After COVID-19 sidelined their Verzuz battle, Ashanti and Keyshia Cole are ready to go

Singers Ashanti, left, and Keyshia Cole
Ashanti, left, and Keyshia Cole are set for their rescheduled Verzuz battle happening Thursday.
(Getty Images)

Get ready for the first Verzuz battle of 2021: Ashanti versus Keyshia Cole, which was postponed to tonight from its originally scheduled mid-December date.

Who knew that when the battle series was conceived out of pandemic boredom in early 2020, it would be going on into the new year? And who expected that it would go from virtual to in-person and back again? But here we are.

“Y’all ready???,” Ashanti tweeted Thursday, promoting the night’s battle and almost tagging just-pardoned rapper Lil Wayne in her post (she was off by one letter).

Meanwhile, “I Should Have Cheated” singer Cole, 39, has been teasing to her upcoming eighth album — and promoting the Verzuz battle — for weeks now on social media.


Folks can watch today’s battle live starting at 5 p.m. Pacific on the Verzuz TV Instagram page and on Apple Music. And remember — a big part of the show happens in the IG comments as fans weigh in on who they think is winning the friendly competition.

The Ashanti-Keyshia Cole event was postponed from Dec. 12 after “Foolish” artist Ashanti tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

“I’m OK and not in any pain,” the 40-year-old wrote at the time on Instagram. “I’m actually down to do the verzuz from my house ... we’re trying to figure it all out!!!” But the battle was postponed, and the singer — and her mom and dad, who also caught the virus — were declared COVID-19 free around the beginning of the year.

About a week after that, the surge in COVID-19 cases sparked the move back to a virtual battle (at the same time TV, film and commercial productions in L.A. were hitting pause).

“As much as we enjoy having everyone together in the same room, to protect the artists and everyone who works with us in putting the shows together, we’ll be going back to separate locations for a bit. We’re excited for the next few events and look forward to getting back to the show in the coming weeks,” Verzuz said Jan. 8 on social media.

The battles, which feature hip-hop and R&B musicians, were the brainchild of Swizz Beatz and Timbaland.

“Legit had to tell someone I can’t go on a date tomorrow because I have to see Keyshia Cole on @verzuzonline,” wrote one Twitter user who was retweeted Wednesday by Beatz as he hyped the upcoming contest. “He wanted to watch it with me and I’m like nah you’ll just be a distraction.”


Apple Music, which is now affiliated with Verzuz, has been offering a Keyshia Cole-Ashanti “cheat sheat” playlist featuring hits by the two women. On the list: “Feel So Good” and “Breakup 2 Makeup” by Ashanti and “Love” and “I Changed My Mind” by Cole.