A few months ago, Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s Verzuz platform was just a way for legendary rap producers to gently chide each other and talk a little shit on Instagram Live, with a few hundred thousand people watching. Since then, Verzuz has become a whole other thing. A couple of weeks ago, for instance, longtime frenemies Brandy and Monica faced off, and Kamala Harris made a surprise appearance. Last week, Verzuz announced that the next battle would feature the R&B legends Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle. The battle happened last night, and one more R&B legend joined them.
In last night’s bout, Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, both of whom have careers that go back to the early ’60s, got together in person. They took turns singing along to hits from their vast catalogs, and they were pretty clearly enjoying the experience and the company. There wasn’t a lot of competition there. Towards the end of the livestream, fellow legend Dionne Warwick came out to join them.
Together with Knight and LaBelle, Warwick sang “That’s What Friends Are For,” the Burt Bacharach/Carole Bayer Sager song that Warwick took to #1 in 1986. That version of the song was billed to “Dionne And Friends”; Warwick recorded it with Gladys Knight, Elton John, and Stevie Wonder. When they all sang it together on the Verzuz battle, some of them clearly forgot the words, which was cute. Then all three of them sang “Superwoman,” the Karyn White cover that the three of them first sang together in 1991. They also said nice things about each other and how happy they all were to be there. It was very cute. Watch it below.
It will be absolutely fascinating to see where the medium of Verzuz battle goes from here.