Beats, rhymes and life are three of the corners where hip hop intersects. Few other TV shows have been able to cover all of these angles in-depth and authentically quite like REVOLT TV’s “Drink Champs,” which thrives on its candid conversations with the biggest and most influential figures in the game. In honor of such a one-of-a-kind show, REVOLT will be recapping each weekly “Drink Champs” episode, so you can always catch the gems that are dropped in each lit interview.
On the latest episode of “Drink Champs,” N.O.R.E. and DJ EFN welcome Verzuz co-creators Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. Stamping themselves as two of the most notable hitmakers of the late 1990s and 2000s, Timbo and Swizz are responsible for jams from some of the biggest names in music including JAY-Z, Beyonce, Aaliyah, Nas, Drake, Justin Timberlake, and countless others. With iron-clad resumes under each of their belts, the two continue to break new ground with Verzuz, their live performance platform that became the hottest virtual ticket in town during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the country is beginning to open back up, Verzuz has been able to sustain and build on its popularity, and with a mega-deal with streaming platform Triller in the bag, Swizz and Timbaland are primed to move the culture even more forward in a big way.
To help give fans a recap, REVOLT compiled a list of nine things we learned from the Swizz Beatz and Timbaland “Drink Champs” episode. Take a look at them below.
1. Swizz Beatz On Partnering With Timbaland For Verzuz
Swizz speaks on linking with Timbaland for Verzuz and credits timing with being the catalyst for them to join forces in bringing the platform to life. “It was me and Kanye on stage at Summer Jam even before,” Swizz recalls of the origin of the Verzuz concept. “But the beauty about what you’re seeing right here is that all of the other battles that was before. They was amazing for culture, but the timing of what me and Tim did worked, and moved the culture, and that’s why we’re here today and that’s why we’re partners because what we did actually worked.”
2. Timbaland On His Love For Swizz Beatz
When speaking on their partnership as creatives, Timbaland reveals the influence Swizz has had on him in and out of the music world. “That’s my brother,” the Virginia native says of his Bronx-born counterpart. “We do everything together, we run stuff by each other, I couldn’t have picked a better partner. And actually, through this whole pandemic, I realized ‘Yo, we’ve really been friends since my whole music producer career and never really celebrated our friendship.’ And this time helped me to realize how much this man means to my life and how much he lifted me up throughout my music career.”
3. Timbaland On How JAY-Z Helped Him Cope With Aaliyah’s Death
One of the architects of R&B icon Aaliyah’s sophomore album, One In A Million, Timbaland’s relationship with the late star was a close one. In the wake of her untimely death in 2001, Timbo credits JAY-Z for giving him the strength to push forward. “A part of me, I’m not gonna lie, I kind’ve lost myself,” Timbaland admits. “And I remember JAY-Z putting his arm around me at the funeral, that kind’ve gave me hope... JAY’s a different dude, he didn’t say, ‘Keep going.’ But, his warm embrace, [it said], ‘I got you’ because she was on the rise. Not only was our music great together, that was my sister.”
4. Swizz Beatz On His Dissatisfaction With Irv Gotti
When speaking on comments Swizz made about the lack of love certain individuals showed towards DMX during the latter years of his life, N.O.R.E. speculates that Swizz may have been referencing producer and Murder Inc Records founder Irv Gotti. And while Swizz denies Gotti being the target of his remarks, he does reveal his dissatisfaction in the manner Gotti spoke of X’s passing, a gripe he says he voiced to Gotti himself. “I told Irv Gotti this, I don’t like the way he handled Dog,” Swizz shares. “I think he could have dealt with Dog a little more classier because of their relationship and he felt that. He felt that, that was wrong so I wasn’t gonna overdo it because everybody’s emotional.”
5. Swizz Beatz On Statements Made At DMX’s Funeral
Expounding on his remarks at DMX’s funeral, he doesn’t pinpoint any one person or group as the source of his ire, but feels as if his longtime friend and collaborator deserved better from a number of his family, friends, and associates. “Even at the funeral when I said what I said, it was because of many people and many things,” Swizz explains. “I was very close to Dog up until his last days, we had just finished the record so I was current on all his events. And X only wanted love, he didn’t want money. He didn’t really care about success that much. He just wanted to ride remote control cars, drive his four-wheelers, play pool, very simple guy. But, it was certain people that he really wanted love from that it was hard for him to get the love from. So, when I see them people now showing up, and then, now making the day about them, I just had an energy. And I feel X came through me and made me say what I had to say.”
6. Swizz Beatz On DMX’s New Album
The release of DMX’s Exodus album was intended to be a celebratory affair, yet, some critics maligned the project for being uneven and an inaccurate reflection of the core of X’s artistry that defined his prime years as a megastar. Swizz claps back at those takes, explaining that it was X’s vision to construct the album in that manner while urging listeners to be open to growing with the material. “A lot of people are used to the old X and we’re never gonna get the old anyone,” Swizz offers. “We gotta allow people to grow. We could’ve had a bunch of murder murder songs, but X listens to R&B music. X got soul, X likes to tell stories... Him and Bono, him and my wife, I was glad that he was opening up his new chapter, and I was glad he was opening up his channel too, and allow collaborations and things to happen ‘cause those people that’s on his album really love him.”
7. Swizz Beatz On Gucci Mane and Jeezy’s Verzuz
One of the watershed matchups to occur on Verzuz thus far was the showdown between Gucci Mane and Jeezy, bitter rivals who many predicted would never be able to make peace due to the circumstances surrounding their beef. Swizz speaks on how he and Timbaland were able to pull the two Atlanta legends together and make the fantasy of them going hit-for-hit, musically, become a reality. “I had faith ‘cause we was on them phone calls,” Swizz says. “The one thing that I did know was they wasn’t doing verses to move backwards in life, they was doing Verzuz to move forward in life. And at the end of the day, those two guys saved so many people probably in the hood and in the streets from making that decision, and I respected that. But the one thing they kept established the whole time was, ‘If we get on this stage, you say whatever you feel, I’ma say what I feel, I’m not editing nothing.’”
8. Timbaland On Giving Artists Equity In Verzuz
Upon news of Verzuz’s partnership with streaming platform Triller, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz were subject to criticism from detractors who claimed they relinquished any amount of ownership over the pandemic-born platform. Yet, Timbaland points to his and Swizz’s willingness to share ownership with all previous participants who appeared on Verzuz prior to the Triller deal as evidence of their true intent. “We just felt uncomfortable ‘cause we really feel like we can’t just do the normal deal,” Timbo said. “We have to do something that’s special, and Swizz called me one day and said, ‘I got it. We gotta do something give back to the people who gave us the love.’”
9. Swizz Beatz On Tension Between Him and Drake
Swizz stirred the pot last year with comments aimed at rap star Drake, whom he took issue with due to the circumstances surrounding an unreleased collaborative effort by the Toronto rapper and Swizz’s friend Busta Rhymes. However, when N.O.R.E. addresses the elephant in the room, Swizz deflects any perceived negative energy, voicing his desire to hold his remarks on anything involving the OVO boss until they’re able to personally clear the air with one another. “It’s all love, but at the end of the day, I just made up a decision that I don’t wanna talk about him until I talk to him,” Swizz says. “From this point on. It’s a lot of people talking for me to him, a lot of people going back and forth talking to me about him. But, at the end of the day, I just made up my decision and that’s where I wanna leave it.”