Swizz Beatz Explains Saying Justin Timberlake 'Took From the Black Culture,' Invites Him to 'Verzuz' Stage
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Swizz Beatz is clarifying some comments he made about Justin Timberlake, seemingly criticizing his appropriation of Black culture.
On Sunday night, Verzuz co-founders Swizz and Timbaland took the stage for an official rematch, playing a lively mix of their most popular hits. The two were the first to kick off the now record-breaking musical battles on Instagram in March 2020, and they returned in a celebration of how far the concept has come in a roller coaster of a year.
Unsurprisingly, Timbaland's setlist featured several songs produced for Timberlake and ones that included him as a featured artist, such as JAY-Z's 2013 single, "Holy Grail," "Cry Me A River" and "SexyBack." Swizz laughed, saying he didn't want to hear the singer's vocals until they could get him in a battle.
Later, he added, "He gotta admit that he love the Black culture and he gotta be on this stage." He even gave Timberlake a personal invitation: "You took from the Black culture, you give to the Black culture. Come to Verzuz and be a part of the Black culture."
There's no denying that Timberlake's early solo discography is heavily influenced by R&B and hip-hop, but some fans found it galling that Swizz would invite the singer before some influential Black artists have made their appearance on the virtual battle series. Especially Janet Jackson, whom the Man of the Woods singer recently apologized to for his behavior after the infamous "wardrobe malfunction" during their Super Bowl halftime performance in 2004.
Shortly after the rematch, the mega-producers reunited on Instagram Live to recap their battle. Timbaland gently chided Swizz for going "a little hard on my brother JT." Swizz defended himself, saying that he had to because of how good the songs were during the battle and explained what he meant when he said Timberlake "took" from Black culture.
"Look, man, I had to go hard. Did you hear how them songs were sounding on that stage? You and JT, it was like JT was in the building," he told Timbaland, adding that he was "just having fun."
"You know it’s hip-hop. I don’t got no problem with JT," he continued. "It’s called Verzuz. You know, we doing our thing. Shout-out to JT. We can’t wait to get you onstage having fun 'cause you deserve it too."
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