While the landscape of Verzuz has significantly evolved since its genesis, there was something about the past event that seemed a bit precipitous, unordinary. With two culturally iconic groups: Onyx and Cypress Hill (A match-up of unconventional taste) going head-to-head, many were left wondering, “when was this even planned?”. Yet, in the events of COVID-19 causing a widespread pandemic, we have Verzuz to thank for its memorable innovative moments.
Like most things that happen to journey through the music industry - it started off very organic; Swizz Beatz and Timbaland battling out their beats on live stream, engaging with millions of viewers. After a partnership with TrillerNet, the showings became more boisterous - moving from homely live streams to the stages of Magic City. So, in reflection of all the milestones passed by the Virginia icon and New York City legend, here are Bakarii’s top five Verzuz moments:
1.Ne-Yo vs. Johntá Austin
The rules of the Instagram phenomena are simple: artists battle each other by playing their songs back to back and having fans vote on who won the round with their hit. Ne-Yo, and Austin are two pens that the average fan wouldn’t even credit their favorite hit to. That’s what makes this specific battle so significant. It’s a music lover’s dream and a voter’s nightmare as the two show their penmanship talents with various anthems we all adore.
2. Raekwon The Chef vs. Ghostface Killah
They say if you’re a Wu-Tang fan with longevity, you’ll cycle through favorites as you age, you’re personality associating with each member. While I’m writing this with a biased perspective (Ghostface on Supreme Clientele is that of legendary levels), both Raekwon and Ghostface hold special places in my hearts. This battle is the conversation held in barbershops since Enter The 36 Chambers. The anticipation it held augured for a phenomenal listening, but so many questions needed to be answered. Would songs on Only Built 4 Cuban Linxz be on the table? Do they include Wu tracks that they were duos on? There was only one thing that needed no question - it would be legendary.
3. Gucci Mane vs. Jeezy
While I don’t encourage rap beef and violence by any means, we can all admit that seeing the simple pettiness of this past feud air out on stage during Gucci/Jeezy’s Verzuz is that of dreams. There are so many easter eggs to spot out through this showcase; Stacey Abrahams encouraging Atlanta voters, the battle taking place in Magic City, and of course, Gucci and Jeezy arguing over real estate in comparison to what’s in style for fashion. Between diss tracks being aired and anthems being played, this was one for the books.
4. The Lox vs. Dipset
At a time when contemporary Hip-Hop was beginning to hit a patch of banality, we needed a messiah-like performance to wake us up. In a moment where a cultural icon; an embodiment of consistency when it comes to sixteens that give nothing but grit and elegance, Jadakiss, had a mic in his hand, he gave us that of the stars. Over Who Shot Ya, he cemented a slaughter of the trio known as Cam’ron, Jim Jones, and Juelz Santana. Jada, thank you for motivating the lyricist and introducing the sweet science of bars to the newbies. If ya don’t know, now ya know.
5. Earth, Wind, and Fire vs. The Isley Brothers
We all had Saturday morning alarm clocks in both of these groups. I scrubbed many kitchen signs with Mr. Biggs serenading the suds, my Mother stalking the completeness with the gaze of a truant officer. Regardless, the soul sounds that were produced back and forth, the black excellence. Steve. Family Feud. Harvey. Need I say more? If the silk suits and cognac didn’t hypnotize you from the jump, voting was still difficult for viewers across the country, as many of our R&B hymns were put head to head in a moment to remember.
Written By: Bakarii @Therealbakari_ via Instagram/ @BakariiKennedy via Twitter
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