As epic as last week’s beat battle between Swizz Beatz and Just Blaze was, there wasn’t a lot of preparation made by the two producers. In fact, it was almost entirely a spur-of-the-moment event.
“We had a conversation two days ago,” Just Blaze told REVOLT shortly after the battle, still sitting in Swizz Beatz’s Manhattan studio where the historic event transpired. “This is actually what started the whole thing, ‘If I play this, you play this. If you play ‘Ruff Ryder’s Anthem,’ I’d have to follow with ‘U Don’t Know.’ He’s like, ‘Well, I’d have to follow with that and you’d have to follow with ‘PSA.’ We’re both DJs by nature, so we know what we have to play.”
“Keep in mind, [Just] didn’t have enough time to plan. I didn’t have enough time to plan,” Swizz added. “I touched the MP today at 5:00. I ain’t gonna lie. I didn’t know if I was going to do MP, Logic, this, that, turntables. So if you look at the beginning of the battle, we started off on Jus’ set. Then we got into deep things. We didn’t have no rules, we went for three hours, raw in hip-hop and music. I hope we inspired a bunch of new producers and we inspired a bunch of producers that’s on already.”
Blaze also explained that he wanted to motivate and ignite the producers his region, as well.
“I can safely say, for us, we come from kinda the last generation of East Coast hip-hop where the producer was prominent,” Just said. “I’m not going to say there’s none, but there aren’t too many East Coast-based producers who came into prominence after the era that me and Swizz first came from. What I would love--or something, like, to represent--is the inspiration of a new wave East Coast producers who haven’t gotten their due, to get their due. There are some who have been around; the homie Ill Mind was here tonight. There’s so many of us who haven’t gotten their due. Shout out to the homie Cardiak, AraabMuzik.”
“I think it was dope for the culture,” Swizz continued. “We could’ve gotten a lot of money for this, but we wanted to give something to the culture immediately. We talked about this and in less than 48 hours, it was live, it was there. I seen the feedback [with viewers] saying in ‘17, they felt something in hip-hop they haven’t felt in a long time because of what we came together and did. It wasn’t a bunch of people in the studio. It wasn’t enough. We came in with all love and people felt that. The way they looked at the thing, it wasn’t no big I’s and little you’s. It was two creatives coming together and fueling the culture and having fun with it.”
If you missed the Beat Battle, then you missed out on a truly monumental night in music. It was three hours in which two of the best to ever produce in music--period--went back and forth playing not only their huge hits, but street bangers, beloved album cuts, obscure gems, and even a couple of unreleased smokers. As Swizz would explain, it wasn’t just about playing the right song, but you had to have your timing on point as to when play each song.
“In being a sound selector, you have to know what to select in the heart of the moment,” the Bronx-born boardsman detailed. “You have to move quick, it’s all about the sonics. I could have played a great record that’s even a bigger selling record, but the way [Just] presented it, the song I would have played that might have been a bigger record, sonically it wouldn’t fit that energy. So you gotta fit the sonics. The frequencies.”
Watch the remixed version of Swizz Beatz's “Drink Champs” episode, with bonus portions of his Just Blaze beat battle, on Thursday, March 2 at 11pm ET on REVOLT TV.