Unless you have been living under a rock, then you know all about the infamous “Verzuz” Instagram battles arranged by producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz. Ever since we have been held captive by the “Rona” everybody and their mama has tuned in to see producers and songwriters virtually going back and forth. There have been some friendly competitive banter and even industry secrets spilled during these social media duels. All in all, it has been a treat to see our favorite musicians play music that has been so instrumental in our lives. As the young people say, it has been a great time for “the culture”.  

The most anticipated battle has been the upcoming one between Teddy Riley and Babyface Edmonds. Two of the greatest architects of black music are to go head to head to see who’s catalog reigns supreme. It was not until Teddy Riley made a proposition that viewers should have to pay a fee that made me question the meaning behind the “culture”. It was from my understanding that doing something for the purpose of “the culture” was about impact, art, and legacy. However more than ever before I’m starting to feel as if “the culture” must be a money hungry person because it can’t mean what we have been led to believe. 

During times like this when people are deciding whether they should pay rent or buy food, why does it sound like a good idea to charge people to hear songs they have already heard? Music has the power to capsulize a moment in time. Artists get to create the background music to people’s lives. Thus, why we hold musicians in such high regard. Yet, enough is enough. It is plain to see that they are people too and have the capability to fall victim to greed. Everything is not always what it seems.  

I feel like musicians especially use the phrase “doing it for the culture” to hide their desire to simply make money. As humans we all long to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. Hence why when we the public are presented with such an opportunity there is an urge to join in. Who doesn’t want to be able to saw they were there to see it happen? But this guise to deceive people into thinking there will be this great experience when it’s a ploy is unfair.