The multihyphenate was among the many guest speakers during the second day of Blavity Inc.’s annual AFROTECH Conference. He participated in the “From Producer to Founder: A Conversation with Timbaland” fireside chat alongside Denisha Kuhlor, founder of Stans, and Tosh Ernest, global head of SVB Catalyst 2045 at Silicon Valley Bank. During the discussion, he talked about the rise of his platform Verzuz and opened up about some healthy competition he’d like to see on his music platform.
After the Virginia native discussed how he and Swizz Beatz achieved success by using Instagram, an established social media platform, he was put in the hot seat and asked some questions to discover his heart’s wishes for Verzuz. When asked, “If you could curate a Verzuz battle with any two artists, living or dead, who would it be?” he didn’t hesitate to choose two music icons that are no longer alive but left a significant impact on today’s music.
“Oh, of course, Michael Jackson and Prince,” he said swiftly. “Uhh…Biggie Smalls and Tupac, of course. But I think I would go with Michael Jackson and Prince first. And then I think. … Who else that’s not living? I just want to see Michael Jackson and Prince. How ’bout that?”
There was some curiosity about what his favorite battle had been, and Timbaland surprised fans when he said he hadn’t witnessed it yet. He did give credit to the battles that not only helped cause Verzuz to be a viral topic but also enhanced real-life relationships and pushed the music industry forward.
“I think my favorite one hasn’t happened yet,” the entertainer said. “But I can tell you, if I have to pick one, is the moment where Verzuz became, ‘Oh, this is real,’ and that’s the Teddy Riley and Babyface. Shoutout to Breyon Prescott, he made it by them dancing on that stage, made Verzuz something that was a pivotal moment. And then you gotta say Brandy and Monica. That was a very pivotal moment. And then Gucci and Jeezy. And, of course, Beenie [Man] and Bounty [Killer]. You couldn’t make that up.”
That led the “Keep Going Up” artist recalling how much the gospel Verzuz hosted by world-renowned pastor Bishop T.D. Jakes was more than a music showcase and entertainment but also something that helped heal the soul.
He explained, “The one that I think really took us over the top was when I called Bishop T.D. Jakes when George Floyd died, and we did the gospel one to heal the world. ‘Cause, you know, like we was angry, right? As a culture we was. It was just how everything was flowing. We answered the call to everything that was needed at that time, you know? That’s why I think Verzuz is so beautiful.”
“You really can’t have a favorite, but I think that if…don’t quote me,” he said. “Don’t put it on your Instagram what I’m about to say. Don’t get me in trouble ’cause I do have to make a phone call, but the one that I would like to see, I would like to see Lionel Richie and Stevie Wonder.”
As the Afrobeats genre continues to gain traction worldwide and chart on Billboard, he confirmed for international fans that he and Swizz Beatz’s team have been working hard to lock in two Afrobeats heavyweights, Wizkid and Burna Boy.
“Oh yeah, we already working on that. We working on that one,” Timbaland said. “We [have] been working on that one for like a while. It’s just about where we place it, where the staging is at, you know, it’s just a lot, but we definitely want to tap into the world.”
The hitmaker told the audience that although the Verzuz has paused, they have something to look forward to because it will return.
As heavy hitters make their way to AFROTECH Conference Stages, more gems are expected. Don’t miss out on your chance to be enlightened! Purchase your tickets here.