Timbaland, Swizz Beatz on future of Verzuz: ‘Expect more greatness’
EXCLUSIVE: The superstar producers are opening up about the future of their platform following its acquisition, plus their favorite Verzuz battles
Timbaland and Swizz Beatz are taking Verzuz to the next level.
The superstar producers transformed their music platform from a socially distanced, livestreaming project to a multi-million dollar, high production brand that has signed partnerships with high-profile businesses like Apple Music and Peloton. Recently acquired by Triller Network, Verzuz remains focused on Black artists, according to Timbaland and Swizz, who spoke exclusively with theGrio.
“I think our goal was to shine light on people that never got they flowers, like creators,” Timbaland said. “That’s why we started off with the producers and the songwriters because people don’t know that they are a big part of those songs. We was all going off the hype that we started seeing people enjoying what we were putting together. So it was the love that, to me, was the most important thing for Verzuz.”
As previously reported by theGrio, Timbaland and Swizz are now shareholders in Triller Network and have allocated part of their equity stake to artists who have appeared in past Verzuz battles, the majority of whom are Black performers.
Some of the artists who can now call themselves shareholders include John Legend, DMX, Alicia Keys, Ashanti, 2 Chainz, Rick Ross, Too $hort, Patti LaBelle, Gucci Mane, Jeezy, E-40, D’Angelo, Ludacris, RZA, The Dream, Babyface, Nelly, Jagged Edge, Keyshia Cole, Fred Hammond, Jadakiss, Fabolous, Brandy, Monica, Gladys Knight, Teddy Riley, T-Pain, Lil Jon, Mannie Fresh, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, 112, Kirk Franklin and Sean Garrett.
Promoting and fighting for Black ownership was an essential part of their deal with Triller, according to Swizz.
“Me and Timb made [Verzuz] Black-owned,” the 42-year-old producer explained. “Now, we’ve brought 43 more Black creatives as owners and shareholders in Verzuz Triller. It’s a new day, it’s a new beginning and showing people that everybody can win. Everybody can eat. Everybody can go to the finish line with you instead of just saying, ‘Okay, thanks for coming. We’ll see you later.’ Me and Timb, we thought it was important to share everything and it’s been great. So just expect more greatness because we’re more charged up now than ever.”
“And more disruptiveness,” Timbaland added.
With so many battles behind them and several exciting ones to come (Earth, Wind and Fire vs. The Isley Brothers, anyone?!), it seems like it would difficult to pick just one favorite. But Timbaland and Swizz didn’t hesitate when asked to chose their No. 1 performance.
“Beenie Man and Bounty,” Timbaland answered, “because it was the shift of Verzuz, meaning seeing each artist in the same room. The vibe of that was like, ‘Oh man, we got to get everybody in the same room now.’ You know? That was the change of Verzuz.”
Swizz, meanwhile, opted for one of Verzuz’ most memorable showdowns in Atlanta.
“Of course, all of them, but I’m going to say Gucci Mane and Jeezy because the positive message that it brought to the youth in the streets after a 15-year feud,” the producer shared. “Everybody showed up because one, they love them, but two, they thought they was gonna go to war on stage, which brought some great excitement. But to see them shake hands as brothers at the end and perform that song it just gave our culture some positive energy. So, I like that one for the peace.”
Earth Wind and Fire will compete against The Isley Brothers on Verzuz Instagram Live and the Triller app on April 4, Easter Sunday, at 5 p.m. PT/ 8 p.m. ET. Fans can watch theGrio‘s full interview with Swizz Beatz and Timbaland above.
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