When it comes to hits, it’s no secret that writers run it; but when iconic writers Ne-Yo and Johnta Austin went head to head showcasing their extensive and legendary catalog, fans found out just how much of the radio airwaves the two had on lock.
“I don’t think ya’ll are ready for what’s next,” Swizz said during a live with Timbaland. “These two are going to bring it, ya’ll ain’t ready for it trust us.”
And unprepared, we were. Prior to the battle, the rules were clearly laid out: 25 songs, 90 seconds, show up sober, must be released; as outlined by Austin via Twitter. Clearly, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland were trying to avoid a repeat of Sean Garrett‘s performance on Saturday (Mar 29) during his epic and also inebriated battle with The-Dream.
As the event started off, Ne-yo kicked off the round with Marques Houston‘s hit, “That Girl”, but he was quickly thwarted when Johnta Austin dropped R&B group Ideal’s breakup anthem, “Get Gone”; but it wasn’t until Ne-Yo dropped Rhianna‘s smash “Unfaithful” that Austin pulled out the big guns, revealing he wrote “I Miss You” for Aaliyah which left even Ne-yo taken aback.
“I didn’t know you wrote that one,” Ne-Yo exclaimed before sliding off camera. “Man, you came with some heat today.”
After trading jabs for more than 90 minutes and playing fan favorites including, “Sweet Lady”, “Make Me Better”, “Can’t Help But Wait,” and “Mirror”, the two songwriting giants bowed out with fans unable to declare a winner. Even battle organizers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz were having a hard time declaring who actually won, before deciding it was a tie and a huge win for the culture.
“Man they came with it,” Swizz said during the recap with Timbaland. “They came with hit after hit, I mean man that was epic!”
“Yeah they came with it out the gate,” Timbaland agreed. “I don’t think I can say there was a clear winner because they both were dropping bangers after bangers. Even I didn’t know about the Aaliyah record, I had to make some calls.”
Although Swizz and Timbaland’s “Versus” series is nothing short of amazing, Swizz took to IG live to address the corporations who have participated in the live series, warning that the events are just for fun before noting that he’s aware that they are watching.
“I have seen a few culture vultures on here and I just want to say that we aren’t doing this for money,” Swizz said. “We are doing this for the culture, for us, for people to receive their flowers while they’re here. That’s why you don’t see ads running across the bottom of our sh*t, because this has been carefully curated for the people. This ain’t Tik Tok, this is from the artists, by the artists, for the people and we just need five minutes to celebrate that.”
For the complete playlist that appeared in the Songwriter’s Battle, click here.