With sporting events and music festivals being postponed in the midst of the crisis, people are getting more creative on social media to present entertaining content. Whether it’s DJ D-Nice spinning the hottest records for the biggest virtual dance party or Shaquille O'Neal and his sons hosting concerts and DJ sets on TikTok, it’s the perfect time for people to up their content game.
Over the past week, the “must-watch” series has been the Instagram Live music battles between two artists going head-to-head playing their biggest hits, and it all started with Timbaland and Swizz Beatz.
On March 24, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz challenged each other on their Instagram posts, before they decided to take a beat battle to Instagram Live. The producers went back-to-back playing hits they worked on for Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake, DMX, and the late Aaliyah. With so many fans and artists tuning in to their IG Live battle, many people hoped other artists would follow suit.
I called Boi-1da to instigate another beat battle, he said give him a few days & and anybody can get it!!! Just letting Hitboy, i mean you guys know!!
— Joe Budden (@JoeBudden) March 25, 2020
Thanks to a little instigating from rapper-turned-media personality Joe Budden, fans were able to witness Boi1da battle against Hit-Boy. They both played a number of Drake classics, along with unreleased music from artists like Big Sean, Nipsey Hussle, and Nas. With the producer battles gaining steam, the next two events were all about songwriting with The-Dream against Sean “The Pen” Garrett, Ne-Yo against Johnta Austin.
In addition to the casual music fans tuning in, high profile celebrities are also chiming in such as L.A. Reid, Benny Boom, Usher, Gabrielle Union, Keri Hilson, and many others. Each battle has also seen a significant increase in viewership, with the latest duel between Scott Storch and Mannie Fresh reaching over 200,000 people.
As Swizz Beatz and Timbaland continue to showcase their best Don King and Al Haymon personas while recruiting for future battles, here are a few potential matchups that we'd love to see next.
Diddy vs. Jermaine Dupri
Take that, take that! Bad Boy going head-to-head with So So Def, Diddy and Jermaine Dupri would be a competition for the ages. What makes this pairing so unique is how much the two hold common titles: record label executive, rapper, songwriter, producer. They're known for creating some of the illest remixes and have both worked with artists including Mariah Carey, Usher, and Jay-Z. If Diddy and JD decide to battle, they could easily use half the competition to play their hip-hop hits, and the other half to play R&B hits.
Bryan-Michael Cox vs. Rodney “Darkchild” Jerkins
If fans want to know more about producers who changed the R&B game from the '90s until now, Bryan-Michael Cox against Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins would be a great history lesson. Cox is known for making hits for artists such as Monica, Jagged Edge, Day26, and was very instrumental during Usher's Confessions era as well as Mariah Carey's The Emancipation of Mimi. Jerkins, on the other hand, has produced for artists including Brandy, Destiny's Child, Jennifer Lopez, and the late Michael Jackson. Cox and Jerkins have elevated the R&B sound for decades, it's sure to be a close battle until the last round.
Kandi Burruss vs. Ester Dean
Let's give it up for the ladies! Although each battle previously has been male-dominated, there's still a number of women who have also changed the music game, that includes Kandi Burruss and Ester Dean. Besides being a cast member on The Real Housewives of Atlanta, Kandi started her a career as a member of girl group Xscape and then moved more into songwriting for other artists. Over the years, she's penned hits for artists like Destiny's Child, P!nk, *NSYNC, and TLC. Ester Dean would be a solid competitor for Kandi as she's written songs for Rihanna, Katy Perry, Usher, and Nicki Minaj. This could easily be a battle on which producer made the best female anthem.
Metro Boomin vs. Mike Will Made-It
Over the past decade, two of the most sought out producers in hip-hop have been Metro Boomin and Mike Will Made-It. Both hail from the southern hip-hop epicenter of Atlanta and have elevated the trap sound while dropping new beats as frequently as online slots with free bonuses.
Fans have heard their tags across songs, while Mike Will's name is heard at the beginning of the track, a Metro song is tagged with, "If young Metro don't trust you, they gon' shoot ya." Metro has produced hit songs for artists such as Future, 2 Chainz, Drake, and 21 Savage. While Mike Will is known for working with artists like Rae Sremmurd, Juicy J, and Kendrick Lamar. This battle could come down to which producer made the best club anthem.
Mustard vs. Hitmaka
Some of the more enticing battles are when the competitors have ventured into more than one genre, which is why Mustard going against Hitmaka would make for an interesting duel. Both artists started producing in hip-hop, but also made waves in R&B; Mustard with hitmaking sounds for YG, Tinashe, 2 Chainz, and Omarion, while Hitmaka is the mastermind for artists including Lil Wayne, Jeremih, Tamar Braxton, and Big Sean. Since the two have produced for different types of artists in their sound, the song sequencing in each round is sure to keep fans tuned in.
Jazze Pha vs. Polow Da Don
Since the early 2000s, Jazze Pha and Polow Da Don produced some of the biggest hits in hip-hop and R&B. Fans may not always hear their names in current conversations, but they've always been instrumental in shaping the sound. This duel would be an interesting pairing as both artists have produced hits for artists like Mary J. Blige, Chris Brown, Ciara, Ludacris, and Usher. Some fans may be surprised to hear which hits these two would play in their battle.
Mya Singleton a.k.a. Mya Melody is a music writer hailing from the Bay Area. As the current music editor for TSFJ, think of her as the playlist virtuoso or the audio aficionado for sports fans everywhere. Although music is her first love, she occasionally partakes in any argument regarding the NBA. She's a huge Kobe Bryant fan who's still upset Chris Paul never became a Laker. To this day, Hardball is one of the saddest movies she's ever watched, R.I.P. G-Baby! Follow her as she navigates to change the face of music journalism and remember, a wise philosopher once said, "Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination and life to everything."