Celebrate Verzuz, urges Swizz Beatz amid cover art drama
American producer Swizz Beatz says he doesn’t want the current controversy surrounding the Billboard cover art reporting on the ‘Verzuz Effect’ to cloud the fact that to date, dancehall legends Bounty Killer and Beenie Man have delivered one of the best clashes the online show has seen.
The Verzuz co-creator was speaking with The Gleaner following a public outcry after the faces of the two dancehall icons were left off the cover for the Billboard feature. The Grammy-winning producer who was quick to swap out his and Timbaland’s faces for that of Bounty and Beenie’s, said the clash was far too iconic to be marred by the media outlet’s clear misrepresentation.
“Sometimes I wish we were able to see things before they come out. Not to critique journalism or critique the person that’s doing the write-up, but to actually help them because sometimes a person isn’t really tapped into the culture like that. If we were able to see the cover we woulda told them real quick that ‘hey, no disrespect to such and such but Bounty and Beenie gotta be there’. These two legends who are like brothers to me helped to change the face of the Verzuz battle, and so without a doubt, their faces deserved to be there,” he said.
“But we can’t let this cover issue discourage the energy surrounding that historic battle, because Beenie and Bounty worldwide have gotten respect for that Verzuz and Jamaica got the respect, and so I want people to continue the positivity of that and not get caught up in a photo. The celebration that came out of that Verzuz battle is what we should continue focusing on.”
Beatz went on to say that he is well aware of how impressionable the minds of consumers are, and that’s why he was swift in his actions to ‘redo’ the cover to include Bounty Killer and Beenie Man. He said he didn’t want the world thinking the Verzuz fraternity was any way involved in Billboard’s misstep. “The pride of the town is something that has always been a big deal with Jamaicans. Me and Tim are powerful guys but people feel like we had control over that (Billboard cover) and I am a little bit shocked at that. We want people to know that we wouldn’t overlook (Beenie Man and Bounty Killer) like that, no way we would,” he said.
“We changed it immediately and we got them their respect, so don’t worry about Billboard because we did the right thing. We (the people) are the culture anyways. What Billboard is gonna do is not in our hands, and so we did what we had to do to protect our people, and we will continue to do that.”