July 31, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

How to watch E-40 and Too Short’s Verzuz ‘Battle of the Bay’


It’s going to be a “Rapper’s Ball” on Saturday when veteran Bay Area rappers E-40 and Too Short go head to head in the last Verzuz battle of 2020.

Billed as “Legends of the Bay,” the California rap stars will face off at 5 p.m. Pacific today on the VerzuzTV Instagram page. The live, lyrical exchange of hits will also be available in HD on Apple Music. The longtime friends plan to celebrate their roots in Oakland, where they laid the foundation for the area’s music scene for decades.

“We’re going to showcase what the unlaced has yet to see or hear,” 53-year-old E-40 told the Ringer this week.

“It’s not just a battle,” added Too Short, 54. “It’s not just displaying your catalog, trying to outdo somebody else. It was like, ‘This could be a bigger situation for the Bay, just as far as the story being told.’”

E-40, real name Earl Stevens, and Too Short, born Todd Shaw, rose to fame in the early 1990s and released more than a score of hit albums apiece. E-40’s steady stream of hits include “Tell Me When to Go,” “U and Dat” and “1-Luv.” Too Short’s singles include a “Gettin’ It,” “Shake That Monkey” and the 2006 track “Blow the Whistle.”

The two have regularly been featured by other artists, including Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Jay-Z and Kendrick Lamar. They also famously collaborated on the 1996 hit “Rapper’s Ball.”

The stars hyped up their Verzuz battle by dropping a pair of albums Friday, including Too Short’s “Ain’t Gone Do It” and E-40’s “Terms and Conditions.” They also released a joint song, “Triple Gold Sox,” to those who preordered the bundle album, along with an accompanying video.

NFL star Marshawn Lynch, Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry, Portland Trailblazers star Damian Lillard, Ciroc sponsor Diddy, actress Kerry Washington and musicians Lizzo and Megan Thee Stallion have all voiced their eager anticipation for the so-called Battle of the Bay.

Theirs is the latest friendly match-up on the platform that blew up in 2020 during COVID-19 shutdowns and provided R&B and hip-hop fans much-needed live-music events online. The platform kicked off in March with a showdown between Grammy-winning rapper-producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, who created and launched the web series. E-40 teamed up with the duo to persuade Too Short to partake in today’s festivities.

Verzuz has since featured battles between rappers, rivals and friends, such as DMX and Snoop Dogg, Ludacris and Nelly as well as Gucci Mane and Yeezy. It has expanded well past the hip-hop genre since its launch.

On Juneteenth, Alicia Keys and John Legend had a piano duel. Weeks later, 1990s R&B dynamos Brandy and Monica faced off and set a viewership record for the platform. In September, iconic divas Patti LaBelle and Gladys Knight put everyone to shame when they sang their hearts out during their friendly competition.

R&B stars Ashanti and Keyshia Cole were meant to close out the viral year for the platform this weekend, but their battle had to be postponed to Jan. 9 after Ashanti contracted COVID-19.