When [artist id="504157"]Mos Def[/artist] visited Angie Martinez's New York radio show Tuesday to promote his new album, The Ecstatic, neither had any idea that would be promoting the most spectacular MC battle ever.
In March, a video hit YouTube that featured Mos challenging [artist id="1269"]Jay-Z[/artist], [artist id="510062"]Lil Wayne[/artist] and others to a battle. Martinez asked him about the video. Mos admitted it was a candid moment in front of friends.
"I don't have to address it, but what I said, I will stand by," Mos said, adding that his comments were in regards to an article he saw (ours?) naming Jay-Z the greatest MC alive. "Friend or foe, I love you all, but I'm saying if you saying that you're better than Slick Rick, who is still very alive and well, you saying that you're better than Rakim, you saying you're better than Black Thought — and the people making that claim have never been in a position to have to defend that in an open forum."
"But isn't it all up to what you like?" Martinez asked.
"It is subjective, but people start coming out and making claims that you can't defend," Mos said.
He made an analogy to an automaker saying it has the best V8 engine. The automaker has to prove that against other automakers' engines, and a race would prove who is better.
"I just don't believe that claim, where any of these rappers are saying that they are the best alive," Mos Def said. "Really?!? Well, you can easily put that to the test."
"Didn't you say that too, about yourself?" Angie asked
"I ain't saying that I'm better than them, but they certainly ain't better than me," Mos replied. "I have no doubts about that at all. I work at this. This ain't just coming off of some pumped-up ego swagger. I do this."
Mos went on to propose a "Battle of New Orleans." The battle would take place at the Superdome in New Orleans and would settle all discussion. There would be a variety of battles, including the marching bands from Grambling and Morgan State duking it out, breakers from Korea going against those from France, a battle of the beats between Swizz Beatz and Kanye West, and finally an MC battle between teams of five.
"My dream team would be myself, Black Thought, MF Doom, Jay Electronica and Nas," Mos Def said. "I was saying for Jay, or somebody like Jay, or Kanye, or whoever, put you and your four together, and we'll go at it."
Mos said that this was a friendly proposal and that his comments were more about defending Slick Rick and Rakim than anything. He didn't think it was right for anyone to say they were the greatest while both are alive.
Martinez asked if he realizes that people may take this the wrong way, and Mos reiterated his stance: "I ain't gettin' at no rappers. This is, where is your skill set at? I'm always in a position to learn or grow, so if somebody's got a stronger skill set, and I could draw strength from that, then I'm cool with that. My ego is not involved with this.
"There are no losers in this scenario," he added. "It's really just a sound clash and a skill trade exhibition, and it grows the culture."
"This took a turn I didn't see coming today," Martinez said, laughing.
"Y'all brought up the whole battle thing," Mos Def said. "I don't try to get at no rappers. Come on, man. I love all of y'all. I do this because I care."