We’ve seen Tory Lanez create Quarantine Radio, and DJ D-Nice has club Club Quarantine. Both series have become staple events, keeping the culture vibrant during these trying times.
We don’t know when life will get back to normal, so the world has had to find creative ways to enjoy themselves from the comfort of their own homes.
Back in May 2020, the world held on to their phones and watched in delight as Timbaland and Swizz Beatz went head to head on IG Live for a battle. The super producers laid down hit after hit in a clash of the titan’s music style.
This battle sparked a lightbulb in the 2 musical geniuses, as they decided to come together and launch a joint venture called Verzuz. Verzuz is a battle series where musicians, producers, rappers, and songwriters, compete with each other on IG live.
Each battle goes 20 rounds, with the contestants playing a hit and hearing a rebuttal. As there is no scoring board the viewer’s debate on who has a better discography. The competition makes for legendary TV with some battles raking in over half a million live viewers on Instagram.
Verzuz is nostalgic, fun, uplifting, and exciting. We have all been on lockdown and have nowhere to go on the weekends, so the Verzuz battles have been the perfect way to feel connected to the culture while passing the time.
Head To Head
Since the epic battle series has started, we’ve watched T-Pain and Lil John, get crunked.
Our favourite ethereal queens, Jill Scott & Erykah Badu, mystically played together. Their Verzuz soothed our souls, and I left feeling revitalized. Good soul-lifting music hasn’t gone anywhere. You just have to dust off the CDs in your collection.
Another epic battle was Teddy Riley vs. Babyface. Their first battle was stopped midway through, due to technical difficulties. This led to the internet having no chill, and poking fun at Teddy Riley. A few days later, the battle was back on and kicked off without a hitch. The internet decided that Babyface was the winner, but I believe both Teddy Riley, and Babyface did a great job. I didn’t realise they both had so many hits under their belts. Their catalogues are ridiculously good.
Nelly and Ludacris brought us down to St Louis and the ATL with their Hip-Hop battle. Once again, the internet was equally divided on who the winner was. Both rappers have hits that will make you want to find your old Aviator jacket and dust off your Air Force 1’s.
Verzuz even headed to Jamaica with a classic battle. We had the warlord, Bounty Killer vs. the girls dem sugar Beenie Man. This battle was on a different level and was the first Verzuz where the artists were in the same room. Bounty and beenie did it yard style, this was a real sound clash, and it set the internet on fire. They started from the beginning of their careers and brought us up to date. They even ended off with One Love by the legendary Bob Marley. This battle set a precedent and reminded the world exactly why Jamaica as an island is likkle but talawah. It was a battle that had the whole of the Caribbean proud, nothing but flame emoji’s, and the Jamaican flag was flooding the Verzuz TV IG live comment section. Bounty and Beenie felt the power of their influence.
Other battles included:
Kirk Franklin vs. Fred Hammond
Alicia Keys vs. John Legend
The-Dream vs. Sean Garrett
Jagged Edge vs. 112
Mannie Fresh vs. Scott Storch
French Montana vs. Tory Lanez
Boi-1da vs. Hit-Boy
Ne-yo vs. Johnta Austin
RZA vs. DJ Premier
What is most impressive about the Verzuz battles is that it allows the fans, young, and old to appreciate our favourite artists today. Life is so unpredictable, and we don’t know what will happen tomorrow. Being able to enjoy some of our most-loved hits, as they are played by their respective creators, is what musical dreams are made of. Imagine having MJ or Whitney, playing their songs on IG live it would break the internet.
So many celebrities such as Rihanna, Michelle Obama, Spice, Alicia Keys, Charlamagne Tha God, and many more have locked in to watch the legendary battles.
The participants of Verzuz have contributed so much to the culture, and I feel this is one way of honouring our musical geniuses and giving them their flowers now.
Timbaland and Swizz Beatz are legends for providing us with this platform. A fantastic step in moving the culture forward while celebrating and looking back.