Alicia Keys has revealed that the “Verzuz” battle between Jill Scott and Erykah Badu inspired her to recruit Scott for her upcoming album Alicia.
In an interview with Apple Music‘s Zane Lowe, Keys revealed that her “personal favorite” battle was between neo-soul titans Scott and Badu.
“I’m bugging like crazy. I’m driving home from wherever, and I’m listening to the thing through the car. I mean, I’m fan-girling out all the way. I’m singing every word,” Keys recalled of the first all-female battle back in May.
Keys revealed she got a phone call from Scott after the “Verzuz” battle that led to the two singers agreeing to work together.
“And I’m like, ‘Why haven’t we worked together? Why haven’t we? This is crazy!’ And so she’s like, ‘I know, and I hope to come, and let’s connect.’ And I said, ‘Yes, let’s connect,” she explained.
Keys said she was later “pretending to be Jill Scott” on a song for her upcoming album that she would subsequently send to her fellow R&B songstress.
“She’s like, ‘Okay. You want me to do it?’ She did it. Went out of her way, sorted it out, sent it back, called me like, ‘You know, what you did was so cool. I was thinking, maybe I’ll just do a few backgrounds.’ I said, ‘No, no, no, no, no, no. No. What I did was pretended to be you. I need you to be you.’ And she was like, ‘Okay.’ Came back, killed it, as per normal,” Keys said.
According to Keys, the song will be titled, “Jill Scott,” featuring Scott. Alicia, Keys’ seventh studio album, will drop on Friday, September 18. The album has been delayed several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Verzuz” was launched Timbaland and Key’s husband Swizz Beatz during the lockdown period. The program started out as a 20-song showdown between producers and now sees rappers and performers battling it out, taking turns playing a song from a list of 20 tracks from across their catalog.
Past matchups have included Brandy vs. Monica, Rick Ross vs. 2 Chainz, and Snoop Dogg vs. DMX, among others. Keys previously went head-to-head in a battle of the pianos against John Legend for Juneteenth.