Who won the Keith Sweat vs Bobby Brown Verzuz? Probably Ciroc.

So totally out of the blue, Essence decided to have THE BIGGEST VERZUZ BATTLE EVER

Well, in my opinion anyway.

If you’re new to the Verzuz concept, it’s a kinda-sorta battle of hits between high-profile artists. Originally originated as a way to entertain fans over streaming services during the pandemic, it’s quickly become a big-budget monetized giant, with product placement and commercials all over the place.

I’m just waiting until we start getting the N’SYNC vs Backstreet Boys battles. Then the shark truly will have been jumped.

But tonight Verzuz celebrated two all-time R&B legends – Bobby Brown, arguably THE biggest pop star on the planet during his mighty (but brief) run in the early 90s and founding member of the renowned group New Edition, and of course, my guy, the Godfather of R&B himself – composer of three decades of hits for himself and others, the brother who made begging an art form, King Keef Sweat.

To commemorate the historic occasion, I decided to follow along with each round, sharing my personal scores.

NOW OBVIOUSLY, longtime readers know my affinity for Keith Sweat and my general meh-ness about some of Bobby Brown’s biggest hits. That said, I vow to be as unbiased as possible from here on out.

… At least, as “unbiased” as y’all pretend to be on a daily basis.

Let’s go.

ROUND 1: “Something Just Ain’t Right” vs “Don’t Be Cruel”

First song out of the gate and Bobby’s already huffing and puffing. It’s gonna be a LONG night. Strong start for both guys but I’ll give the first win to Bobby.

Winner: Bobby Brown

ROUND 2: “Make You Sweat” vs “Mr. Telephone Man”

I told playas days ago that there was no way Bobby’s solo catalog could hang with Keith’s. The OG of R&B’s bag is deeper than Oprah’s pockets. But I didn’t expect Bobby to run to the NE catalog on the second round! “Am I battling Bobby Brown or New Edition?” TALK YOUR TALK KEEF! Bobby pulled a fast one.

Winner: Bobby Brown

ROUND 3. “How Deep is Your Love” vs “Jealous Girl”

That “How Deep is Your Love” love beat drops like Florida Evans smashing a punch bowl at a funeral repast. You GOTTA stand up and pay attention. Keith came back hard with this one, even with Bobby running back to the NE well again.

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 4: “I’ll Give All My Love to You” vs “Girlfriend”

“Girlfriend” is a dope track, one I kinda forgot about until I ranked Bobby’s LPs recently. But “I’ll Give All My Love to You” is one of King Keef’s signatures; Bobby’s boxing out of his weight class on this one.

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 5: “How Do You Like It Part 2” vs “Girl Next Door”

I was absolutely AGHAST when Keith played this song and half of Twitter was like wUt Iz DiS? I thought y’all listened to R&B, it’s a top 10 hit! Nice to see Bobby show some love to the King of Stage album – this one is definitely an overlooked gem. Maybe it’s the nostalgia of the beat, which reminds me of spring in the 80s, but I’m giving this one to Bobby. Keith’s Left Eye tribute was cool though.

Winner: Bobby Brown

ROUND 6: “Right and a Wrong Way” vs “Hit Me Off”

Another round, another classic Keef song – at least I THINK it was, Bobby decided to caterwaul all over the track like a seal so was distracted. Bobby fired back with the most memorable track from NE’s reunion album but it doesn’t measure up to the legacy of “Right and a Wrong Way.”

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 7: “There You Go (Tellin Me No)” vs “You Don’t Have to Worry”

See now, this is where Bobby messed up. If he played the remix with Missy and Puff this would have been an EASY win, but he went with the album version, which is fine but not better than “There You Go (Tellin Me No).” I mean, there’s a reason why Keef sang this during the New Jack City wedding scene.

Actually, WHY did he sing that song during a wedding? It’s basically about a woman turning him down. Now if he sung it to Byron during the A Different World wedding scene, that would make more sense.

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 8: “Come and Get With Me” vs “Thug Lovin”

Keith’s last mainstream hit with Snoop Dogg that no one remembers but me vs Bobby Brown jumping out of a helicopter doing Power Ranger kicks like a 12-year-old fueled on Pixy Stix. Yeah, the winner is obvious.

Winner: Bobby Brown

ROUND 9: “Get Up On It” vs “One More Night”

Maybe my favorite Keith song! Too bad THE DJ CUT IT BEFORE IT GOT TO KEEF’S PART. Look, I like DJ Cassidy but he made questionable choices all night – no wonder Keith threatened to jack him for his jewelry. Never trust a 60-year-old from Harlem. I don’t think “One More Night” was a single – it’s another solid album cut but falls way short to one of Keith’s best.

Also, let’s shout out the true MVPs of this Verzuz – Kut Klose. Those ladies killed every track they touched.

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 10: “Merry Go Round” vs …

Sooooo before Bobby gets to select his song, Cassidy asks if they want an intermission soon and Bobby is like

I don’t know if his water pills kicked in or what but we take 5 minute intermission, which in CP times means ’15-ish minutes.’

Winner: Bobby’s bladder, I guess

The guys return to stage with OUTFIT CHANGES, with Bobby looking like Cedric the Entertainer on his way to watch his kids play softball while King Keef is back in ALL WHITE with a shiny jackey, like a Batman villain on Easter Sunday.

And let me tell you, the liquor must have been flowing backstage but lord help, it gets wild from here.

ROUND 11: “I Want Her” vs “Get Away”

No contest here. “I Want Her” is one of Keith’s biggest hits, but also one of my least favorite cuts of his. I actually like “Get Away” more but the Unbiased Music Reviewer in me can’t in good conscience vote against such a iconic track.

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 12: “Let’s Chill” vs “That’s the Way Love Is”

So, our humble hero Keith said he was SICK AND TIRED of Bobby “cheating” by leaning on all those New Edition songs earlier so now he’s UNLEASHED HIS PEN and introducing songs he wrote. The stans cried foul but that’s what stans do, sounding like honking geese or something. Again, no contest, he wrote a absolute classic for Guy.

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 13: “Freak Me” vs “Beautiful”

This time Bobby fired back with a song he wrote for Damian Marley and the man said it himself – it ain’t cheating if it’s your song. So that settles that. Problem is, KEITH SWEAT WROTE “FREAK ME”


The man’s pen is bulletproof! He gave Silk a banger!

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 14: “Keep it Comin” vs “Good Enough”

I really like this matchup, two feel-good songs that don’t get enough attention. This could go either way but I’ll give the slight edge to “Keep it Comin’,” it just has more energy.

Winner Keith Sweat

ROUND 15: “My Body” vs “Something in Common”

Aight, now this is clearly the part of the cookout when the liquor starts hitting the uncles. Keith for some reason is singing to a glass of wine, rambling about Puff kicking him out of his office when he worked as an intern. I’d kick Keef out too if he came in my spot this drunk.

Then Keith starts wandering around the stage waving his arms like those blow-up things outside of car washes. Send help.

Oh yeah, the songs.

Obviously, I personally prefer “My Body,” (RIP Gerald Levert, I still mourn that man) but “Something in Common” is SUCH an underrated duet. It gets the very slight edge.

Winner: Bobby Brown

Round 16: “Twisted” vs “Humpin Around”

Something about “Humpin Around” always irritated me as a kid. Maybe cuz the whole song sounds like a lie. If you gotta talk THAT much about how you’re not humping around, I’m pretty positive you ARE humpin around. These are two VERY different tracks and it’s hard to judge which is better when they both enjoy the same elite status. I’ll go with Keef because at least he sounds sincere on it. And “Twisted” describes his mental state at his point after all that Ciroc.

Winner: Keith Sweat

ROUND 17: “Just Got Paid” vs “Rock Wit’cha”

I swear Keith Sweat writes his hits with a quill made from the feathers of a Legendary Pokemon. He laced Johnny Kemp with a stimulus check anthem. The government’s got y’all drowning in crab legs and Crown Royal – thank Johnny and Keef for your cookout soundtrack. That said, though, it ain’t touching “Rock Wit’cha,” easily one of Bobby’s best tracks. He’s finally getting back into this game, y’all.

Winner: Bobby Brown

ROUND 18: “Make It Last Forever” vs “Roni”

I’m sending Keith and Bobby my furniture bill after this round – two of my favorite songs EVER had me dancing on top of my coffee table out of rhythm like a stripper from GTA San Andreas.

I know it’s a cop-out but I can’t pick a winner for this one, too close to call!

Also LOL at Keith prancing around to Drake’s “I’m the light-skinned Keith Sweat” line while Bobby politely reminds him that he’s not actually Drake.

When Bobby Brown has become the voice of reason all hope is lost.

Winner: DRAW

ROUND 19. “Curious” vs “On Our Own”

I know the Twitter children were weirded out by Keith playing the Snoop and Left Eye tracks earlier but those were relatively decent hits. But “Curious!?” I love that song but that’s an ODDLY deep cut. Maybe he just wanted to prove to the kiddos that he used the sample before Lil Duval did. At this point Keef’s blood alcohol content was 98% witch hazel so he probably didn’t even know what planet he’s on. Anyway, he got knocked out of the box by “Own Our Own,” Bobby’s best song EVER.

And then Keef asks Bobby about four times, “Is this the ghost song? This the song about them lil ghosts?” AIGHT BRUH.

Winner: Bobby Brown

Round 20: “Don’t Stop the Love” vs “Every Little Step”

“GIIIIIIIIIIIRL!” When that first line hits it’s over, I TELL YOU IT’S OVER. Don’t you miss R&B songs with personality and energy? Anyway, “Every Little Step” is pretty stiff competition, as Bobby finally starts bringing the heavy ammo late in the game. This one is a a pick ’em – I almost did another draw but I’ll give the sliiiightest of edges to Keith due to the incredible production. But it’s very, very close.

Winner: Keith Sweat

Round 21: “Nobody” vs …

For reasons I still don’t understand, Tank and The Dream? … err … Ne-Yo?… oh nah Pleasure P of all people show up to sing the song while Keef slinks off to find more Ciroc or to set up his hit on Cassidy. Then our boy Marcus Cooper, acting like he hasn’t been out in public since the Toilet Paper Crisis of 2020, makes some rambling speech about how we all need to pay homage to the legends on stage.

Trust me playa, if you’re watching that stream you KNOW those guys are legends. I’m pretty sure the 17 year olds who think Future is the King of R&B are playing Minecraft or something.

Anyway, we finally get:

“Nobody” vs “My Prerogative”

“My Prerogative” is another of those New Jack Swing hits that never sat right with me. It’s … OK, I guess, well written for sure, but never hits the next level like “Roni” or “Rock Wit’cha.” I know it’ll annoy Team Bobby but I gotta do it:

Winner: Keith Sweat

The Bottom Line: This was basically a prelude to every Black cookout this weekend – uncles getting drunk and annoying each other, guests popping up out of the blue for no good reason, an attempted mugging and lots and lots of incredible music. This lived up to every bit of the hype and was one of the more fun Verzuz entries in the series.

Overall Winner: All R&B fans

(Plus I’m too lazy to add up the totals)



  1. A draw sound Sweating to Keith ,but that’s good and compitance,we enjoyed both artists their “heydays”, they’re still going good.

  2. I never seen Keith perform live but if he’s like the way he was on Thursday, I don’t want to actually see him live again…like actually pay to watch him. Now I can listen to him on the radio w/o issues but I refuse to listen to a grown man whine and now an alcoholic perform. Not saying that Keith is an alcoholic but I wouldn’t be surprised if he is…Now Bobby, who I always been a fan of, I hopefully would like to see him in person at a concert or a ne reunion

  3. Keith Keith Keith!!!!!

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