Verzuz has become a modern-day celebration of some of the most influential artists in music. Spearheaded by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, the series is geared toward pitting two icons of similar status and relevance against each other to face off with their respective musical catalogs. They’ve managed to bring titans from hip-hop, R&B, and soul music head to head but has been circle one group for a while without a proper match-up: ’90s Pop Divas. Fans continue to demand that Mariah Carey throw her name into the ring but struggle to identify an appropriate opponent for the most decorated female songwriter alive. Mariah seems to feel the same.
Music mogul L.A Reid recently stopped by The Real. While there, he addressed the long demanded Mariah Carey Verzuz and who he felt would be her ideal opponent. According to L.A Reid, the only one who can face Carey hit for hit, is Beyonce. Reid calls it his “ideal” match-up, saying that they both command mega-hits and powerful fanbases. Fans did not agree, however, sighting their different approaches to music and different eras as key reasons why they should not face off.
When asked her thoughts on the matter, the Queen of Christmas let it be known that she loves and respects Beyonce too much to even consider it. “Oh, stop! I love you, but we can’t ask that question,” Carey said. “First of all, I love Beyoncé, and I admire her so much as a performer for what she’s done for the world and everything else, so I ain’t answering that question.”
Understandably she would dismiss this suggestion. Carey is responsible for some of the biggest songs of all time. Beyonce, while equally revered and iconic, has built her career more on her ability to create moments (i.e., Half Time Shows, Surprise Albums, Television Specials) over hits. A Verzuz between the two would feel uneven.
While Bey and Mimi are in no rush to do a Verzuz, another ’90s diva eager to get in the ring has been Toni Braxton. The gifted vocalist is another towering figure from the glory days of big vocals and ballads. In an interview with Missy Elliot earlier this year, Elliot asked Braxton if she would consider doing a Verzuz and against who. For Braxton, her only options would be Mariah Carey or Mary J Blige. “Us girls from the ’90s,” Braxton told Elliot before revealing that she has yet to be tapped for a Verzuz by Timb or Swizz.
Social media seemed to disagree with Braxton, feeling she did not have enough hits to compete with Carey or Blige. However, Carey Verzuz Blige felt like a better option for fans.
Both women made their debuts in the early ’90s and were key figures in helping blur the lines between hip-hop, R&B, and Pop. Blige did this instantly out the gate, coining the title Queen of Hip-Hop Soul. For Carey, it was a gradual progression as she experimented with hip-hop more and more over her first few albums before becoming the poster child for the Hip-hop/Pop hybrid. She famously featured the late ODB on her hit “Fantasy” even though her label begged her not to.
Fans hoping to see “Real Love” take on “Heartbreaker” unfortunately got their hopes dashed when Blige flat out said she did not need a Verzuz. She told The Breakfast Club earlier this year, “I don’t know what a Verzuz would do for Mary J. Blige, but right now it’s not on my list.”
Mariah’s baby daddy Nick Cannon seemed to have his own ideas on who could face-off with his ex-wife. According to Nick, R. Kelly would be the ideal candidate for Mariah based on the fact that the two are gifted songwriters. Obviously, due to Kelly’s legal woes, this will never happen, but Cannon feels that Kelly is Carey’s only real option. Real fans have made it clear that the only person whose catalog should be going up against Mariah’s is the late Whitney Houston. This makes the most sense as Whitney and Mariah are both regarded as the greatest singers of all time. Mariah even drew comparison early on in her career to Whitney, who had debuted a few years prior. Both women have extensive catalogs and rivaled vocal ranges. Whitney and Mariah even collaborated on the song “When You Believe” for the Prince of Egypt soundtrack in 1998. As for Mariah, she followed up her recent comments on the Beyonce Verzuz with, “I’ll be disrespecting myself and I’m not going to do that, because it’s Christmas time.”
Mariah has been extended her hold on Christmas, upping the ante for the last couple of years. Most recently, she managed to score her 19th #1 record when “All I Want for Christmas” jumped to the top of the charts. Not only is it the first Christmas song to top billboard in several decades, but it also gives her the distinct honor of being the only artist with a number 1 song in 5 different decades. Carey also is the only artist to have a number 1 song every year for an entire decade, 1990-1999. For this Christmas season she celebrated with a McDonald’s Christmas menu and a new song featuring Khalid and Kirk Franklin. Seems like the only Verzuz Mariah is interested in is one against Santa Claus.