1. Coming off of the high that was the Bounty Killer versus Beenie Man Verzuz Dance Party Jam Session No Social Distance In Sight, I personally thought the Jagged Edge (JE) versus 112 joint was going to end up being somewhat underwhelming. That Saturday night Verzuz was so lit and so live, it was the party we didn’t even know we needed. Apparently, though, Jamaica has discovered the cure for COVID-19 because they were spitting into microphones, close-talking and who knows how many people were there. I do have to point out though, *shhh, nobody said they were doing too much the same way we said it about Teddy Riley, shhhh.* I didn’t see nor hear nary an individual point out how many folks were present. I’m not saying it didn’t happen, I’m just saying that all of the people I typically follow seemed to be on one accord that the party was awesome and only awesome. Peeeridt.
There were two entire DJ setups. Now perhaps because the whole thing worked: it didn’t clog up the Internet or shut down our in-home jam sessions, and nobody cared. Perhaps it only matters if you have too many people around if in America and if the party doesn’t jam right. Also, the police showing up in the middle of it just felt right. At the same time, can you imagine being a police officer showing up to a house that’s too loud and seeing Beenie Man and Bounty Killer? Point is, that joint was awesomesauce.
2. Before it started, my money was entirely on JE, though I didn’t think it would be any kind of blowout. If JE won it would be close and the same for 112 . Just want to make sure that’s clear. I’ve already thrown my hat into the Jagged Edge versus 112 debate that everybody has an opinion about, have written about Jagged Edge a few times, etc. I’m a fan. I’m also a fan of 112 because who isn’t? I tend to think 112 has the better catalog, overall—plus deep cuts—whereas Jagged Edge has more hits (this is facts). Now it can be argued that JE found a formula and stuck to it longer and better than anybody else and that’s probably true. And 112 both tried different things and thus has more diverse songs. My preferences just lean towards JE. With that said, “Cupid” is the best song between both groups.
3. With that being said, I was super excited about this battle. As I grilled, I had a JE and 112 playlist running all day. I was ready. And because of the sound issues—which should not be a thing by this point—I pretty much checked out less than halfway through. And it was mostly on the JE side. I joked on Facebook that there was no way that all these Atlanta dudes would have solid wifi, and I don’t know if the wifi is actually the problem (likely not) or if it’s Instagram Live.
But largely, at this point, we’ve had weeks worth of Verzuz, there should be a better platform for it by now. Roland Martin wasn’t wrong when he suggested that they come up with something alternate. It’s pretty much what everybody’s been saying. None of the Verzuz have been without their issues, even the good ones. Some issues have just been lesser than others. If the IG Live event went off seamlessly, we forget the number of times the feed died momentarily or the sound was trash, which is odd. In my head, T-Pain and Lil Jon had crisp, clear sound and that’s impossible given the platform; they just had the least amount of sound issues. Point is, whatever kits Timbaland and Swizz Beatz send to folks or guidance is provided, the truth is, at this point, the sound and wifi issues, or sound issues because of wifi, or because IG Live can’t handle the capacity, are killing the events.
I was ready as hell for this and gave up, as did almost 100k people. I believe I saw the numbers get almost up to 300K (not quite there) at one point and the last number I remember paying attention to was right around 200K.
4. By the point that I checked out, after 10 songs, I had it even at 5-5.
5. Why the hell did Keith Sweat just randomly pop up wherever 112/56 were? And then hugs. I tell you, the social distance struggles have been real for everybody. I doubt everybody in Jagged Edge lives together right now, but all four of them were huddled up in, I believe, Bryan Michael Cox’s studio. The remaining members of 112, Slim and Mike, were together, which is where Keith Sweat showed up. Maybe everybody has been exercising extreme caution. I hope so. It was nice seeing Keith Sweat though.
6. Did I mention just how bad the sound was? I think I just said it was bad. Here’s how bad it was: when 112 played songs, I could largely hear the songs as well as IG would allow. Jagged Edge would play songs and you literally couldn’t hear shit. It sounded like the sound that happens when a wire is loose or frayed and you get a tinny, small sound. They had me looking stupid at times trying to hold the damn iPad up to my ears to make out what song it was, never mind that I was casting the whole shit to my television with surround sound speakers. There were as many comments, especially from celebs, about how trash the sound was. It didn’t help that the dudes from JE, probably seeing the comments, keep talking in the background as well.
Oddly, it was both what I expected to happen and somehow way worse than I expected. I wasn’t even disappointed, I was more annoyed that these issues are still happening.
7. I hope that Mike, Slim, Q and Daron get their issues together. At the same time it seems like that’s an impossibility. Whatever issues exist between them all, and it looks like money is at the root of it, I don’t think there’s any coming back. I won’t even say the world needs a new 112 album though I’d be here for it; they released an album in 2017 that I didn’t even know happened until last week—put a pin in this. Meanwhile, Jagged Edge has been releasing albums more consistently and they’re mostly all pretty good because again, they have a formula. You know exactly what you’re getting and it’s usually pretty good. To that end, folks saying that 112 should have battled Dru Hill...look, I love Dru Hill, and as far as singers go, they have some top-notch singers. I really think we remember them as more of a hit-making group than we think. Unless Sisqo gets to count his solo songs as Dru Hill joints. I even saw Jodeci versus Dru Hill talk. Listen, stop.
8. One good thing to come out of this was that I finally checked out 112’s last album, 2017’s Q Mike Slim Daron which has a group duet cut clearly written and produced by Brian and Brandon Casey from JE, called “Both Of Us.” It sounds like a Jagged Edge song, but with 112 singing too and that shit GOES. They need to release a joint album. There was an extra edge hearing Slim sing over that JE production. The two groups trading harmonies, etc. It’s a winner of a song and I’d be the first to line up for more of that. That 112 harmony works very well on this song. More please.
9. We need an afrobeats Verzuz, with a solid setting to make it work properly. The whole time I was watching Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, I kept thinking that Davido and Wizkid or Burna Boy or Mr. Eazi, etc. I think that would be awesome. I just hope the Verzuz set-up wouldn’t kill the good vibes and energy.
10. Get it together Swizz and Timbaland. People are literally showing up just because artists they love are present but the brand itself isn’t exciting anymore because when you think Verzuz, you think bad connections, sound and Teddy Riley. While the good joints have been good, the bad shit far outweighs it and it becomes an event that folks are ready to turn into memes and jokes. I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and assume that because they have to know this, they’re working on it. I look forward to it being a truly viable, dope event.