Grammy-winning Dancehall recording artist Sean Paul caught some heat over his reason for not signing up for a Verzuz battle. Earlier this year, Paul told BBC Radio 1Xtra’s Seani B that he did not like the Verzuz platform or the name.
The 48-year-old performer made a comparison between the American-based Verzuz series and the sound clash tradition associated with the island of Jamaica. In Paul’s view, both presentations reinforce the idea of actual conflict. He even suggested the concept of battling musically is a product of “slave mentality.”
“I live in a violent society in Jamaica right now and the clash thing, is to me, something that is… I don’t want to say it’s causing the violence in society, but everybody is becoming complacent, so my stance is to fight against that in general,” said Paul in January.
At the time, the Dutty Rock album creator also stated, “Last year, when I said, I’m not down with the Verzuz thing and when somebody asked why don’t I like clashing, I told them it reminds me of slavery. A lot of people got offended and upset by that statement.”
Sean Paul took part in another interview recently. Apple Music’s Zane Lowe spoke to the “Top Celebrity” singer, and their conversation once again covered Paul’s stance on the popular Verzuz.
“I was putting this album together called Live N Livin’ where I’m trying to put unity at the forefront,” Paul explained to Lowe. “I think that over the years, with our clashing each other, it’s been just a little bit embellished at times. It goes over to the point of us being complacent at saying some crazy things.”
He added, “I’m just trying to get back to the days where it’s more creative competition. So, when I was asked the question, ‘Would you do Verzuz?’ I said, ‘Nah.’ And they said, ‘Why?’ I said, ‘It reminds me too much of clashing right now.’ They were like, ‘What’s wrong with clashing? It’s part of your culture.'”
Paul continued, “I said, ‘Some things in culture are great, and some things in culture are very negative. I’m just trying to be the change I want to see in the universe and big up more the positive side of things.’ There are many positive things that come from our genre like us helping to spawn other music like Reggaeton. Personally, I’m just tired of seeing us go at each other.”
Since its inception during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Verzuz has hosted friendly hits-for-hits duels like Teddy Riley vs Babyface, Bounty Killer vs Beenie Man, DMX vs Snoop Dogg, Brandy vs Monica, Jeezy vs Gucci Mane, and Ashanti vs Keyshia Cole. Over 8 million viewers watched R&B divas Ashanti and Cole on January 21.
When the video-sharing service Triller purchased Verzuz in March, the brand’s original founders Swizz Beatz and Timbaland were added to the Triller Verzuz management team. Plus, 46 of the acts that participated in the series became Triller shareholders.
The next scheduled Verzuz event is set to see Blackout! collaborators Redman and Method Man meet up for a 4/20 special. In addition, 1990s-era R&B girl groups SWV and Xscape are currently expected to run through their most memorable records on May 8. There have also been teases of rematches as well as a “Ladies Night” edition.