Photo: Bryan Bedder / Contributor via Getty Images and Johnny Nuñez / Contributor via Getty Images
  /  03.14.2023

Verzuz was one of the music world’s biggest phenomenons during the pandemic. Timbaland and Swizz Beatz made the best of being stuck at home by playing the hit songs they produced over Instagram Live and inviting other stars to face-off as well. After lockdown restrictions were lifted, Verzuz battles became full-on in-person productions. In August 2021, the members of Dipset and The LOX took the stage at the Hulu Theater for an unforgettable back-and-forth performance and a celebration of New York hip hop as the world went outside again.

It appears that Jim Jones is ready for a rematch. And he wants an upgrade in venue size to do it, insisting that it must be held at Madison Square Garden. The Diplomats rhymer spoke to AllHipHop today (March 14) and entertained the possibility of doing it all again in the iconic arena. “I don’t think that energy will ever be duplicated outside of New York unless we go for the rematch, you heard?” he stated plainly.

“Last time, there was a lot going on. The venue was way too small. There were people on my back. There were people on people’s shoulders in there,” he continued. “I think we need [the] proper respect of doing it in the Garden, the big Garden, with proper security, set up right, so everybody has breathing room. Not using it as no excuse, but we need a rematch for the city. I’m puttin’ it out there. I’m puttin’ it out there like Rocky after he lost to Apollo Creed… And we gonna be ready like hot spaghetti.”

The Hulu Theater, where their last Verzuz was held, is adjacent to Madison Square Garden and holds 5,600 people. By contrast, MSG can host 20,000 attendees.

He also floated another novel idea: Bringing in judges to score the match and leaving the decision-making for each round to viewers. “Let’s score it like a boxing match. Let’s get the judges. Let’s make it live. Let the people vote live,” he said. “Let’s do it right. Let’s really go for it.”

Verzuz, meanwhile, is in the midst of a makeover as Swizz Beatz and Timbaland prepare to relaunch the series following a successful lawsuit against Triller. Swizz spilled details about the revamp to REVOLT last month.

“We’ve been changing the infrastructure because when we started, it happened in the garage and then moved to a significant platform. Now, we changed the whole way we’re moving but not entirely, so people won’t feel like it’s not the same,” the Grammy-winning producer shared. “We have a fantastic lineup with people they wanted to see and even battles they think wouldn’t happen. Announcements will be coming soon.”



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