The Bridge Wars

The Bridge Wars

The Bridge wars was one of the greatest events in the Golden Era of Hip Hop, it sparked multiple classic songs, verses and gave birth to one of the greatest careers in Hip Hop History

The Rivalry as you can call it all started in 1985 when MC Shan released his 12” Single “The Bridge”

The first verse began:

“You love to hear the story, again and again,
Of how it all got started way back when,
The monument is right in your face,
Sit and listen for a while to the name of the place,
The Bridge …”

MC Shan – “The Bridge”

Classic song, got airplay, a ton of people loved it; but then …

A Little known emcee from the Bronx and his crew Boogie Down Productions made an answer record called “South Bronx” which included jabs such as:

“So you think that hip-hop had its start out in Queensbridge,
If you popped that junk up in the Bronx you might not live, cause you’re in,
The South Bronx …”

BDP – “South Bronx”

During that time there were all types of stories as to why the battle started:

That KRS was just reppin’ where he came from and the truth that Hip Hop DID get its start in The Bronx
That Mr. Magic dissed a song that KRS and Scott La Rock made (Which KRS I believe admitted to)
It was even said that KRS wanted to be IN The Juice Crew and they dissed him so he formed BDP
(If you listen to the Album Hip Hop Lives (Song: Rising), he kinda breaks it down)

… I loved Hip Hop back then, there was no internet, no social networking so everything was a game of Telephone … hearsay at its finest; ESPECIALLY if you didn’t live in NY. It was dope though, you’d hear a song one week and love it then the next week someone’s coming back at them! No one was safe whether you were talking trash or not

The wild thing was technically in the very beginning of The Bridge it DID state ‘They want to tell you a story about where THEY come from,’ but …

Also, MC Shan also Dissed LL Cool J on the other side of that Bridge single with “Beat Biter”, but this was put on the backburner as LL paid it absolutely no attention

Anyway, after South Bronx had dropped; MC Shan came back with “Kill That Noise”
Shan tried to clear everything up by saying they didn’t say Hip Hop Started in Queens and BDP was basically just trying to get put on off their fame and get on the bandwagon

“Shoulda stayed in school, learned comprehension
Tryin to state facts that I did not mention
Sucker MC’s I hate the most
Next time I make a record you should listen close
Cause MC’s like me are the real McCoys
So you sucker MC’s better kill that noise …”

MC Shan – “Kill That Noise”

On the strength of that and other disses in the song, KRS One responded with the Classic “The Bridge is over”

(Notice the BDP disses are considered classics where Marley and Shans comebacks are just known as the responses?)

The Bridge is over was so dope, the piano and the snare drum then KRS coming through with the rasta accent, he attacks Shan, Marley, Mr. Magic,

“If you want to join the crew well you must see me
Ya can’t sound like Shan or the one Marley
Because Shan and Marley Marl dem-a-rhymin like they gay
Pickin up the mic, mon, dem don’t know what to say
Sayin that hip-hop started out in Queensbridge
Sayin lies like that, mon, you know dem can’t live …”

… he even disses Shan’s Pumas lol

“You’d better change what comes out your speaker
You’re better off talkin bout your wack Puma sneaker
Cause Bronx created hip-hop, Queens will only get dropped
You’re still tellin lies to me
Everybody’s talkin bout the Juice Crew funny
But you’re still tellin lies to me …”

BDP – “The Bridge is over”

In the Bridge is over KRS One mentions Roxanne Shante by saying …

“I finally figured it out, Magic mouth is used for suckin
Roxanne Shante is only good for steady fuckin …”

The thing was Roxanne Shante was not your average or typical female emcee, she was seen as n emcee first and ran in the same circles with and held her own with the boys
She STARTED this answer record thing with UTFO and has had legendary battles with men, live on stage (Busy Bee Frukwan, etc.)
So there’s no way she was going to take that lying down, she hilariously came back on her single “Have a Nice Day” with:

“KRS One, you should go on vacation,
with a name sounding like a wack radio station.
and MC Scott La Rock, you should be ashamed,
when T La Rock said ‘it’s yours’, he didn’t mean his name …

And Step back peasant poppin all that Junk or else BDP will stand for Broken Down Punks,
Cuz I’m an all-star just like Julius Erving, and Roxanne Shante is only good for steady Serving!”

Roxanne Shante – “Have a Nice Day”

After which BDP had nothing else to say about her lol

Continuing on, relative unknowns Noel & Poet released a song called “Beat you down” jumping in on the BDP vs. Juice crew saga, they had some decent disses
Beat you down was then released by Noel and Poet and had some good disses:

“How could you say the Bridge is over? We’ve just begun;
you soft sucker MC, KRS-1
Can you believe it, party people? He raps like a rasta!
Boogie Down Productions are full of imposters”

Noel and Poet – “Beat you Down”

They largely went unnoticed by BDP and the battle kinda quieted for a minute, but then Shan released “Juice Crew Law”

“Those who tried to dis in the days behind us Are back gonna dis us, brother, sign up Make the mistake and I’m breakin your jaw So don’t ever dare violate Juice Crew Law …”

MC Shan – “Juice Crew Law”

The song didn’t have direct disses to anyone specifically … it had some shots here and there though
The funny (or odd) thing is The Hilltop’s Cool C came from nowhere to Diss The Juice Crew with “Juice Crew Diss” that song much like BDP attacked Shan, Shante, and Marley:

“Living in a project looking for more
Yours was D9, Shante’s on the sixth floor
You went with her to every show
But Shante’s nothing but a ‘project ho’
Just ask Marley, I know he heard
Ask him if he did it WwwwWord …”

“You soft sucker you ain’t nothing but a itchbay
I come from Philly so ixnay the idgebray”

Cool C – “Juice Crew Diss”

These were some of the greatest times in Hip Hop, just skill, talent, and hunger … people wanted to be on top, get the respect of the artist AND the listeners … and that was it
No real violence just battling on wax

Anyway, Cool C dissed The Crew, Shan and Shante

Shoutouts to “Brooklyn Blew up the Bridge …” by MitchSki another rapper who got in on the act

This Butchy B guy came out with “Beat down KRS”… dissin KRS, Red Alert, even his Manager Moe lol (called them Boogie Down Pussies)

“I knew you was a sucker from the way you wear your hair
Knotted, matted, looking all retarded
You got a shape up but the barber couldn’t part it
You tried the reggae but the people said “Please stop!”
Your music’s sounding like banana boat Hip Hop …”

Butchy B – “Beat Down KRS”

I think KRS would’ve ignored the song because he wasn’t a really popular emcee, but back in the days emcees took all comers, the last straw was probably making fun of KRS rhyming with a Jamaican accent with the didadidadiday

(“The people want to boogie but your rhyme is in the way
You try to rock a party but di-da-di da-di day “ )

I only say this because KRS One fired back on a collabo with Just-Ice called “Moshitup”
I loved this song; KRS even on a song with someone else takes time to answer Butchy B:

“I know what you will say before you jump up on the stage
But make sure you don’t say “Di-di-di-dah-di-di-di-day”
Or I’ll have to look for you and beat you all up
So when you see me in the street just keep your mouth shut”

KRS and Just-Ice – “Moshitup”

Back in the days some disses were direct and straight forward, others if you listened to the right people at the right time you uncovered all kinds of beef, but this was just an incredible ongoing chain of insults

To keep it up KRS then addressed Noel & Poet (Who did the Beat you down song) on his remix to “Still Number One”

“Ka-Re-eSe Uno es fresco (Spanish for: KRS is fresh.)
Poet is soft ya know
Do not speak when grown people are speaking
Don’t interrupt the class when I’m teaching
Turn your text-books now to BDP
And see
“Criminal Minded” and “By All Means Necessary”
I’m sort of like a bounty hunter,
I search for the best and crush the mothafuka …”

BDP – “Still Number 1 (Remix)”

And even more…

Your first mistake was to answer back
to the undefeated master of beating suckers silly
No, I’m not from Philly
My name isn’t Magic, Poet, or Billy (The way he says this STILL makes me laugh)
It’s KRS, especially if it doesn’t take you too long
to find out where I shift
And shifted back
To simply say you’re wack
Weak, soft and really never posed a threat
In fact, I haven’t heard a decent lyric from you yet …”

I think Noel and Poet made another song I forget it was before I’m still number one, but either way KRS was in the zone, went back to The Juice Crew on My Philosophy:

“You got to have style, and learn to be original
and everybody’s gonna wanna diss you
like me, we stood up for the South Bronx
and every sucka mc had a response
You think we care? I know that they are on the tip
my posse from the Bronx is thick …”

BDP – “My Philosophy”

MC Shan then returned with “Time for us to defend ourselves” and an answer to KRS

“Knowledge ain’t nothin but a book on your shelf
With justice in mind think deep to yourself …”

MC Shan – “Time for us to defend ourselves”

Later on the album Edutainment KRS Drops “Blackman in effect” recounting the start of the original battle back to Shan and the Juice Crew:

“I’ve got no juice, ’cause I’m not getting juiced
To have juice means you kiss and lick a lot of booty
To have respect means you simply know or knew me
Heard what I had to say and felt as though you’d say that too
I’m not down with a juice-crew
But anyway I say today the message I create is great
I don’t preach hate; I simply get the record straight …”

BDP – “Blackman in effect”

That was pretty much the end of the saga, most people declared KRS and BDP the winner of the battle (Even if he technically started it lol)

…later MC shan still let off a shot or two like on the QBs finest album in 2001 but by then KRS and Shan had already done the Sprite commercial

Speaking of which that Sprite commercial was huge for Hip Hop … especially Hip Hop fans from back in the day, we would’ve NEVER thought anything like that would happen!

Poet from Noel and Poet changed his name to Blaq Poet and was still talking about KRS In the 2000’s but pretty much went ignored as the beef was over

Even with all the dissing and all the records KRS and Marley Marl did an entire album together in 2007 called Hip Hop lives and it featured the track “Victory” which had KRS and Poet on the same track! Furthermore, KRS was on a remake of the Classic Juice Crew Song “The Symphony”

This was back when Hip Hop was at its finest, emcees kept all beef on wax, the battle for supremacy, who was the illest on the mic, who could battle, who could freestyle
It was all for the love of the art form and the music, it gave us some great music and after all of the words back and forth, KRS, Marley, Shan, The Juice Crew … after all you’ve read here and listened to there was no violence in fact

We still had this

THIS is Hip Hop.

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  • RayyLive

    I was and still am one of the biggest fans of KRS. In those days you really had to watch your mouth because cats would show up at your show and punch you in the mouth!

  • 88bluedevil

    At this time, I was a big KRS fan and always waited to hear what his next attack was going to be. I knew Shante wasn’t going to let him slide and he hit him pretty hard. Never heard the Noel and Poet joints so I can’t speak on that. I just always remembered this battle as skilled emcees trying to prove who’s the dopest.

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