Who Would Be Swizz Beatz and Timbaland's Dream Verzuz Matchup? - OZY | A Modern Media Company

Who Would Be Swizz Beatz and Timbaland's Dream Verzuz Matchup?

Who Would Be Swizz Beatz and Timbaland's Dream Verzuz Matchup?

By Daniel Malloy


Because they're the masterminds of the cultural sensation of the pandemic.

By Daniel Malloy

The hip-hop producers behind the pandemic sensation Verzuz, Timbaland and Swizz Beats join The Carlos Watson Show to talk about their adjustments to the COVID-19 world and to break down their show’s best moments. Read on for some of the highlights from the full interview, which you can find on the show’s podcast feed.

Origin Story

Carlos Watson: How did it start? Whose idea was it? Was this a new thing, literally just came in the moment you knew that people needed something and you guys came up with it, or had you been thinking about it before?

Timbaland: Yes, it’s been on the radar for about three and a half, four years. How it started, we started it, we set the temperature when we did Summer Jam in New York. Swizz brought me out and we battled right there, and it was a great response. And from there, times changed and we was in the pandemic, and I started antagonizing Swizz on Instagram and poking little beefs, and like, “What’s up?” And I called him, I said, “Man, we should do what we started right now.” And then it took off from there.

Swizz Beatz: One hour later.

CW: Now, did you guys know it was going to be as much of a hit? I realize that’s almost an obvious question to ask, but what did you think? Did you think you were going to do this one time and you would see, or did you already have in your mind, given Tim, that you said that this was three or four years in the making, that you were going to turn this into a whole thing?

T: I just believe that the energy that we put out, it was something given back. It was a very crucial time in the world and it brought a lot of light. I didn’t know it would be . . . I don’t think nobody knew it would take off the way it took off, but we knew the energy that we was putting out in the universe, that nothing but good could come from it.


CW: What was the most beautiful moment, because you guys had so many interesting moments in the midst of it. Swizz, do it however you want to do it, what was the most beautiful moment in your mind?

SB: I’m going to be honest. The last one with Jeezy and Gucci was probably my most beautiful moment because that show broke the record for those brothers. People showed up for them to go into destruction, they wanted to see destruction with those guys. And they gave them destruction during the Verzuz, but at the end, the brothers gave everybody love. People showed up for destruction and got love.

And I just loved to see the maturity and in our culture, I just love to see the maturity in guys that may have not been perfect when they was growing up, but willing to use our platform and their platform to send out a positive message to the youth. And that right there, that was a very, very touching moment. And it’s a lot of touching moments in Verzuz by the way, but this one right here particularly was special because we was dealing with real issues that a lot of people don’t get to talk about. So the audience got to see this thing play out from A to Z, and we commend Gucci and we commend Jeezy for their excellence, and we got to give them their praise because if they would . . . If something would’ve went wrong, and they would’ve did something negative that night, it would have been all over the place, right? So, I want us to celebrate them for the positivity they did that night.

Season Two Preview

CW: Where do we go from here? Or I shouldn’t put me in it because you guys created it, but where are you going with it in season two? Because you have built something special. And I could imagine you thinking international. I could imagine you thinking different kinds of artists. I could imagine that even some of the comedians or some of the other folks are coming to you and saying why couldn’t Verzuz be applied in my backyard as well as in music’s backyard. Where are you guys thinking about taking this?

SB: Well, we have global in mind, definitely. We have Verzuz Sports already. We have Verzuz Comedy already. We have Verzuz Universe, right? So, the sky is not the limit, it’s just the view. But we’re also taking our time. We’re not rushing into things that are not well thought out. Myself and Tim and our team, we have a lot on our table. A lot of people bringing a lot of greatness to the table with Verzuz, and we’re looking at everything and deciding from there. But remember, this is only season two. We only one in, in season two. We got a big season coming. Take this season’s greetings.

CW: Give me a preview. Tim, who are you excited about bringing in season two?

T: The sky is just a view. You know what I think? I don’t have a wish list because everything that . . . We don’t force nothing on Verzuz, and everything comes to us. But lately I’ve been riding, and I feel like I just want to show the world about just love and slow songs and that feel-good music that touch your soul. And I was thinking just a lot of Anita Baker. I’m just like, “Man, we got to give Anita her flowers.” So much that . . . Not because of Verzuz. Verzuz is the platform to tell this woman how much her music done just for me. You know what I’m saying? I feel like we can’t leave this world without Anita Baker or celebrating Sade. Like those moments in life. I feel like I don’t have to tell them how I felt and what their music done for me as a producer, just as a human, just for situations, and decisions in relationships. I use their music to guide me. You know what I’m saying? And it’s like that’s what I would like to see.

CW: I think, Tim, it’s. . . Oh, sorry. Swizz, go ahead.

SB: Yeah. I’m going to say what I want to see, and then I stopped saying it because sometimes it makes the artists nervous, but this one, they just going to have to be nervous. I’m putting it out there. I want to see another reggae one and I want to see Super Cat vs. Shabba.

T: I want to see that too.

Life Changes

CW: Tim, how do you think . . . because I know when I hear Swizz talking, I talk about both of you, and that curiosity and that hustle. I know life hasn’t always though, even after your success, worked out exactly as you wanted. I admire the way people have come back. Talk to me a little bit about that. If you don’t mind me bringing her up, but where were you after Aaliyah passed, and what happened that allowed you, in my mind, to get that energy going again in a different way and reimagine yourself, body and soul?

T: I think it’s a little bit more events after Aaliyah. I think it was Aaliyah, I had got married, had a kid, had children and got divorced. I believe when you go through trial and error in life, some people stay down. I’m always trying to look at me, and evolve and become a better version of me, from every experience. For me, going forward, I just know I didn’t want to go into my second phase or second chapter of life doing the same things I did in my first half of life. So I just made a conscious decision just to live better, eat better, be a better person, just be conscious of what I do. With the pandemic, just really made me just evaluate who I am and what I want to give to the world, what I want to put out. Yeah, just evolving.

CW: How has the pandemic changed you, when you watched what happened? I feel like both of you have a really interesting vantage point, because you not only have your own life. You probably have heard from people one-off and in groups, about where people are. What do you take away from this year, 2020? What are your big lessons, and where are you planning on going yourself, personally?

T: My takeaway from this is people . . . It was like if I would have told you that the world is going to stop, you would probably have looked at me crazy. You know what I’m saying? So I think that a lot of things that we take for granted, we shouldn’t. I was telling Swizz, I think that’s how this whole Verzuz really started, is because I just value our friendship. I just had time to think about who was there, really just people that we spend a lot of time, but we don’t communicate enough.

Because death was happening. It was just a bad 2020. So I just started, just for me, just paying attention to how I can be better as a person. Just talking to Swizz, talking to him, and I believe that’s how Verzuz got started, because it was a love, just showing gratitude and being thankful for allowing . . . for us meeting, sharing the same vision in life. I just thought that’s how we’re here today with Verzuz, but 2020 has been a life-changing experience.

CW: Swizz, what about you? What about this last year, or really in some ways, I even think about your last couple of years, how have you changed?

SB: I’m more conscious about my time, especially my family time. Because I thought that I was spending a lot of time with my family, but during this whole pandemic, I really spent time with my family and got to know my kids even more, got to know my wife even more. I feel like the most I’ve been a father ever, the most I’ve been a husband ever, just because we had that time to actually be together instead of traveling every month, three and four times.

Although you connected on the phone and we connect when we see each other, and it doesn’t feel like we’re that far, but this let me know that everybody was really far. My relationship with my kids, my relationship with my family, it was really far. It’s like, OK, how do I maintain this as we get back up into 2021, moving forward? How do I keep this same energy? How do I carve out the time? Because you have to make time for these things.

You have to make time for your loved ones. You have to make time for yourself. Right? I think that the world was just moving too fast. 2020 showed us how to actually slow down. We had no choice but to slow down and reflect within ourself, and really get to actually hear our thoughts. Because sometimes we move so fast, we don’t even get to listen to ourself, or digest what somebody else told us that could be a great gem. So I think that 2020 has definitely taught me patience and discipline.

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