With social distancing now the crux of our everyday lives, musicians and entertainers are relying on platforms like Instagram to not only engage with their fans, but establish new ones. And eager to follow in the footsteps of DJ D-Nice’s historic #ClubQuarantine run over the weekend, we have super-producers Swizz Beats and Timbaland, who took to Instagram Live Tuesday night to test their mettle against each other during a virtual beat battle.
In 2017, Swizz issued the challenge, which Timbaland happily accepted a day later. And while we got a taste test of their potential faceoff during their 15-minute sparring session at Summer Jam in 2018, it took nearly three years—and a global pandemic—for their soundclash to finally come to fruition.
“Attention. Attention. Attention [...] It’s official. We doing this for the culture,” Timbaland announced in a since-deleted video Tuesday night. “Me and Swizzy gon’ go at it 10 o’clock, baby. IG Live. I done have the red blood in me. It’s gonna be a good one.”
Prior to the festivities, Swizz explained how it would go down: The first round would consist of back-to-back classics from their extensive catalogs, while Round Two would entail “certified joints you never heard. Just zones you never heard [...] the zones, zones, zones.”
Once the battle commenced, over 20,000 followers—including collaborators like Diddy and Fat Joe—tuned in to watch Timbo and Swizz brawl with tracks like Aaliyah’s “More Than a Woman,” the Lox’s “Fuck You,” Missy Elliot’s “Pass Da Blunt,” and Beyoncé’s “Upgrade U”.
And when Timbaland stopped to take a bathroom break, Swizz made sure to check him about washing his hands upon his return.
“Did you wash your hands, man?” Swizz chided. “You know you gotta wash them things up. You know what’s going on out here, man.”
Yet as entertaining as their battle was, many wondered how Pharrell would fare if he jumped into the fray.
I can’t call it between Pharrell and Timbo, but I’d pay good money to watch that shit.
While we wait for some generous soul to upload the entire beat battle to YouTube, you can watch a clip of Timbaland and Swizz waging war below.