One of the lasting gifts of Quarantine has been the birth of Verzuz. This celebration of music and artists came from some of our top producers and songwriters taking their friendly competitions to social media in song-for-song battles on Instagram Liv. Eventually it blossomed into a full-out event series with various installments across several genres, mediums, and generations. Verzuz has seen some of our greatest go head to head, from Brandy and Monica to Alicia Keys and John Legend, SWV, Xscape, Timbaland, Swizz Beatz, and many, many more.
Fans have a dream list of upcoming Verzuz face-offs. At the top of that list is battles featuring some of the greats of our time, from Beyonce to Mariah Carey, Justin Timberlake, and Chris Brown. Unfortunately, many of these acts have already spoken out, and flat-out said no to this. Usher, in particular, has turned down Verzuz a few times. Some fans have wanted to see him face off against Justin Timberlake, Chris Brown, or Trey Songz.
Chris Brown has already gone on record agreeing that he’d want to take on Usher in a song-for-song battle. Usher says that even though flyers have been made, nothing has been confirmed. “There was a flyer that was put together. It’s not official, no, we’re not doing that,” he told E! News. He continued, “I can appreciate what I see. Nah, there’s no Verzuz. I don’t think y’all ready for nothing like that. You might be ready for something like that on stage, maybe in the future. Stay tuned.”
Usher and Chris Brown are two of the most successful men in R&B music at the moment, but many feel like their careers do not match up in the way that makes Verzuz special. While their careers have overlapped, Usher experienced the greater deal of his success in the late ’90s and early ’00s with massive singles like “Yeah!” and “You Make Me Wanna” and well-received albums like Confessions and 8701.
Chris Brown is more of a modern-day success, with a lot of his relevance being established by very heavy release schedules, a constant radio presence via features and collaborations, and key singles every few years that keep him in the mainstream lexicon. Much like Mariah and Beyonce, an Usher Verzuz Chris Brown feels like a mismatch of generations and artist strengths, so its understandable why the only way Usher would consider it would be in a live performance setting since they are still some of the most celebrated live performers in the game.
Usher is also a celebrated vocalist, and TMZ recently asked another one of our great singers, Tevin Campbell, his thoughts on Usher and his status as one of the Kings of R&B. Campbell says that they are all kings and immediately gave love to some of the legends like Sam Cooke and Donny Hathaway. When pressed further on who could go toe to toe with Usher, Campbell mentioned R. Kelly. “[He] has a lot of hits, and he wrote all of them. When I think of an R&B artist that’s had a lot of hits, I think of R. Kelly, and not only his hits, he’s written for so many other people, you know.” Despite being pushed to select one, Tevin Campbell stayed neutral while praising both artists.
Obviously, R. Kelly is not a good candidate for Verzuz right now due to his legal issues, but do you agree that he is the only act who can face off against Usher?