There are three things that we know about Swizz Beatz.
He is a monster at music production.
He is well-connected socially and professionally.
He is a hell of a curator.
Beatz, along with friend and music producing peer, Timbaland, created the live “battle” platform Verzuz. The brand creates official song-for-song challenges with well-matched recording artists.
The day before Mother’s Day, the duo staged its first iteration of the popular online competition that featured female artists. The Queen Edition featured Jill Scott vs. Erykah Badu who, for the first time, showed their mutual respect and admiration for each other.
For a world where liner notes are a thing of the past, many found out for the first time that Erykah Badu wrote Jill’s “A Long Walk”. Before you could process that fact, it was revealed that Scott wrote the hook for “You Got Me” which was sung by Badu for The Roots.
The night was gilded with a flurry of blue checks commenting on the historic IG Live battle. Badu Vs. Scott boasted Michelle Obama, Spike Lee, and Janet Jackson among the 700,000 viewers it amassed at one point during the live session.
With those numbers the GRAMMY winners surpassed the viewership figures of the previous record-holders (Babyface vs. Teddy Riley) by well over 200,000 viewers.
But it also placed a counterpoint on an industry that is evolving out of the hands of the power brokers. Verzuz, like SoundCoud and other music industry disruptors, is changing the way the music industry operates.
The love spilled over to digital charts as some of the ladies’ most coveted entries from their respective discographies shot up iTunes charts.
Scott and Badu boasted multiple entries on the real-time R&B iTunes charts.
Favorite Badu albums, ‘Mama’s Gun’ and ‘Baduizm’ take two spots in the lower top 10. Jill’s debut album – ‘Who is Jill Scott?’ soared to the chart region’s upper half, however, they both occupy positions in the lower top 20.
These best the numbers of some of today’s top-sellers and the surge in sales and boost in streaming could spell a re-entry on R&B album charts upon Billboard’s refreshing next week. These albums are both twenty years or more old and signal a life jacket for older artists and those who can no longer tour.
During a time when a global pandemic has rearranged the way we are doing business, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are leading the vanguard.