The Five Best Moments From Timbaland And Swizz Beatz’s Instagram Face-Off

Photo by Manny Carabel/Getty Images

The producers squared off against each other on Instagram Live.

Timbaland and Swizz Beatz went beat for beat as the two producers faced-off on Instagram Live Tuesday night. The virtual beat battle had over 20,000 watchers — which included celebrities like Justin Timberlake, Diddy and Fat Joe — with Timbaland and Swizz offering back-to-back classics and deep cuts throughout.

The producers didn’t hold any punches: Swizz dropped everything from the “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem” to “Get Me Bodied,” while Timbaland played everything from “The Rain” to “Cry Me A River.” Both showcased the large roster of artists they’ve produced for, as well as their versatility as producers.

But, there could only be one winner, and although the consensus seems to be that Virginia’s Timbaland bested Swizz, some have made the case for the opposite. Regardless, there’s no denying that the pair’s virtual battle was entertaining and necessary, especially during a time like this. The Instagram Live of the two’s face-off is still available on their respective accounts. But for those who would like some highlights of the battle before viewing it on their own, we’ve provided five of the best moments that came from the battle.

1. Timbaland declaring “I put crickets on the radio” as he played Aaliyah’s “One in a Million”

What a way to brag. Timbaland could’ve just let the song speak for itself but that wasn’t enough. He also had to remind people that an integral part of this song is the sound of crickets. Seriously, “One in a Million” begins and ends with crickets. This moment isn’t only hilarious but arguably encapsulates the charm of some of Timbaland’s best beats: a reliance on eccentric or weird sounds (the gutteral burp on Ginuwine’s “Pony” for example) that stay with us almost as much as the full production does.

2. Swizz Beatz following up “One in a Million” with “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem”

“You changed the radio with that,” Swizz conceited to Timbaland as the latter wrapped up playing “One in a Million.” “But I changed the streets with this.” Then, the producer played the intro to “Ruff Ryders’ Anthem.”

“I ain’t gon’ lie, when I heard that record I ran out the club. I was like, ‘This nigga is on my ass,'” Timbaland said in response to Swizz dropping the DMX classic. “You did that shit.”

3. Jay Electronica writing “This ain’t the one” and “Nah b” when Timbaland dropped Justin Timberlake’s “SexyBack.”

The camaraderie in the comments section of Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s Instagram Live was just as amusing as the actual live stream. Case in point: when Jay Electronica offered his thoughts on Timbaland dropping “SexyBack” in response to Swizz playing Jay-Z’s “If I Should Die.”

At the 1:02 mark in the video clip above, Electronica commented “This ain’t the one,” and followed that up with “Nah b” at the 1:26 mark.

4. When Timbaland dropped Kanye West’s “Good Life” and “Stronger” back to back.

Sure, Timbaland didn’t fully produce these but he did have a hand in them, so it sort of counts? Anyways, for those that don’t know, Timbaland provided additional drum programming for “Good Life” and “Stronger.” His contributions to the latter are immportant to note, considering Kanye West sought Timbaland to help him redo the track’s drum programming. West enlisted Timbaland for this after hearing the producer’s song “The Way I Are” inside of a club.

5. Swizz Beatz asking Timbaland if he washed his hands after using the bathroom.

Washing your hands is the easiest preventative action one can take to combat the 2019 coronavirus, and I appreciate Swizz Beatz for making sure his brother in beats washed his hands.

And as for who won the battle, well, here’s some reactions below.

On Wednesday, TIDAL added to the fun. Elliot Wilson announced that the streaming platform turned the night’s epic beat battle into a streaming playlist for subscribers. Check out the full playlist below.



Elijah C. Watson

Elijah Watson serves as Okayplayer's News & Culture Editor. When he's not writing he's listening to Sade and crying or watching My Hero Academia with his partner.

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Elijah C. Watson

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