Verzuz has been a great source of entertainment. Birthed conceptually during the global pandemic, creators Swizz Beatz and Timbaland took a moment and built an empire. Since its debut, Verzuz has grown from the artists going live from their phones to now capturing audiences live. Artists who have participated in Verzuz thus far have seen a reinvestment in their catalogs by listeners, causing spikes in streaming numbers. But are they being paid on the backend?
There has long been a push for certain artists to enter the Verzuz ring. From Beyonce to Jay-Z to Missy Elliot, fans are excited to see their favorite new or legendary artist go toe to toe with another. Additionally, other artists have seemingly been campaigning to bring their catalog to the Verzuz stage. For example, Toni Braxton expressed interest in competing against various artists. However, we have yet to see one come to fruition.
Then there are those artists who have no desire to participate. Fans who have called for the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, Mary J Blige, were disappointed to find that she was not interested in the show. A recent appearance on the Breakfast Club saw the “Good Morning Gorgeous” singer declaring that Verzuz was “not something that’s on the top of my list right now.”
Chris Brown fans have been vying for the entertainer to appease fans with his hit-filled discography. Calls to go up against Usher, Omarion, or Trey Songz have continuously entered the conversation. However, the “Go Crazy” singer insisted that the only artist who could compete against him was himself. “Only vs ima do is CHRIS BROWN VS CHRIS BREEZY,” the singer stated on Instagram.
But there are the artists who may or may not have been considered who mentioned their desire to be a part. However, some of these artists come with demands as well. For example, rapper Lil’ Flip, whose most extensive charting single to date is 2004’s “Sunshine” featuring Lea, has long stated that he would do a Versuz. Recently, he initiated his aspirations to face his former rival, T.I. Along with wanting to battle T.I., Lil’ Flip claimed he wanted to be paid $3 million to do so.
In a recent interview with Vlad Tv, Lil’ Flip explained his comments and voiced a different bag amount after attending one of the latest Verzuz events and having fun. First, the number went from $3 million to $1 million, but now the rapper is willing to be paid $500K claiming, “anything around the $500K mark is cool because I had so much fun.”
Devoted Verzuz viewers remember the highly anticipated battle between former rivals Gucci Mane and Jeezy, who put an end to their feud at the end of the event. Before that, however, it seemed as though the “Wake Up In The Sky” rapper would not be a part. For starters, Gucci Mane requested that fans stop insisting that he appear on Verzuz “unless they got a million dollars,” as per an October 2020 tweet. In addition, the rapper boasted that they were “scared” of him in the same message.
Jay-Z is perhaps one of the most sought-after entertainers that fans want to see on Verzuz. But, beyond the fans, other rappers have boldly declared they could defeat the Brooklyn rapper that many deem the G.O.A.T. While we may never get the opportunity to view Jay-Z on a Verzuz stage, one rapper took a different and rather alluring approach in his challenge to Jay.
Kodak Black recently declared that he could be a solid contender against Jay-Z. But his terms did not appear to include the millions that others have requested. Instead, in a January 3rd tweet, Kodak Black offered up 15% percent of his publishing to the RocNation C.E.O. if he loses. But if he were to win, Kodak Black wants to be made the official Vice President of RocNation.
Swizz Beats is pretty fed up with all of the artists vying for a chance to appear on Verzuz and their high demands to be paid. So the award-winning producer slid in the comment section of the official Verzuz Instagram account to let off his frustrations. “Ain’t did a show in 23 summers and want to charge us like they sold out stadium prices,” Swizz exclaimed. “Talking about [yesterday’s] price is not today price.”
We may not know how much artists are being paid or what has been negotiated for those who participated in Verzuz. What we do know is, many of these artists have seen a significant spike in their streaming numbers leading up to and following the event. For example, as per Billboard, Jill Scott and Erykah Badu saw a reported 300% rise in their digital catalogs. In addition, other artists like Brandy, Monica, Soulja Boy, and Bow Wow have all seen their music celebrated more in terms of streams upon the battle’s culmination.