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The Lox vs Dipset: How Verzuz Can Outlive the Quarantine

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Yes to everything about this photo. Sheek Louch, Styles P, and Jadakiss of The Lox perform onstage during Verzuz: The Lox Vs Dipset at Madison Square Garden on August 03, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Johnny Nunez/WireImage)

by Dan Runcie

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Last Tuesday’s The Lox vs Dipset Verzuz battle was a win for a lot of parties:

– Jadakiss

– Styles P

– Sheek Louch

– Triller and Verzuz

– the team that edited this perfect clip

– the Timberland boots and shorts combo

– Fat Joe

– New York hip-hop, 40+ hip-hop, real MCs

And if we’re being honest, The Diplomats won too. Sure, Dipset was as disorganized as an early 90s Source Awards show. Their anthems didn’t ring out how they should have. Juelz Santana is lucky he hasn’t had to do a Notes app apology after some of his comments! But the Harlem rappers used this event as a launchpad for a joint tour with The Lox. They’ll make more money as a result. If Verzuz was a group project, then Dipset social loafed its way to the post-Verzuz bump.

Outliving the quarantine. When Triller acquired Verzuz in March, I listed its two biggest challenges: the declining interest post-quarantine, and its dependency on marquee matchups.

The Lox vs Dipset proved that Verzuz can outlive the first challenge with livestream concert-style events. Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theater was packed. Jadakiss played to the crowd and commanded the stage. Verzuz has come a long way since Teddy Riley’s tech issues. The concurrent viewership on Instagram was over 600,000, the highest since January’s Ashanti vs Keyshia Cole event.

The second challenge, Verzuz’ dependency on marquee matchups, still exists. Here were the matchups between Ashanti-Keyshia Cole and The Lox vs Dipset:

-NFL Pro Bowl, D’Angelo & Friends, Raekwon-Ghostface Killah, SWV-Xscape, Redman-Method Man, Swizz Beatz-Timbaland rematch, Eve-Trina, Bow Wow-Soulja Boy

No disrespect to any of those talented artists but most of those events came and went with little buzz.

Enough hits to keep demand high. Content creators know that every creation won’t be a hit. It’s true for albums, songs, blockbuster movies, Trapital memos, and Verzuz events. But depending on the company’s cost structure, it needs a certain frequency of hits to justify the rest.

The best-case scenario is for Verzuz to have a Lox vs Dipset level event every few months. The challenge though, is who are the remaining artists with enough interest to participate. Can Swizz and Timbaland convince 50 Cent and Ja Rule? Or Usher and Chris Brown? Or Missy Elliott??

The worst-scare scenario, as I said in March, it that Verzuz becomes hip-hop’s NBA Dunk contest. “Fans would love the superstars to participate, but they won’t because they have little to gain. And the remaining talent can only draw in audiences on rare occasions.”

Read more in Trapital’s Why Triller and Verzuz Teamed Up.

Dan Runcie

Dan Runcie

Founder of Trapital

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