Sunday’s rematch not only celebrated both megawatt producers’ catalogs, but also the last year of Verzuz battles they spawned at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020. But when Timbo started pulling songs from JT’s discography, Swizz was ready to hit pause.
“Until you can get Justin Timberlake on Verzuz, I don’t really wanna hear those vocals,” he said with a laugh after his competitor played Jay-Z’s 2013 Grammy-winning song “Holy Grail,” which Timberlake is featured on.
Timbo previously teased a Verzuz battle between Timberlake and Usher on ESPN’s Jalen & Jacoby earlier this year, which Drake pitched as his dream battle via Instagram DM. “Drake hit me up about it too. He said, ‘We gotta make that happen, we gotta make that happen,'” he recalled of their conversation. “Soon to come, soon to come.”
But Swizz was adamant about JT coming through sooner rather than later, considering his relationship with Black culture and how the former *NSYNC member’s career has long been influenced by the hip-hop, R&B and soul genres and aesthetics as well as benefited from a number of Black artists and producers, most notably Timbaland. After Timbo played “Cry Me a River” and “SexyBack” during the bonus round, both Verzuz competitors lightly sparred about whether the pop star would one day hit the stage. “Until Justin let the world know that he –” Swizz started before Timbaland cut him off to assure him, “Justin gotta come out, he’s coming out.”
“He gotta admit that he love the Black culture and he gotta be on this stage,” Swizz continued before formally inviting him to participate in the long-awaited Verzuz battle. “You took from the Black culture, you give to the Black culture! Come to Verzuz and be a part of the Black culture!”
But during an IGTV recap of their Verzuz rematch on Monday, Swizz addressed his comments toward Timberlake after Timbaland said he was being “a little hard on my brother.”
“Look, man, I had to go hard,” he started teasing while addressing that the amount of JT songs being played at Miami’s renowned club LIV made it seem like the hitmaker himself was present. “It’s hip-hop. I was just having fun, you know what I’m saying? I ain’t got no problem with JT. I don’t got no problem with nobody. We just having fun. It’s called Verzuz. We’re going our thing. Shoutout to JT. We can’t wait to get you on stage having fun, because you deserve it, too.”
On Tuesday, the singer shared a black-and-white video of him dancing with Swizz in the studio to JT’s “Filthy” as a way to congratulate him and Timbo on their legendary quarantine creation. “Congrats to @timbaland and @therealswizzz for one year of Verzuz!” Timberlake captioned the clip, which both producers thanked him for.
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