5 Marketing Lessons From the Timbaland and Swizz Beats battle


With the much anticipated battle approaching (it could be any day now!) between legendary producers Timbaland and Swizz Beats, we wanted to take a chance to give you a different perspective. Yeah, most people are talking about the beef and who is going to win, but there’s more to take from this. Step into Inertia Media’s Marketing Class and let me show you how to do this, son. 

1. What’s Beef? Beef is when you need to bring your best beats 

It always blows my mind that the Rap/Hip-Hop game is the only genre of music that requires that you decimate your opponents, or even have opponents. Yeah, everybody want to be the best in what they do but you don’t hear Taylor Swift taking shots at Katy Perry in her songs, or Justin Bieber singing “baby,baby,baby ohhhh f*ck Ed Sheeran”. 

Swizzy is taking it to new level, encouraging others, like Pharrell, The Alchemist, El-P, DJ Premier,Pete Rock, Havoc  and Just Blaze, to host their own battles (he even battled Just Blaze in February (Who do you think won?). DJ’s have traditionally battled but never at this level. What can you take from this? The controversy and division that comes from Beef creates some serious hype and interest. People want to take sides and see a challenge, they want to see Titans fall…but does that always happen? 




2. It’s Not Personal Johnny, This Is Business 

In the rap game, if somebody bodies you on a track, then your career can seriously take a hit. Kanye and 50 cent’s Beef around releasing the same day and 50 stating he’d quit if Kanye beat his record sales arguably knocked 50 off the top. Ja Rule, Fat Joe and Meek Mill are examples of getting knocked out the game because your barked up the wrong tree. 




Although this Beef feels the same, you can tell that Swizzy and Timbo are doing this for the hype and it’s not personal. This is strictly business. In the end somebody may take a hit but most likely they’ll be no clear winner and everybody wins from the sick show that they’ll put on. 




What does this mean? Remember why you’re doing this, don’t get too caught in the hype, no matter what you are doing. Don’t focus on the person in front of you and keep in mind this is about publicity, about generating interest. Shit playa, remember why you are in this game! 

3. Master your Craft before you get Remastered 




Nobody wants to see a buster go against a sucker. Nobody wants to see a buster go against the King either – if you’re not bringin the heat, go back to sleep. These two heavyweights have produced classics throughout their careers and they maintain the energy and style they’ve had since day one. But they’ve evolved and changed, developed their craft and now they can produce a better beat than most in just standing around their equipment for 5 minutes. 

The lesson here is if you’re going to get out there and challenge everyone, you better be equipped, you have to be on top of your game. This does take lots of time and practice, so focus on taking the embers of your passion and bringing that fiirreeee (emoticon instead?). When you have the juice, hit em with everything you have. The rap game is like the video games, if you meet enemies on your path, you’re going the right way. 


4. Content is King, and I beeeeen KING 



This one ties in with the last one. If I told you that DJ Poofy and Softerman were going to beat battle would you even care?  The most you would probably do is check out their content. IF you hear a few of their beats and that shit just mmm, mmm, hot sauce, then you’d care. 

Not only have these two built their names around their content, they use their content to push the hype around their highly anticipated battle. In (THIS CLIP) Swizzy uses a throwback sample to boost his performance before he does the drop. Timbo did something similar, throwing in Jay Z audio clip – a clip he’s probably been saving just for an occasion like this. 

What does this mean? You’ve mastered your craft, build your portfolio. If you do manage to drive traffic to your site, than you want them to stay and pay. Everybody is hungry for good content so keep your fridge packed with something good – and keep a spare Rib-Eye. You never know, a whale might show up for dinner 




5. Tease me Baby, but don’t Play With Me 

Nobody likes a tease. If you’re going to bring it, bring it. And if you’re going to bring it, don’t just bring it, make them beg for it. Timbo and Swizzy have been posting and going back and forth but it’s timely, short and sweet. 




30 second clips of cool ambience and imagery, with a sound that really bangs. There’s an intro, the meat and then they throw in a little personality, sending a direct message. And as it’s progressed, they build it up by taking to different heights, like Swizzy speaking out at the McGregor Conference. What started off as a simple call out on stage and video from timbo became a full battle. It’s marketing genius.