The beat battle is a sacred tradition in the world of rap. On Tuesday (March 24), Timbaland and Swizz Beatz revisited their producer battle on Instagram Live and treated fans to a split-screen battle of the beats. With Coronavirus shutting-in the majority of listeners, hosting the showdown as a livestream during a time of social distancing made sense. Swizz, the producer that instigated this battle series, kept the energy high throughout the evening.
To get the party started, round one consisted of classic tracks from both. Each mega-producer took turns going back and forth pulling classic beats they’ve produced for the likes of JAY-Z out of the cut. Picture Tim’s “Jigga What” vs. Swizzy’s “Jigga My Nigga” and you get the idea.
There was a slight delay as Swizz headed to his car to get better wifi reception. In between beats, there was plenty of banter and shoutouts between the dueling producers, all in good fun. Swizz got in the quarantine zone and Timbaland couldn’t sit still while they traded sonic jabs from radio-friendly bangers like “One in a Million” to street anthems like “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.”
Listening to each producer’s extensive catalogs, listeners were blessed with three decades of hip hop and R&B classics from Destiny’s Child to Missy Elliott, Aaliyah to Eve. The second round promised fresh beats that had never been heard before.
This isn’t the first time these two titans have sparred. The first battle occurred at the Met Life Stadium for Summer Jam 2018, which had the informal vibe of a rooftop party during the golden era of rap. This time around on IG Live, that same energy was present even though both producers were streaming from different locations.
The two dropped by REVOLT Summit in Atlanta last year to discuss their longevity and the future of hip hop. Obviously, they are close friends and competitors, so the smack talk was all for the culture. For this edition of the battle, they gave us some of the backstory behind the various zones being blasted.
Swizz shared how he got New York and the south to connect before it was a wave and Timbaland boasted how he got his “weird” sound to become part of mainstream popular music. For the uninitiated, this livestream was as much a hip hop history lesson as it was a battle.
The comments were jumping and hearts were lighting up the screen as the likes of Diddy, Jermaine Dupri, Russ, Funkmaster Flex, Murda Beatz, and Fat Joe checked in. DJ D-Nice’s recent livestream DJ set has proven that people are looking to get a music fix while being cooped up, and social media is the answer. Fire emojis galore was the outcome this go ‘round. With all the heat these two producers have tucked, this thing could’ve gone on all night.
Timbaland had some difficulties of his own when the sound went out on his livestream. He let the internet and livestream providers know that it ain’t cool to play with his wifi connection, not just for the beat battle but because our situation demands that we be connected while under isolation. After a momentary delay and Timbo admitting that social media is a young person’s game, the party was put on hold before round two got a chance to pop off. Shout out to the listeners in the comments who tried to coach the veteran producers through the the process. One thing’s for certain, the real winner of this battle was the thousands of listeners catching the vibe.