One positive outcome of the current COVID-19 crisis has been VERZUZ. Hosted by super producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, the hit-for-hit Instagram Live battle series has featured head-to-head match-ups between the likes of hit-makers such as Hit-Boy and Boi-1da, Lil Jon and T-Pain, The-Dream and Sean Garrett and Babyface and Teddy Riley. For the next installment in the epic VERZUZ series, queens of cool Jill Scott and Erykah Badu are taking center stage.
After the neo-soul foremothers’ highly anticipated Mother’s Day weekend showdown goes down, here are 10 more VERZUZ battles we’d like to see here at ULTRA.
The Neptunes vs. Dr. Dre
This clash of the titans will be a battle of epic proportions. Both Dr. Dre and The Neptunes have crafted tracks that have managed to transcend trends, genres and eras, and also alter the sound of popular music. Innovators of sound, Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo, have produced inescapable hits such as Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” with T.I., The Carters’ “Apeshit,” Migos’ “Stir Fry,” Britney Spears’ “I’m A Slave 4 U” and Gwen Stefani’s “Hollaback Girl.”
Putting his hit-making abilities on display since the late 1980s, the Death Row Records cofounder’s beats have helped to introduce legendary acts such as N.W.A., Snoop Dogg, Eminem The Game and 50 Cent.
Mike Will Made It vs. Metro Boomin
Two of hip-hop’s most ubiquitous producer tags belong to the modern maestros Mike Will Made It and Metro Boomin. While Metro has become a stable on the Billboard charts with hits like The Weeknd’s “Heartless,” Future’s “Mask Off,” Migos’ Lil Uzi Vert-assisted “Bad and Bougee,” Mike Will’s crossover abilities have scored him top 40 hits with Beyoncé, Rihanna, Future, Miley Cyrus and Lil Wayne.
Kanye West vs. Trackmasters
Prior to establishing himself as a rap G.O.A.T. and cultural icon, Kanye West was earning a name for himself as an in-demand producer. The Grammy Award-winning artist’s production catalogue, which features hits like Twista’s “Slow Jamz,” Ludacris’ “Stand Up” and Alicia Keys’ “You Don’t Know My Name,” as well as solo hits, would match up well against the long list of bangers produced by the legendary Trackmasters.
During their heyday, the Trackmasters’ Tone and Poke were responsible for the production on popular tracks like Will Smith’s “Gettin’ Jiggy Wit It,” LL Cool J’s “Hey Lover,” Nas’ Lauryn Hill collaboration “If I Ruled the World (Imagine That)”and Rihanna’s “If It’s Lovin’ that You Want.”
Puff Daddy & the Hitmen vs. Jermaine Dupri
Records crafted by both the Puff Daddy-led Hitmen production crew and Jermaine Dupri helped to define the sound of hip-hop and r&b in the 1990s and early 2000s. The Bad Boy squad’s roster of classic singles includes The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money Mo Problems,” Mariah Carey’s “Honey” and Mary J. Blige’s “I’m Going Down,” while Mr. So So Def’s collection of No. 1 records includes Usher’s “Burn” and “U Got It Bad,” Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together” and “Don’t Forget About Us” and Nelly’s “Grillz.”
50 Cent vs. Ja Rule
The decades-long feud between 50 Cent and Ja Rule, which started in the streets and spilled over onto wax, can once and for all be settled. The sworn enemies with similar musical styles both have the right combo of hard-hitting anthems and chart-toppers for this long-awaited showdown.
Nicki Minaj vs. Lil Kim
Who is the queen of rap? A battle between Lil Kim and Nicki Minaj may help answer that question. The platinum divas, who have verbally sparred in the past, have accused each other of things like swagger-jacking and throwing shade. With a VERZUZ battle, Nicki and Kim can trade bars and hits to see who truly reigns supreme.
Hype Williams vs. Director X: Video Directors
Responsible for the classic videos attached to anthems such as 2 Pac’s Dr. Dre collab “California Love,” The Notorious B.I.G.’s Puff Daddy and Mase-featured “Mo Money Mo Problems,” Jay-Z and UGK’s “Big Pimpin” and Kanye West’s “Gold Digger,” Hype Williams established himself as one of the leading visionaries of his time.
A protégé of Hype Williams, Director X went from assisting Hype on projects like 1999’s cult classic Belly to becoming one of the most sought after video directors in the game. Over the course of his lengthy career, X has been credited with directing the visuals for massive hits like Future and Drake’s “Life Is Good,” Rihanna’s Drake-assisted “Work” and Usher’s collaboration with Ludacris and Lil Jon “Yeah.”
Missy Elliott vs. Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins
A recent inductee into the Songwriters Hall of Fame, Missy Elliott is credited as a songwriter and/or producer on classics like Aaliyah’s “One in a Million,” “Lady Marmalade” – the posse-cut featuring Christina Aguilera, Lil Kim, Pink and Mýa and Keyshia Cole’s Lil Kim-assisted “Let It Go,” as well as on her solo joints like “Work It” and “Get Ur Freak On.” It would be interesting to see and hear how her hit list stacks up against the track record of Rodney Jerkins.
The producer also known as Darkchild crafted the beats behind No. 1 singles such as Brandy and Monica’s duet “The Boy Is Mine,” “If You Had My Love” by Jennifer Lopez and Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” as well as popular songs for Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Michael Jackson.
Usher vs. Justin Timberlake
Usher has 8701 and Confessions. Justin Timberlake has Justified and FutureSex/LoveSounds. These kings of pops duking it out will be the perfect reason to revisit some of the best r&b-infused pop music of the last 20 years.
Kanye West vs. Lil Wayne: Banger for Banger
Through hard work, hit-making and influence, Kanye West and Lil Wayne became two of the most impactful and important rap stars in history. A walk down memory lane with the catalogs of Weezy and Yeezy – which consists of everything from mixtape cuts to Grammy Award-winning records – will further prove that both genre-bending MCs have paved the way for many of today’s shining stars.