Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat will serve up simmering R&B for next Verzuz battle

Two men onstage in separate portraits
Keith Sweat, left, and Bobby Brown will participate in a Verzuz battle Thursday.
(Rick Kern / WireImage, left; Prince Williams / Filmmagic)

The next Verzuz battle is bringing the heat with R&B powerhouses Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat going head to head as part of Essence magazine’s virtual Festival of Culture.

The live event — set for Thursday at 5 p.m. Pacific — can be viewed on Triller, FiteTV, VerzuzTV and

Following Saturday’s Verzuz event with rappers Soulja Boy and Bow Wow, which gave fans some serious 2000s throwback vibes, today’s R&B showdown is helping fans relive their favorite ‘90s R&B hits.

A viral hit that attracts thousands of online viewers, Verzuz was created by producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz last year at the start of the pandemic and features two iconic artists in a sing-off competition.

Rappers Bow Wow (“Shortie Like Mine”) and Soulja Boy (“Kiss Me Thru the Phone”) square off on Verzuz today. Here’s how to watch their battle.

Previous Verzuz battles have featured veteran vocalists Gladys Knight and Patti LaBelle, R&B stars Brandy and Monica and rappers Trina and Eve.


As it has done previously with Earth, Wind & Fire vs. the Isley Brothers, today’s old-school face-off pairs two titans of modern R&B. Brown made his name with the influential group New Edition beginning in the late ‘70s before pursuing a solo career buoyed by hits such as “My Prerogative, ""Every Little Step” and “Don’t Be Cruel.”

Meanwhile, Sweat got started around the same time, at age 14, when he joined the Harlem band Jamilah. He launched a solo career in the early ‘80s and eventually scored hits such as “I Want Her,” “I’ll Give All My Love to You” and “Get Up on It.”

They’re vaccinated and ready to battle on Verzuz. But first, soul music greats Ronald Isley and Philip Bailey talk Sam Cooke, Biggie, Kendrick Lamar and streaming.

Leading up to today’s showdown, fans have already chosen which side they’re on. One fan wrote on Instagram, “Already know who I’m rockin’ with. #teambobby #ne4life.”

Not to be outdone, Sweat’s fans are also getting pretty revved up . On Tuesday, Sweat wrote on Twitter, “Surprise, Surprise!!! You don’t want to miss this! It’s going crazy this Thursday, July 1st! Tune in.”

A fan replied to his tweet, “Will defenifity be watching its going to be interesting!! Keith has it no doubt...”