The Verzuz DJ battles — the real-time, virtual DJ matches on Instagram Live that pit icons of R&B and hip-hop against each other in (usually) friendly musical competition — have become an online phenomenon during the pandemic, as hundreds of thousands of people watch and comment on social media.
But along with the good grooves and good vibes have come some frustrating technical difficulties, beginning with Teddy Riley’s first set against Babyface, continuing with Nelly in his face-off with Ludacris, and into last weekend with Jagged Edge, whose match with 112 was filled with static and erratic wifi. (The group apologized in an Instagram post.)
Swizz told Variety last week of their frustrations with certain players’ technical difficulties, noting that they and the Instagram team have done their best to make sure the set’s sonics are as tight as its grooves.
“Putting together two artists and 20 songs — that’s the easy part,” Swizz says. “Fixing your WiFi, getting on the phone with tech guys, which some don’t do when we ask — that’s the hard part.”
After Jagged Edge’s set, the co-founders jumped on Instagram Live to discuss the use of the Roland Corporation’s specially designed systems to optimize Verzuz sound quality.
“Shout to Roland — Roland actually created a special system that they made for Verzuz for IG,” Swizz said. “And it works — like, you look at Ludacris’ sound, it works. You can tell who’s using the setup and who’s not using the setup. It’s only a couple plugs, and it’s going to change your life. You understand?”
Tim chimed in, “It’s 1-2-click-click-click.”
“112 was using it,” Swizz said. “I don’t think Jagged Edge was using it.”
“That threw off the frequency of the whole thing,” noted Timbaland. “When one uses it and one doesn’t, it’s all messed up.”
“The technology,” Swizz said with more than a hint of frustration, “We’re sending it to you for reason.”