In the midst of the pandemic that began early last year, it forced a lot of us to find other means of entertainment as we were all stuck inside the house on lockdown. One of the best things to come from this pandemic from an entertainment standpoint, would be the Head-to-Head music battle platform “Verzuz”–founded and created by Hip-Hop legends Timbaland and Swizz Beats. What once started as just a one-off Instagram Live battle between the two moguls to see who had the better production catalog has now turned into a worldwide phenomenon–bringing the group chat/barbershop conversation into fruition as to who is the better artist. Two legends take turns playing hits after hits and a winner is declared just shortly after the battle is over once Timbaland and Swizz Beatz go Live and talk it out. The platform has since then grown to produce live in-person battles–accompanied with live DJ’s, amazing stage settings, and commentary from both artists in between songs. Some of the battles we have seen come from this would be DMX vs. Snoop Dogg, Alicia Keys vs. John Legend, Rick Ross vs. 2 Chainz, Nelly vs. Ludacris, and even the controversial battle with Jeezy vs. Gucci Mane. Many more are underway, with Ashanti vs. Keyshia Cole being next in line. While the platform has primarily focused on seasoned and legacy acts, it has yet to feature artists with careers that aren’t as long as some of the legends before them.
For those who have not heard yet, there are talks on the timeline about a Verzuz battle being “in the works” between none other than Travis Scott and Future. While many of fans felt this battle didn’t really make sense (myself included), people began to talk about how this battle would play out. Travis Scott was trending on Twitter the other day once this news broke out, and many fans were not speaking in favor of him. While Future definitely has the larger catalogue with 8 studio albums, 2 collaboration tapes, and over a dozen mixtapes, it would appear that he would have the upper hand here. With the traditional Verzuz format being 20 rounds, people felt that Future would win by a landslide with the final score tallying in at Future 15, Travis Scott 5. Other scores floating around appeared to be 18-2, and even a complete blowout with Future taking the W.
The team here at Lyrical Lemonade are huge fans of both artists and our opinions sway on both sides. While the rumors of this Verzuz battle already being shut down on Twitter by Future’s manager, it can still be fun to speculate which direction this battle COULD go if it did happen. Here is my opinion on the “hypothetical” Travis Scott x Future Verzuz.
My Background Knowledge w/ Travis Scott and Future
For me, one of the very first questions I ask a person before I listen to a hot take they may have, is ask how long they have been listening to an artist, and do they consider themselves a fan or a casual listener. That being said, I feel its best that I preface this piece with a little bit of my own personal history with the two artists.
I first discovered Future back around 2011 or 2012 when his single “Tony Montana” was out. The music video used to play on TV all of the time, and you couldn’t change to a radio station without hearing the song. To be honest, I didn’t really like the song at the time and I still don’t really listen to it now, but I can respect it for what it was and what not did for his career. His single “Same Damn Time” was what really caught my attention, but I would still have considered myself a casual fan at that point. I bought his album Honest which had hits such as “Move That Dope” and “I Won” feat. Kanye West, and I liked a few songs from his Pluto album as well. It wasn’t until around 2014 when I really could classify myself as an actual Future fan when he released his mixtape Monster. I was a huge Metro Boomin fan back then as he was one of my inspirations for my music producing, so to see an entire tape executive produced by him was such an amazing thing to hear. The tape birthed “Codeine Crazy”–which the Future Hive can all agree on calling this a cult classic for future.
From then, I became hooked to every single project he released after that. He released Beast Mode in 2015 which was executive produced by Zaytoven, and 56 Nights which was executive produced by 808 Mafia & DJ Esco. The buzz Future accumulated from Monster, Beast Mode, & 56 Nights ultimately led future to create a classic album DS2 (Dirty Sprite 2) just shortly after, and then the rest was then history. I do personally consider Future to be one of the best artists of this current generation as he has a catalog that can stand up against many other great artists catalog. Some of my personal favorites include many songs from his 2017 albums FUTURE and HNDRXX, and High off Life was one of the best albums to come out in 2020.
With Travis Scott’s career taking off just around the peak of Future’s career, he still has put out a ton of projects and guest verses to say the least. I first became a fan back in 2013 with the release of Travis’ first mixtape Owl Pharaoh. I was already a fan of the production he contributed to Kanye West and many other GOOD Music artists, and this was ultimately his first attempt at a full-length body of work of his own. Standout tracks such as “Upper Echelon” and “Uptown” birthed the sound of Travis at an early point in his career–introducing that dark energy alongside heavy 808’s that formed many moshpits back then. These are two songs that Travis Scott still slips into his setlist to this day.
Many fans can agree that this next project, Days Before Rodeo is one of Travis’ best bodies of work that he has created. Released in 2014, Travis kept that energy high and kept the feeling alive with this mixtape birthing features from Young Thug, Migos, Rich Home Quan and Big Sean. While this tape is still not available on streaming platforms, current fans still venture back digging to find this tape to listen to cult classics such as “Skyfall” feat. Young Thug, and “Drugs You Should Try It”. from this point going forward, Travis Scott has managed to expand his fanbase with each body of work he puts out. albums like Rodeo, Birds in the Trap Sing McKnight, and ASTROWORLD existing, it’s very difficult to count out Travis when speaking about artist that have not only contributed to the current sound of today, but helping shape the sound as well.
Breaking the Rules
Historically, the Verzuz battles normally are structured to go 20 rounds back-to-back with both artists only playing their biggest hits. These hits normally are the chart toppers, club anthems, and overall impactful records in the culture. Travis Scott and Future would be the first battle that would occur amongst artists from this current generation of rap, so I’m sure the rules could be bent a bit. Normally the album cuts don’t really shine the best here on Verzuz, but an exception could be made here. Not to say that these artists don’t have 20 hits that they can play, because they both sure as hell do, but this is the stage and the platform to come out swinging with only the best of the best. Future’s “Tony Montana” being a record that the younger audience may not know too well, may not perform the best in a Verzuz battle. The audience is normally an older crowd, but it’s safe to assume that a younger audience would be in attendance here. Same goes for Travis Scott–playing a sleeper pick from Owl Pharaoh may not be the move here since a lot of his audience came much after that project was released.
Where this battle can get to be a bit unfair is with the guest verses and collaboration tapes. Both artists have done an abundance of features over the years, and the collab tapes are where some of the best features lie. Future has an entire tape with Drake in which he can pull TONS of hits from, as long as he is not limited to how many he can choose. Not only that, but he had a handful of other features with Drake from his own albums and other albums that he can pull from. Using Drake in a Verzuz is a cheat code that we saw lots of during the 2 Chainz x Rick Ross battle, but in Verzuz, there are no rules or boundaries. Travis Scott as well has a ton of features with Drake as well that he can use here, but I’m pretty sure both artists wouldn’t want this to become the Drake Verzuz where both of them just compete to see who has the better Drake stimulus package.
What Future Needs to Do to Win
Without a doubt, Future has one of the most impressive catalogs in current rap history, and probably the most favorable amongst the two artists here in question. That being said, I do believe that Future could approach this battle with that already in mind, and could assume that no matter what he plays, it will be a certified W. That is not the case. Verzuz is all about strategy here, and the song you play can go either way depending on who goes first in the battle. If Future goes first, I could see him starting off with “Move That Dope” from his 2014 album Honest. With that being an older hit, it would be better to get that song out of the way first to warm up the crowd and the viewers. One of the best things about Future’s catalog is that as he aged, his music got better. That being said, it may be best for him to keep a steady timeline here. Starting with 2014 and working his way up all the way to 2020 would be more ideal since a lot of his bigger hits came later on in his career.
Future is known for his versatility, so being able to adapt to whatever song Travis throws at him will be no issue at all. Songs such as “Radical” and “Lay Up” are both songs can be played as underrated album cuts that still pack a punch. If Travis is getting into his laid back vibe, Future can combat that with songs like “Codeine Crazy”, “The Percocet & Stripper Joint”, and basically anything from his 2017 album HNDRXX. Another strategy that Future could use is saving his bigger hits for the end of the battle to really go in for the kill. Travis is the type of artist that loves to lead with high energy and maintain that throughout the entire set when he performs. That said, he could end up using his killer singles too early on and leaving him vulnerable to getting attacked in the later rounds. To really go in for the kill, Future has to end his battle with “Jumpman” feat. Drake, “Fuck Up Some Commas”, and “Mask Off”–all of which are arguably top 5 Future songs amongst fans. To end it all, Future will play “March Madness” to end the night, which is a guaranteed point no matter what is played after it.
What Travis Needs to do to Win
Previously mentioned, Future’s catalog is just so crazy for many to go up against and he is a much bigger artist, which is why this would be a tough battle for Travis to come out on top of. That said, Travis needs to approach this with an even more strategic gameplay than Future does. Stating things off, Travis could play “Upper Echelon” as his starter–which could potentially win or even tie up against Future’s “Move That Dope”. This is Travis Scott’s first single, and packs everything needed to get peoples attention. Could also be. great opportunity to gain the new fans attention and put them onto something they potentially have never heard before. Stated earlier, many fans aren’t too familiar with most of the songs from Owl Pharaoh, so it’s best that Travis doesn’t linger here for long. Going from here, Travis will want to hang out around the Days Before Rodeo mixtape, as this mixtape packs a lot of sleeper hits that could be some guaranteed points on the board. “Mamacita” feat. Rich Homie Quan & Young Thug is a huge fan favorite and would bring great energy to the battle. Plus Quan and Thugger absolutely slid on their verses–creating a moment and a bit of a mini posse cut that is very hard to beat. More high energy tunes from this project would be “Basement Freestyle” and “Don’t Play”–both in which I think NEED to be played.
Just like Future, Travis is able to switch gears a bit as well and deliver some songs that have more of a mellow vibe and are more so about feeling rather than trying to rage. From the same album, Travis Scott has “Skyfall” which is accompanied by another Young Thug verse that would be pretty hard to combat against one of Future’s mellow songs. From his album Rodeo, Travis can play “Maria I’m Drunk” as well as “90210” which are both cult classics and are very hard to beat as well. While this is where Travis performs really well in, he can not play around at this point in the battle and he has to play some of his high-energy songs for the rest of the battle. Out of 20 records, at least 10 of them have to really come with that energy in order to go up against Future’s stacked catalog. This is where travis is going to have to play “Antidote” from Rodeo, “Pick Up The Phone” from Birds in the Trap, and many other songs from ASTROWORLD. Being his best performing album and his most recent, Travis can really win if he plays “Stargazing”, “No Bystanders”, and “Butterfly Effect”. As expected, Travis would have to end the nigh playing “Sicko Mode” which is his best performing song yet, and the one song that he has that can battle up against Future’s “March Madness”. While I’m not 100% sure that this would be a point for Travis during round 20, I do think that this is his best bet in order to make this round a tie.
My Final Score
Travis Scott: 8
Me being a huge Travis Scott fan, this is a battle that I do think Travis will struggle with . While the timeline thinks it would be a complete blowout, I would have to disagree here. I do have Future winning this battle, but Travis will put pretty good fight and won’t go out like that. It would benefit Travis if he could get Future to take first dibs on playing the first record so Travis can combat each record accordingly, otherwise this score could potentially be even lower if Travis is going first.
Future has the longer career and more projects under his belt, so that puts him at a huge advantage already in this one. Being someone who basically can’t miss no matter what he does, could cause him to go into this battle just playing HIS favorite songs, rather than the FANS favorite songs. Using this strategy is what could cause this battle to sway more in favor of Travis. Overall, it is a bit of an unfair battle but I do believe that Travis can hold his own weight and it wouldn’t be a blowout as the timeline is currently saying. A more ideal match up that would make more sense would be Future vs. Young Thug, but who knows how likely that scenario is. Another popular conversation on the timeline is Drake vs. Kanye West, but I definitely wouldn’t get my hopes up for that one, nor want to see my man Kanye go out like that.
Will we ever see this Verzuz sometime down the line? Possibly. In the meantime, check out my playlist full of hits from both Travis Scott and Future below!
***Missing songs from Travis Scott’s Days Before Rodeo as it is not currently on streaming services.