Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Instagram Live has provided a premiere form of entertainment as musicians go head-to-head against each other in a sound clash on the interactive live video platform.
Following DJ D-Nice’s landmarking #ClubQuarantine party, some of the industry’s most renowned beatmakers partook in the fun, from Timbaland versus Swizz Beatz to Hit-Boy versus Boi-1da. This past weekend, The-Dream and Sean Garrett were the latest to enter the proverbial ring on Saturday night (March 28). Their set was preceded by tense words that were exchanged before their battle, but once they were on Instagram Live, it was nothing but friendly fire. In their virtual duel, the two ATLiens traded blows in a back-and-forth of every hit that they’ve penned throughout their careers. Rick Ross, Fat Joe, T.I. and Wale were among those who tuned in to catch it live.
Inspired by their showmanship, songwriting mavens Ne-Yo and Johnta Austin were up next on deck. “Y’all requested. My brother & I will oblige,” Johnta wrote on Twitter. “Great night ahead!” Ahead of their duel, Austin took to Twitter to share some of the ground rules he and Ne-Yo had laid down for their night’s match on Sunday (March 29).
Additionally, the two-time Grammy winner also shared a throwback anecdote as a prelude.
“I don’t know if he remembers this but I told [Ne-Yo] at the Def Jam Grammy party in ‘07 that LA Reid asked me which new writers I love. I said ‘a lot are great, but that guy Neyo keeps me up [at] night & focused with what he does,’” Johnta wrote. “Neyo’s pen is truly #sosick.”
But once the Ne-Yo and Johnta match was on, the comment section was lit with comments as fans relived the glory days of R&B as they traded songs like Mariah Carey’s “We Belong Together,” Aaliyah’s “I Don’t Wanna,” Plies’ “Bust It Baby,” and Beyoncé’s “Irreplaceable.” Even R&B newcomer Ella Mai chimed in. “Ne-Yo vs Johnta Austin may be the best thing we’ll see all year. That s**t was insanity at its finest.”
“That Neyo vs Johnta battle made me forget about everything that’s going on in the world for a minute. Music is powerful. We needed that!” a second person added on Twitter.
See what else people had to say about the prolific songwriter’s epic duels below:
(Photo L-R: Rachel Luna/Getty Images, Prince Williams/Wireimage, Prince Williams/Wireimage, and Johnny Nunez/WireImage)