Written by Reggie "Doc" Scott
It’s hard to believe we’ve reached a year since the world was placed on lockdown due to the coronavirus. During that time of quarantine, everyone was looking for anything possible to make best of what became a new normal. That’s when Timbaland and Swizz Beatz came to the rescue. In 2018, the two legendary producers went head-to-head in a “producer clash” battle at Hot 97’s Summer Jam concert. Following that formula, Tim and Swizz brought the moment back in March 2020 for a sequel to their battle. Little did the GRAMMY Award-winning producers know, they would be starting a whole entertainment movement. VERZUZ was born.
During the pandemic, the world has been entertained and reliving their love of music through the matchups of artists in the VERZUZ battles. Flowers have been given to the legendary participants. Streams and sales have gone up. The new generation of youth have found a new respect for said artists. Then, of course, there are the memes and LOL-worthy moments in the comments that keeps us glued in each time a new VERZUZ begins. It’s like a huge digital family reunion. Initially starting off as a Instagram Live battle where we had to wait for one artist to accept the other’s request to join their live, the brand and production of VERZUZ has increased each passing month. Now, there’s face-to-face battles in a studio or theater with strict COVID guidelines and not-so-many technical issues per Teddy Riley in his first scheduled VERZUZ against Kenneth “Babyface” Edmonds that had to be rescheduled (remember Tyrese’s “throw in the tile” in the comments?). Each VERZUZ hit a different audience and caliber of artists, from producers, DJs, songwriters, R&B singers, rappers, and Gospel. The VERZUZ brand hit a new market in sports with a special Super Bowl one earlier this year.
The business of VERZUZ has greatly expanded from a little Instagram Live special. Since then, it’s had partnerships with Apple Music, Twitter, Tidal and, most recently, social media app Triller. Oh, and they’re getting in on the fitness train too. VERZUZ has paired up with popular fitness program Peloton to bring the playlists from previous and future battles to your work out, with the first one being from the iconic Brandy and Monica matchup. Timbaland and Swizz have branded VERZUZ into a phenomenon that’s not letting up anytime soon.
On Easter Sunday (April 4th), legendary and iconic groups The Isley Brothers and Earth, Wind & Fire are going live with their colossal of hits. It wouldn’t be a grown up grand affair without Steve Harvey hosting (who could forget when Ron Isley was a member of Steve’s group “Steve Hightower and the High Tops” on The Steve Harvey Show) and music played by DJ D-Nice, another one who made the quarantine less painful and kept us entertained.
Appropriately scheduled on 4/20, Redman and Method Man will bring the smoke to the VERZUZ stage. Then on Saturday, May 8th, New York and Atlanta meet up for what’s sure to be one for the books as R&B groups SWV and Xscape finally take the stage after months of speculation. With a new season in full effect, there are also some upcoming VERZUZ battles that have been announced for later dates with acts to be revealed soon. So far, there’s a Mother’s Day special on May 9th, a rematch Memorial Day Weekend, and a Ladies Night to be announced.
Stay up-to-date with the VERZUZ battles on their official IG and watch on IG Live and Triller app in HD.