• Tammie Takon

UK VERZUZ: RELIVING Y2UK

Originating as a battle between two prominent producers during a pandemic, Verzuz has succeeded in expanding and diversifying its platform and its success in the US has inspired conversation as to whether the UK will follow in its footsteps. Verzuz has been described as ‘a means of bringing together the culture’ and I couldn’t think of a better way to do so than to invite more cultures into its space.


When it comes to having a UK Verzuz, it is important to know why we are doing it and who we are doing it for. It would be easy to repackage the success of the US Verzuz and change only the name, however, that would be inauthentic. Authenticity should be at the heart of a UK Verzuz because aside from the desire to listen to banger after banger, there is a need for those both across the UK and internationally to acknowledge what makes British music a cultural powerhouse.


For example, featuring artists such as Dizzee Rascal (whose fusion of garage and grime have created sounds that are unique to British music) can allow audiences to distinguish between the British hip hop sound in comparison to hip hop elsewhere. Or utilising artists like Lady Leshurr, whose humorous lyrical content and use of slang portray an experience unique to people growing up in the UK. From watching many Verzuz, it has become clear that culture is a priority, whether the focus be on the rivalries, or getting into the top hits, these are all components of that culture. So, when doing a UK Verzuz, we should make sure that who we have on the stage is representative of British Music.

(last.fm) (thequietus.com)


Aside from the serious, it would be great to celebrate British throwbacks and see the artists actively participate. Here in the UK, there is room for more celebration of our classics. Often when searching for a nostalgic HipHop or RnB playlist, it is rare to find music from artists outside of the US. That is not the fault of US artists because it is great to see them appreciated. However, it is more of a reflection on the UK, with its constantly evolving music scene resulting in the neglect of our older artists. Maybe Verzuz is our opportunity to relive the past? Could you just imagine being told to stand for the national anthem, and Talking the Hardest starts playing?


Additionally, there is the opportunity for resurgence. The fact that Verzuz can amass billions of impressions with each show, which does wonders for artists by reaffirming their place in their genre. Verzuz, to me, places emphasis on giving people their flowers while they are here, with perhaps the opportunity of acquiring international recognition, which a platform like Verzuz is more than capable of doing with its viewer base. My younger self 100% needs to see the rebirth of 2000s UK rap featuring artists such as Rizzle Kicks, Lethal Bizzle and Tinie Tempah.


(independent.co.uk) (jonshard.com) (theguardian.com)


For a country that is home to trailblazer artists like Chip, JHus and JME, it is clear that we should have a UK Verzuz. Swizz Beats, the co-creator himself, is even on board with the idea, so it is just a matter of time before we see British artists go head-to-head on the Verzuz stage.