The kings of quarantine. The sultans of sequester. The icons of isolation. Swizz Beatz and Timbaland are making our social distancing bearable by hosting Instagram live battles between some of the greatest living creatives in the music industry.
On Saturday night, fans watched T-Pain and Lil Jon go track for track playing the songs that put their metaphorical jerseys in the rafters of the hip-hop arena. Lil Jon even debuted a new record featuring Usher and Ludacris, a track that the “Get Low” producer says was on the shelf for the past two years.
To see where these battles have gone in such a short period of time, it’s appropriate to give the social distancing crown to the two producers who made this happen.
Of course, there are artists who deserve praise for their efforts of keeping fans entertained under quarantine. Tory Lanez’ “Quarantine Radio” bit on Instagram broke an IG live record amassing 315,000 watchers by hosting twerk competitions and chatting with heavy hitters like French Montana, Chris Brown, and Drake.
Then there’s DJ D-Nice who’s “Club Quarantine” gained national media attention for his dope live mixes that brought masses of celebs and fans to his Instagram page to rock out at home.
The aforementioned are amazing moments in the culture, but those moments have peaked, whereas Swizz and Timb have hardly skimmed the Rolodex in putting these battles together.
Interest in producer battles peaked in 2017 when Swizzy and Just Blaze live-streamed a more than 2 1/2 hour head to head battle playing classics that they produced for legends like Jay-Z, DMX, Jadakiss, Fabolous and more.
The stream on HOT 97’s YouTube channel currently has more than 1.5 million views. This moment in Hip-Hop history prompted Timbaland to jump in his bag and take on the Ruff Ryders beatmaker at Summer Jam in 2018.
The culture thirsted for more competition but nothing ever materialized. Some might argue that creatives were scared to lose the battle and potentially hurt their business in the future. Others might say the bag wouldn’t be big enough to do it in the first place and wasn’t worth the time.
But, I think we all can agree that if there ever was a time for artists to jump in the ring it’s now while millions of people are forced into the 4 corners of their homes clinging to social media as their only means of human connection.
Swizzy and Tim did it on one of the biggest stages in hip-hop, so it’s only right that the two legends became the purveyors of the Instagram live battles that have captured the few moments of happiness that have occurred so far in 2020.
The IG live battle that took off was between Scott Storch and Mannie Fresh, a battle that brought out the biggest hip-hop media outlets, the gatekeepers of hip-hop culture, the artists some of whose records got spun in the competition and of course the fans who’s undivided attention made the live stream flirt with 200,000 views on the live battle.
Scott Storch was declared the winner of the battle, but the results mattered less than just embracing the moment and realizing how many hits these two men are responsible for; its been like that with each battle that’s been conducted from Boi-1da vs Hit-boy to the songwriters battle of The Dream vs Sean Garrett.
A day will come when life goes back to normal. Concert tickets will be sold, clubs will re-open and vacations will be booked. But, we’ll always talk about when Swizz Beats and Timbaland, the kings of quarantine, brought out the legends for war.