These Verzuz battles are something special. The Timbaland and Swizz Beatz-created Instagram events, where popular musicians, songwriters and producers go head-to-head playing some of the biggest and best songs they’ve placed their magic on, have become an instant hit as we shelter-in-place.
Since the series began, we’ve watched Mannie Fresh get decimated by Scott Storch, T-Pain and Lil Jon go pound-for-pound with both hits and jokes, and just last night, Teddy Riley finally got his shit together in his highly anticipated battle against Babyface. Now, the masterminds behind Verzuz are hoping to get two music moguls in on the experience.
“We need [Dr.] Dre to show up for the culture, we need Puff [Daddy] to show up for the culture,” Swizz Beatz said during an Instagram Live chat with Timbaland on Monday. “But, those are two mastermind generals, and they need shit right.”
The two superstar producers also suggest in their conversation that a battle of this magnitude between Dr. Dre and Puff Daddy should be bigger than just Instagram, stating that they need to do a pay-per-view type of event.
“Those the Gods, nigga,” Timbaland says of the moguls, which, at this point, isn’t even a strong enough word to describe them. “That’s like Zeus, Poseidon, Medusa, that’s like… whew, that’s Super Friends level.”
They’re not wrong: throughout their lauded careers, Dre and Puff have shifted hip-hop culture into the world’s culture.
Dre, a former member of the influential gangsta rap group N.W.A., is the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and is credited with helping to bring the G-Funk sound to rap. He’s produced for everyone from Eazy-E to Snoop Dogg to Eminem to Anderson .Paak. He’s also the founder of Beats by Dr. Dre, a revolutionary headphone and music sound system collection.
Producer, songwriter and rapper Puff (or Diddy, if you’re his children’s age) is the founder of Bad Boy Entertainment, and also has an exorbitant amount of business endeavors, from his Sean John clothing line to his equal-share venture with the vodka brand Ciroc. As a producer, he’s helped make beats for Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, TLC and, of course, his longtime friend and collaborator, The Notorious B.I.G.
I’m incredibly interested to see if this pipe dream manifests itself into reality. I also think Dr. Dre would have this thing on lock, but if we’ve learned anything from these Verzuz battles, it’s to expect the unexpected.
Clarification, 4/22/20, 2:12 p.m.: Producer Swizz Beatz reached out to us to clarify that any pay-per-view event would be used to raise money with 100 percent going to charities.