The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the music industry to adapt to the times, and artists have had to come up with new ways of connecting with their fans. One of the most popular products of quarantine has been Verzuz. First started by hip-hop superproducers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, Verzuz has become the go-to place for any two artists looking to connect, give back to their fans, and engage in some friendly competition.
Now, after a brief hiatus, Verzuz is set to return on November 19, 2020 with T.I. and Jeezy.
‘Verzuz’ has hosted many legendary artists
In the span of a few months, Verzuz has been the backdrop for several cultural moments and collaborations that are sometimes decades in the making. The battle between Snoop Dogg and DMX, for example, was a faceoff between West Coast rap and East Coast rap.
In September of 2020, music icons Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight came together for a Verzuz that was less of a battle and more of a celebration of both of their careers. They were even joined by a special guest: fellow R&B icon Dionne Warwick.
The R&B and soul ‘Verzuz’ battles have been the most popular
Since Verzuz‘s debut in March of 2020, viewers from all around the globe have tuned in to watch some of music’s biggest stars go head-to-head, hit-for-hit battle. Even though Verzuz is branded as a competition, it’s all done in good fun.
Some of the biggest draws to Verzuz have been the battles between R&B and soul music stars. In May, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott had over 700,000 people tuned in at one point during their livestream. LaBelle and Knight’s meetup was also highly anticipated given their decades-long friendship and legendary status in the music industry.
Verzuz‘s biggest stream to date was the long-awaited battle between Brandy and Monica, which drew millions of viewers. It was a moment because it was the first time the two were in the same room in nearly a decade, and the two have had a rocky relationship since the release of their Billboard number 1 “The Boy is Mine” in 1998.
T.I. was challenged to a ‘Verzuz’ battle by Busta Rhymes
T.I. was recently challenged to a Verzuz himself. Rapper Busta Rhymes issued the challenge on social media. In an appearance on Fat Joe’s Instagram Live show, Busta Rhymes said he would “bust [T.I.’s] ass” but “do it with grace.”
T.I. responded to Busta’s request on his own Instagram Live. “Busta’s one of the most phenomenal talents of our time, man,” he said. “I salute and respect Busta a whole lot. I just think the generational gap might be a little too much.”
T.I. and Jeezy will face off for the first battle of ‘Verzuz’ season 2
Not long after T.I. politely declined Busta’s request, Jeezy stepped in to volunteer for the job. “Say, bruh, you done been around the whole world on your campaign [for a Verzuz opponent]. Now you’re back here. I don’t know what you’re avoiding me for. I’ll tell you what, though, since it means that much to ya — put a date on it,” Jeezy said on his Instagram. “I ain’t gon’ meet ya there — I’m gon’ beat ya there!”
T.I. accepted the challenge with an Instagram post of his own. “Y’all tell [The Snowman] ‘I’ll be his Huckleberry,” T.I. captioned the clip. “Order this sh*t off the menu & you shall be served SIR. Now let’s see how much heat it takes to melt this snow.”
Even though Jeezy is a more even match for T.I. given that he also is a rapper who dabbles in R&B, T.I. admitted that he was reluctant to ask his friend to battle. “I wanted Young [Jeezy] to be able to sit comfortably in his position in the south, or in Atlanta anyway, without having any kind of contest. And, of course, with us being partners and all… [I didn’t] wanna be trying to go back and forth with my partner. But, if he asks for it; he shall receive,” he said. He added that he likes Jeezy’s music and thinks he has “bangers.”
“Sure would hate to melt that snowman!” Tip said confidently. “Snowmen are seasonal. Kings are forever.”
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