flav, Professor Griff, DJ Lord, S1Ws [bodyguard/dancers], Terminator X [retired])

Real names: Carlton Douglas Ridenhour, William Jonathan Drayton, Jr., Richard Griffin, Lord Aswod, Khari Wynn, Norman Rogers

Ages: 52, 54, 52, N/A, 31, 46

Hometown: New York, N.Y.

Rapping since: 1982

First big break: Single "Public Enemy Number One," released in 1987 to promote Adelphi University's WBAU radio station

Total knock-outs: Two No. 1 albums (1988's "It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" and 1991's "Apocalypse 91… The Enemy Strikes Black"), one No. 1 single (1989's "Fight The Power")

Most famous for: Pro-black, self-aware political agitation, radical anthems "Don't Believe the Hype" and "Fight the Power," landmark production team The Bomb Squad, Flavor Flav's giant clocks

Pinnacle of career: 1990 album "Fear of a Black Planet" selected in 2005 by Library of Congress for preservation

Initial mainstream exposure: "Bring the Noise," pioneering 1991 rap-metal collaboration with Anthrax

Ultimate street cred: 25th anniversary concert held for free on L.A.'s Skid Row instead of in nearby Grammy museum

Raciest round: Flavor Flav's reality dating-game show "Flavor of Love"

Lowest below-the-belt hit: Official logo features police officer in crosshairs

Nastiest bare-knuckle moment: 2012 album "Most of My Heroes Still Don't Appear on No Stamp"

Political haymakers: Nagging allegations of anti-Semitic and homophobic lyrics, longtime support for the Nation of Islam, upbraiding Western leaders for empire-building via rape, murder and pillaging

Latest brawl: Inducted into the Rock ‘n' Roll Hall of Fame earlier this year

Extracurricular rope-a-dopes: Retired member Terminator X raises African black ostriches; Chuck D is an author, label owner and indefatigable political activist; Flavor Flav owns several chicken-and-rib restaurants.

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