Fans are demanding a Toni Braxton Verzuz, and it seems the R&B star already has some choice competitors in mind. For a feature in Interview Magazine, Braxton was interviewed by none other than Missy Elliott, who questioned her about potentially appearing on the Instagram series.
“It would have to be me, Mariah [Carey] or Mary J. [Blige] or something,” Braxton named for her hypothetical opponents. “Us girls from the ’90s.”
Elliott revealed that Swizz Beatz and Timbaland had also contacted her about appearing on Verzuz, saying she was “probably the second phone call” that the co-creators made after launching the virtual phenomenon.
“... I’m happy with Verzuz, because it allows people to see that — especially when the artist can say, ‘Hey, this person wrote this for me.’ Because now we’re in a time where you’re not getting the hard copies to be able to see all the credits,” Elliott said. “That actually is good, because you get a chance to hear who did what. That’s what I love about it, too. Besides seeing legends get up there.”
When Braxton asked Elliott who she might like to battle, the “Work It” rapper replied coyly, “I’m going to be quiet.”
“But [it would be] just for the fun of it,” she elaborated. “I could name a bunch of people just for us to have fun, because I’m going in all my bags.”
Braxton also applauded the female presence on Verzuz, with stellar mash-ups ranging from Monica and Brandy to Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, while reflecting on the challenges women producers and songwriters face in the music industry.
“I think it’s different for women in the business trying to have our say. It’s not as noted and as noticed,” she reflected. “I love that it’s starting to change for us, but I’m a little disappointed. Like, look at Missy Elliott. She’s right up there with the works of Babyface and everybody else who’s been up there, with all the people you’ve worked with.”
“Well, but look at you, who has had your hands in writing,” Elliott replied. “I think it’s because we’re not as boisterous. And not even to say that the guys are, but maybe it just seemed like the girls don’t get into the behind-the-scenes. Maybe it just seems like the girls don’t do that. People should know, ‘Oh, Toni, she co-wrote this, she co-wrote that, she was part of this production.’ I feel like that should be known.”
Elliott and Braxton recently worked together on the latter artist’s 10th studio album, Spell My Name.
“I’m just so proud to finally get to work with you,” Braxton said during their conversation. “I’m like, ‘Girl power, yay!’”
Read their full interview here.