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When The Hottest Ticket In Town Is At Home: The Rise Of Instagram Hip-Hop Battles

Jazz harmonica player Frederic Yonnet (C) does a "social distancing" sound check, separated by a plastic tarp from band members (from L) Robbie McDonald on the guitar, Dennis Turner on the bass, Christopher Bynum at the drums and Warren Jones on the keyboard with sound man Eric Harris, before live streaming the concert on his Instagram and Facebook accounts.
Jazz harmonica player Frederic Yonnet (C) does a "social distancing" sound check, separated by a plastic tarp from band members (from L) Robbie McDonald on the guitar, Dennis Turner on the bass, Christopher Bynum at the drums and Warren Jones on the keyboard with sound man Eric Harris, before live streaming the concert on his Instagram and Facebook accounts.

Even though we don’t know when live music events can happen again, hip-hop and R&B stars have found a way to push creative boundaries during this global pandemic.

And millions have tuned into battles on Verzuz. Two music-makers compete on Instagram Live and play 90 seconds of a song they wrote, performed on or produced. After 20 rounds, the comment section determines who the winner is.

Verzuz has amassed over 400,000 followers and the battles have been setting viewership records for the entire app.

Producers Swizz Beatz and Timberland started the series back in early April.

The two kicked it off by going head-to-head. And since then, people from Scott Storch, who produced Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River” to Wu-Tang Clan’s RZA have participated.

Last weekend’s edition featured Jill Scott and Erykah Badu.

We listen to some great music and talk about how Instagram is the hot venue for everyone.

Find a setlist for Babyface vs. Teddy Riley’s Verzuz battle here. 

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