May 9th, 2020 at 7pm EST a much anticipated Verzuz Instagram (IG) Live was to happen between 2 lovely ladies: the marvelous Jill Scott and most eccentric Erykah Badu. It’s been advertised for a little over a week now and many were very excited to tune into the 1st female Verzuz. Many agreed that it would be tough to pick sides while some easily guessed who would take it all. To prepare many said they would wrap their hair, light incense and candles, have wine or maybe some other “libations.” Either way you could sense the excitement.
I hopped on around 7pm as a friend and I were watching (while social distancing of course) and time went by. It was 7:05pm and it appeared neither of them were on Live yet (my friend joked that they were on “CP time.” Then by 7:07pm we hoped on Jill’s Live. She had a gorgeous background which looked like an african painting and she wore long twists in a high bun. She lit up smiling saying, “Hey everybody, y’all doing?” As more and more people entered the Live you could tell they were ready to get their night right. Erykah joined shortly after and they both complimented each other (as sisters/friends do).
Jill was streaming from TN and Erykah from TX. Both said that they are content with where they are and were just trying to stay safe during these times. Jill said she had her water, wine and other libations and Erykah got some hot tea.
At about 7:30pm Erykah began with the song “You Got Me” by The Roots which she’s featured in along with Tariq Trotter and Eve. What’s interesting is that Jill wrote that portion for Erykah so naturally after Erykah Jill played it too and she gave a story with it. She explained that she was at a Roots show and Erykah was running late and it didn’t appear that she would make the performance so Questlove told Jill she would have to sing it (she said she was so scared). That was going to be her 1st time performing amongst a crowd of that magnitude and she said it was the moment that changed her life. So she played that live performance of “You Got Me.”
That was the 1st song that Jill wrote and the only song that Erykah has sung that someone else wrote. Erykah explained that Common introduced her to Jill Scott. Erykah told Jill early on in her (Jill’s career) that she went to her show in LA and she was in the front row watching her. Jill said she didn’t notice her in the crowd but she was nervous when she came backstage. They didn’t speak because they didn’t actually run into each other. Jill said she saw her and she froze and eventually Erykah left.
Erykah plays “On & On” and said that was the lead single on her album. Erykah referenced the knock at the beginning from Mary J Blige’s song “Real Love”. Erykah had a minor sound issue but called it the “Teddy Riley echo” (she and her team were able to fix it). This was a song that Jill said she wished she had wrote. Jill then plays “Gettin’ In The Way” and stated she got a lot of backlash about writing a somewhat violent song but said at the time she felt as though, “Ass should be whooped” and that was that. Erykah then plays “Didn’t Cha Know” which was produced by J Dilla. Next up Jill plays “Rollings Hills.” Jill said this song came to her in the middle of the night and she had to “catch it” so she grabbed a pen and paper.
It was interesting because I think myself as well as many others watching realized that we weren’t watching a battle but moreso a jam session and we were all perfectly content with it. Erykah plays “Back In The Day” and then Jill plays “Slowly Surely”. It was interesting seeing the many celebrities that were in the Live session looking on. I told my friend that I felt as though we had been invited to a celebrity party because most of the comments came from famously verified accounts (Michelle Obama was watching too and chimed in a few times). Next Erykah plays “Otherside Of The Game” and describes it perfectly as “The dope man bitch’s version of the game”.
Jill plays “Calls” her song with Robert Glasper and Erykah yells “That’s not fair” jokingly. Erykah said that she and Robert are really cool and that they need to create more music together. Next Erykah plays “Appletree”. Jill plays “Whenever You’re Around” and said that she cried when she got out of the booth from recording that song. Erykah plays “Time’s A Wastin” and says the best compliment that artists can give each other is a stank face look when they hear a song that they like. Both Erykah and Jill demonstrated their stank faces.
Jill plays “Can’t Wait” and then Erykah plays “Cleva.” Erykah explains how she’s currently out of a job because her job was touring and performing and due to the state that everyone is in she can’t do that and she misses that, those intimate connections. Jill gave everyone an encouraging message saying, “Hold tight, Breathe easy.” Jill goes on to play “Watching Me” and Erykah asked her how she began writing poetry. Erykah admitted that she has written many poems but doesn’t share them. She said in fact that the 1st poem she wrote at 10 years old she shared on Instagram the other day. Jill explained she had an 8th grade writing assignment and read Nikki Giovanni and she felt as though she was understood by her writings.
They both took the time to explain what a beautiful experience this was and that they are friends. They said that people have pitted them against each other but that there’s nothing but love there for them. Erykah plays “Danger” and you could tell everyone was in the “ayyy” vibe. They both speak of a festival that they headlined in with Queen Latifah called the “Sugar Water Festival”. Erykah said she would definitely be willing to do it again with the same 2 ladies. Jill plays “Fool’s Gold” (which apparently SiR was a part of). Erykah plays “Next Lifetime” and then Jill plays “Honey Molasses.”
Erykah then does a soundcheck and asks what the time is (I was after 9pm). Someone commented, “We in a pandemic, what is time?” and I thought that was spot on. Erykah plays a song called “Today (Earth Song)” and Jill really likes it. She asks Erykah to send it to her and she agrees to (you really can’t find that song on streaming platforms). Jill plays a similar type of song called “Jahraymecofasola” and Erykah equally liked that song. Erykah plays “I Want You” and Jill plays “Love Rain-Head Nod Mix” which features Mos Def and Vidal Davis. Erykah said she doesn’t have anything with Mos Def and that they need to make some music together.
Erykah plays “Love Of My Life (An Ode to Hip Hop)” which featured Common and was featured in the movie Brown Sugar. Erykah chimed in and said that her mom Queenie said that this is how ladies conduct themselves (in regards to the verzuz). Jill played “So In Love” featuring Anthony Hamilton and Erykah played “The Healer”. Jill plays “Crown Royal” and describes it as “The nastiest most beautiful nasty song she’s written” (it was also a song a lot of viewers requested that she play). Erykah plays “Honey” and Jill plays “A Long Walk”. Erykah tells Jill that she wishes that she wrote that because that is songwriting at it’s finest.
Erykah plays “Bag Lady” and Jill plays “Blessed”. Erykah says that she’ll only play a few more because she had an afterparty that she was hosting on another site. Jill thanked her for doing this verzuz with her as it was her first time on IG Live (she told her she popped her IG Live cherry). Erykah played “Window Seat” and Jill played “The Way”. Erykah plays “Tyrone-Live” and soon after it starts she gets kicked out. Now she said that it looked as though her battery was running low. Of course the reactions were, “Noooooo what happened?” and Jill waited for her to come back in. In the meantime though Jill played the song on her end for her.
Jill plays a little bit of “Slowly Surely” as we all waited for Erykah to hop back in to finish the Live. At 10:08pm Erykah joins us again. Jill plays “He Loves Me” and Erykah plays “Green Eyes”. As the last song of the night Jill plays “Cross My Mind” in honor of the late Andre Harrel who just passed last week. The ladies thanked everyone involved for making this happen and getting them to where they are and they definitely gave a big thank you to the fans and viewers watching (as many as 700k watched all at once).
I hear the next Verzuz will be this Saturday and it will be Nelly vs Ludacris.