Timbaland and Swizz Beatz are back with more matchups. Here are the musicians who came out on top this time around.
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Jeezy and Gucci Mane
Credit: Getty Images (2)

After a short break, Verzuz returned with new programming and a whole new look. Ever since the high-voltage fun of seeing Beenie Man and Bounty Killer celebrate each other's tracks together in person, the M.O. has become getting two artists with similar catalogs together in one room to put songs that they've worked on up against each other for 20 rounds. No more Wi-Fi issues or older musicians fumbling to figure out how to add the other to an Instagram Live. We now get some corporate sponsors (the events now stream live on Apple Music and play back on Revolt TV), but the wave Timbaland and Swizz Beatz started has only grown bigger.

Here are the new batch of artists who've gone head-to-head, along with the general consensus on who won each matchup.

Jeezy vs. Gucci ManeĀ 

What Did They Play?

Season 2 started with a bang as nearly 2 million people tuned into the "Icy" battle. The beef between Jeezy and Gucci Mane is one of the tensest in on modern rap, with some blood having been spilled over ownership rights to their 2005 single, which they ended up performing at the end. Before that, Gucci jeeringly opened with the diss track "Round 1" directed at his opponent, plus the even more brutal "Truth," but Jeezy kept things calm by sticking to hits like "Put On," featuring Kanye West.

Who Won?

With the snowman keeping his cool, Guwop fizzled out, skipping over some of his more recognizable cuts like "Freaky Gurl" and "Lemonade" in the battle rounds, while Jeezy racked up points with two Jay-Z collaborations, his verse on the Shawty Lo classic "Dey Know (Remix)," and "Who Dat."

E-40 vs. Too $hort

What Did They Play?

Verzuz ended its first year of programming with a battle of the Bay Area. The icons made their influence known early, with Too $hort playing "Freaky Tales," which was sampled in the recent Yo Gotti hit "Rake It Up," and E-40 playing "Captain Save A Hoe," which has been used in songs by UGK and Ty Dolla $ign. E-40 playing his song with Tupac was countered by Too $hort playing his feature on Notorious B.I.G.'s Life After Death album. Of course, the final round ended with the pair playing their signature songs "Tell Me When to Go" and "Blow The Whistle."

Who Won?

E-40 took an ever-so-slight victory, reminding folks of his low-key ubiquity in rap over the years, with a feature on Big Sean's "I Don't F— With You" and his top 40 entry "U and Dat," featuring T-Pain and Kandi Burruss. Too $hort kept up, though, just off the strength of his solo classics like "The Ghetto" and "I'm A Player (Street Version)."

Ashanti vs. Keyshia Cole

What Did They Play?

While Ashanti's pop success made her a favorite going into the much-delayed battle, it would be foolish to discount all the major R&B hits Keyshia Cole has racked up. Both came out swinging, with the former princess of Murder Inc. Records playing hits "Happy" and "Rock With U (Awww Baby)," while the Oakland songstress countered with her breakout hit "I Should've Cheated" and the signature ballad "I Remember."

Who Won?

Cole had a strong showing, especially on the collaboration front, pulling out songs like "Let It Go" with Missy Elliott and Lil' Kim and "Last Night" with Diddy. But Ashanti ultimately won by playing it smart and leaving no songs on the table. Highlights included her playing the "Ain't It Funny (Murder Remix)" by Jennifer Lopez and Ja Rule (she co-wrote it, and her vocals are famously still audible on the final version) and combining her biggest hit, "Foolish," with "Unfoolish," a remix with a feature from the Notorious B.I.G.

D'Angelo & Friends

What Did They Play?

Switching up the format quite a bit, this non-competitive solo Verzuz came live from the Apollo with D'Angelo kicking things off early with his version of Smokey Robinson's "Cruisin'." The "& Friends" part really started rolling when the R&B icon brought out Method Man and Redman to perform their collaboration "Left and Right," from Voodoo. From the comments to the stage, R&B prodigy H.E.R. sang "Best Part" with D'Angelo filling in for Daniel Caesar. D'Angelo even mixed in a little bit of his Lauryn Hill collaboration "Nothing Really Matters" before later doing that song in full.

Who Won?

Given that this edition was non-competitive, the audience was both winner and loser here. The original idea was for D'Angelo to go against Maxwell on Valentine's Day, so we can lament that not working out, but seeing D'Angelo's big finish running through his classics like "Brown Sugar," "The Root," and finally "Untitled (How Does It Feel)" was well worth it.

Raekwon vs. Ghostface Killah

What Did They Play?

Verzuz provided some all-in-good-fun infighting within the Wu-Tang Clan, rap's most influential artist collective. While Raekwon got to hit harder with the posse cuts, using the trump card that is "C.R.E.A.M." in round 11, Ghostface Killah had a bigger roster of winning solo drops like "Mighty Healthy" and "One."

Who Won?

More than a quarter of the rappers' picks were songs that the other was featured on, including Raekwon featuring Ghostface Killah on "Rainy Dayz (Remix)" versus Ghostface Killah featuring Raekwon on "Daytona 500." This was another battle that was more of an appreciation for each other than an aural bloodbath. Still, we're giving the slight edge to Ghostface for his versatility as a solo artist, using collaborations with everyone from Jadakiss on his song "Run" to Ne-Yo on his hit "Back Like That."

The Isley Brothers vs. Earth, Wind & Fire

What Did They Play?

On Easter 2021, soul met funk in what's already become one of the most memorable Verzuz battles in history. Seeing the Isley Brothers put "(At Your Best) You Are Love" against Earth, Wind & Fire's "Reasons" was truly a sight to behold, and it was a rare treat to see two groups with decades upon decades of hits get a platform like this for people to fall in love with their music all over again.

Who Won?

With the continued ubiquity of songs like "September," Earth, Wind & Fire were a favorite going into the matchup, but the Isley Brothers took this chance to reintroduce themselves and ran away with the win. They had songs ready to go up against "Shining Star,"  but Earth, Wind & Fire just weren't able to bring the heat against smashes like "It's Your Thing," "Between The Sheets," and "Shout."

Method Man vs. Redman

What Did They Play?

Only fitting to have the tristate area rappers and How High stars do their Verzuz on 4/20. The duo's Verzuz operated more like a concert than the type of showdown that sees the artists sit down and go song for song. Method Man and Redman performed their collaborations like "Diz Is For My Smokers'' and "Y.O.U.," and took time to perform their solo work like "What the Blood Clot," which is Redman's favorite Method Man song, and Redman's "Soopaman Luva 3," which Method Man deemed one of rap's greatest love songs.

Who Won?

Redman and Method Man continue to be so in sync as one of the greatest rap duos ever, so this was another Verzuz where it wouldn't be right to name a winner. We can say the loser is whoever thought it was a good idea to FaceTime disgraced Def Jam founder Russell Simmons during the show. Outside of that incident, it was nice to see a mini Wu-Tang Clan reunion with RZA and Inspectah Deck coming out to do "Wu-Tang Clan Ain't Nuthing ta F*ck Wit," and Redman performing "Let's Get Dirty" with DJ Kool, before going straight into "Dirrty," his collaboration with Christina Aguilera. Both Verzuz artists are also featured on the underrated posse cut "4,3,2,1," which they played in tribute to the late DMX.

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