In a candid interview on the latest episode of Revolt TV’s original series “Assets Over Liabilities,” New York producer Swizz Beatz gave insight into his investments and his controversial thoughts on Black business.
“Assets Over Liabilities” premiered for its third season with Swizz Beatz on Aug. 2.
Swizz Beatz, who revealed he completed Harvard Business School’s Owner/President Management executive program, said he wants people to stop calling Black business owners who think long-term sellouts. Swizz Beatz, after all, sold “Verzuz,” the webcast series he created with Timbaland, to short-from video platform Triller in January 2021 for $50 million in cash and stocks. Swizz told the podcast he believes Black companies should sell their brand if that’s the direction they desire.
“Me going back to school showed me how to build up and not sell out, but sell in,” Swizz said. “We can’t sit back and watch all the non-colored entrepreneurs cash out. That’s called good business, but when we cash out, it’s all called selling out. I don’t understand that part.”
Despite Swizz’s talk of Black brands cashing out, his effort with “Verzuz” wasn’t very smooth.
On “Verzuz,” a series of live music webcasts, two musicians, mostly from the R&B and hip-hop genres, are invited to battle their discographies in a three-hour session consisting of two 10-song rounds.
The inaugural “Verzuz” was on March 24, 2020, featuring Timbaland and Swizz Beatz themselves. The online battle was a massive hit, attracting millions of viewers.
Since then, “Verzuz” has organized numerous battles, such as Brandy vs. Monica, Ashanti vs. Keyshia Cole, and Gucci Mane vs. Jeezy, pitting the biggest names in music against each other to determine who has the “Best Catalog.” These battles, inspired by the hip-hop DJ battles of yesteryear, are broadcast live on social media platforms.
On March 9, 2021, Triller acquired “Verzuz” in a deal reportedly worth eight figures. As a result, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz became shareholders in the company.
Although the sale generated some controversy, Verzuz has remained a popular series. In August 2022, Timbaland and Swizz Beatz sued Triller for breach of contract, claiming that the company had not paid them $28 million for the acquisition. However, the lawsuit was eventually resolved, and Triller reportedly paid the duo the amount owed.
In March 2023 “Verzuz” announced a partnership with YouTube, making it the exclusive streaming platform for the series’ battles.
In May, the two said they were still the owners of “Verzuz.” Taking to Instagram Live on, the pair insisted that the platform was still co-owned in its entirety by the two super-producers.
“VERZUZ is still 100 percent Black-owned,” Swizz said. “50 percent on the top of your screen, and 50 percent on the bottom of your screen. In case you ain’t know. Word to Allah. OK?”
He continued: “It was built for the people, and it will stay with the people. And we love everybody.”
The future of “Verzuz” still seems to be up in the air.
Swizz, a Man of Assets
Swizz Beatz, who has an estimated net worth of $150 million, also addressed his asset portfolio with the podcast hosts, Rashad Bilal and Troy Millings, who also host the “Earn Your Leisure” podcast.
Through his collection of Afro-centric artwork, which Bronx producer refers to as “The Dean Collection,” Swizz Beatz and his wife Alicia Keys spend thousands of dollars on artwork and store them in his apartment.
“I can’t say I ever looked at art as an investment,” admitted Swizz. “If it connected to me and if it spoke to me, that’s a piece that I got.”
Some of the artwork in his collection is not in high demand, but as Swizz Beatz argues, it is about creating a standard, and in a agreement between the artists and producer, if the prices rise, the artists will be able to see part of the money that their paintings are worth.
“This is not the stock exchange,” he said. “The Dean Choice is: If I’m the collector, when I bring Sotheby’s the work, [they] say, ‘OK, you got this piece 10 years ago. You’re making 700 percent on your money or whatever the crazy a** number is. The artist is still living, how much do you want to give to the artist?’ And you make it your choice.”