What a way to start the weekend. Late Friday night, two titans of hip-hop put their best work on display in a beat battle for the ages.
Just Blaze, a producer known for his high-profile work with Jay Z, Beyonce, Joe Budden and other artists, and Swizz Beatz, the producer from the Bronx who made his name working with DMX, Ruff Ryders, Jay Z and Busta Rhymes, deployed their trademark sounds in the rumble.
For nearly three hours, Just Blaze and Swizz, who now lives in Englewood with his wife, Alicia Keys, volleyed their best samples and improvised on the spot, in a battle that was streamed on Instagram Live Friday night. Video was also live-streamed to YouTube by Hot 97 as the station’s morning show personality, Ebro Darden, stood nearby, capturing the action with this phone. Busta Rhymes, also present for the occasion, made some hilarious faces (see tweet below) as he listened to the carnage unfolding in front of him.
The beat battle, a rare event between two such prominent producers, lit up social media. While some swore that Swizz Beatz took home the gold that night, at some points, it was anyone’s game. But many seemed to agree on one thing: the battle was great for “the culture.”
As Swizz Beatz was very nearly pronounced the winner in the room that night, both producers demurred.
“This is for the people, it’s not for either one of us,” Just said.
“I think the culture need this,” Swizz added. “It shouldn’t be no politics involved … this was more about unity.”
He said he wished more artists would link up such an event, and both pledged that they would try to get more producers in the mix next time. Just Blaze said he got calls from media outlets wanting the rights to the battle, but he said the event wasn’t intended to drum up business, but instead to cater to “the people.”
“We didn’t do this to make money, this is not about our names,” he said.
The pair then proceeded to throw out some big names in future potential battles, including Pharrell vs. Timbaland and Pete Rock vs. DJ Premier.