Top 5 Favorite Verzuz Battles

A huge bright spot in this year's quarantine, lockdown situation (FYI: 'lockdown' was honored the Word of the Year by British's Collins Dictionary because, duh) was the emergence of Verzuz.

Created by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, Verzuz put two artists together to battle out their catalogue in two rounds. It can be for singing, writing, producing, or even features. It started off with the creators on Instagram Live and has since become a phenomenon, now showcasing on Apple Music, too.

They've managed to bring out old school and new school, icons and legends. Rap, Hip-Hop, R&B, Neo-Soul, Gospel, Pop. It's truly been something to witness. And honestly, the best best part is the comment section on IG Live. Regular folks + celebrities + politicians + our Forever First Lady (I've seen her name pop up in the comments section a couple of times, actually) all coming together to voice our opinions or squeal in delight at the same damn time when an artist plays a favorite song of ours. And can't forget the memes. The memes! I swear, the internet is undefeated.

Before 'Season 2' starts tomorrow with Gucci Mane vs. Jeezy, here's my list for Top 5 Favorite Verzuz Battles. Let's begin:

Honorable Mention 1 goes to Rick Ross vs. 2 Chainz (August 08, 2020)

At one point in my life, I was a Ricky Rozay stan. My friend and I always joked about becoming his groupies. It was that real. Their battle was fun in most parts: 2 Chainz bringing out strippers for Bandz a Make Her Dance, Rozay getting a body massage. The fantastic playlist, however, is the reason for its shine. I listen to it every other day. Hit after hit after hit. If you need a quick energy fix, this Verzuz playlist is the one.

Winner: Rick Ross.

Honorable Mention 2 goes to Ryan Tedder vs. Benny Blanco (April 02, 2020)

I ain't never heard of no Benny Blanco a day in my life until April 03, 2020 when I watched this battle. But whew, this dude wrote and produced HIT RECORDS. I was blown away. Ryan ain't too shabby either: OneRepublic got some bangers and Halo is a pretty song. But Benny? Yeesh. Anywho, this was Verzuz first and only foray into the pop world. It wasn't heavily publicized either. Like Swizz and Timbo were afraid to share this battle to their mostly rap and hip-hop audience. They seemed to forget there are folks who like that music and pop music. In fact, there are people out there who like all types of music. It's a shame because this battle was enjoyable to watch. 

Winner: Benny Blanco

5. Babyface vs. Teddy Riley (April 18, 2020 + April 20, 2020)

Huge entertainment factor. HUGE. Okay, so this battle had mad hype. Yes, Teddy Riley is a legend on his own. But hello, the Babyface. Agreeing to do this...? Blew everyone's mind. Day 1 is a classic: Babyface taking 'Rona seriously with only himself in his studio while Teddy Riley decided to give us a live concert equipped with a band, backup dancer, and an audience (family and friends). Because someone failed to tell everyone in that room to get off IG, the connection was horrible. Lots of stops and "can you hear me" happening. Finally, Babyface had enough and dipped out. The rematch wasn't any better because Teddy - thankfully, by himself this time around - still had connection issues. Anywho, the Internet was on fire with the steady flow of memes.

Winner: Babyface.

4. Bounty Killer vs. Beenie Man (May 23, 2020)

I'm not a reggae/dancehall fan. The most reggae I liked was when Sean Paul had his run. Which shows you where my head's at because true reggae fans look down at Sean Paul's music. Oops. I only tuned in to this battle to hear Girls Dem Sugar. Pretty much dassit. Color me surprised, I watched the whole thing. This was the first battle to incorporate both artists in the same room (location was in Jamaica). Their energy was electric! At one point, even the police tried to shut everything down. But the music must play on. 

Winner: n/a

3. Erykah Badu vs. Jill Scott (May 09, 2020)

Two multi-talented women facing-off but really really, giving each other mad love and respect throughout the 3+ hour 'battle'. It was chill, good vibes, and great music. Both are fantastic storytellers so I didn't mind the drawn out storytime before playing the next song. This playlist is a banger, too. I only wished Jill acknowledged It's Love. 

Winner: Erykah Badu and Jill Scott

1a/1b. T-Pain vs. Lil' Jon (April 04, 2020). I can't choose between the two battles

There are a few artists I stan for and T-Pain is one of 'em. He's charismatic, funny, super talented, and super underrated. All that auto-tuning you hearing in today's music, especially in rap and hip-hop, gotta thank T-Pizzle. He brought it back into the limelight in the 2000s. But legend has it, one simple line from Jay-Z ("Get back to rap, you T-Paining too much") quickly made T-Pain a laughingstock. Anywho, all of this to say, he was ahead of his time and deserves his flowers now. I was so happy he agreed to battle and Lil' Jon aka Jonathan was an excellent choice. Lil' Jon brings energy and some of his songs are damn near club and stadium anthems. It was all around an entertaining battle. Clear screens and clear audio made for a pleasing watch, too. Both of them did original intros and T-Pain remixed a bunch of his songs. What helped the most was the genuine friendship and love between the two artists.

Winner: T-Pain

1a/1b. Ne-Yo vs. Johnta Austin. (March 29, 2020). I can't choose between the two battles.

There are a few artists I stan for and Ne-Yo is one of 'em. Especially, his earlier work. The dude is a genius when it comes to songwriting. So when a *squint eyes* 'Johnta Austin' appeared opposite Ne-Yo's name in the billing, I'm like, who? Well, I definitely know who he is now. Johnta's songwriting and producing catalogue is A1. The whole time watching the battle, whenever Johnta dropped another song he wrote and/or produced, I was stunned. "He wrote that...he produced THAT?!!" Stunned, I was. Again, Ne-Yo held his own. He really did. But he didn't co-write and co-produce We Belong Together, though.

Winner: Johnta Austin