Thank you Swizz Beats and Timbaland.
Leveraging their networks and the real-time experience of Instagram Live, these two hip-hop heavyweights united to create Verzuz – an online battle series with some of the biggest names in music.
Over the past few weeks we’ve seen notable battles take place such as Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin, Scott Storch vs. Mannie Fresh, and The Dream vs. Sean Garrett.
Each matchup, filled with records that defined generations, has been watched by people all across the world looking to occupy their minds from the COVID-19 pandemic.
The battle I chose to watch was Scott Storch vs. Mannie Fresh. It was the perfect opportunity to immerse myself in the music that shaped my upbringing after a rough start to the year.
As soon as Fresh kicked it off with Lil Wayne’s “Go DJ,” I knew I was in for a memorable ride.
For over an hour, the emotion-eliciting hits by these two producers bent reality and took us on a trip down memory lane.
Songs like “Lean Back” and “Bling Bling” were showered with fire emojis as the thousands of online spectators rejoiced in the records they love.
Nostalgia is powerful in its ability to appear when you need it most.
Hearing Mannie play “Big Things Poppin’” by T.I. reminded me of the effect this record had on me as a teen. I was inspired to build a life for myself that would make me and my family proud.
I even remember attempting to do the dumbbell pushups T.I. does at the start of the music video with some makeshift weights to get myself pumped for the day.
Watching this battle lit the spark I and so many viewers needed to push forward amidst so much angst and uncertainty.
The digital intimacy of this battle provided the opportunity for the hip-hop community and music lovers to come together.
Seeing artists like Jermaine Dupri and Jadakiss join the comment section made me feel like I was right there with them experiencing the same rush of emotions watching two masterminds deliver the hits they’ve crafted.
With so many lives being lost from this outbreak, it was special seeing the celebration of two living legends in real-time. It teaches us to give flowers to the people who inspire us while they are still with us.
Joyner Lucas recently did this in his music video “Will,” where he pays tribute to Will Smith by recreating many of the entertainer’s memorable roles.
When Swizz Beats and Timbaland conceptualized the idea of Verzuz they envisioned an “educational celebration” to get through these tough times together.
It’s safe to say that these battles have given us so much more.