Sean Garrett is a mega producer and songwriter of some of the biggest records from Billboard charting artists, such as Usher, Beyoncé and now Summer Walker.
In fact the Atlanta native’s name and songwriting skills are showcased all over Walker’s latest album, “Still Over It,” that has social media abuzz. But almost a year and half ago when the world went on lockdown due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Sean’s name was making headlines and trending on social for a very different, but equally entertaining reason: going track for track against fellow producer-songwriter The-Dream.
The duo played a key role in kicking off the viral battle royal known as Verzuz — which is the brainchild of super producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland —between a handful of music’s adored artists. While promoting Walker’s album, Sean, also known as The Pen for his undeniable songwriting abilities, gave Atlanta Black Star the full back story on how his “Verzuz” against The-Dream came to fruition, plus the details on how trading shots with one another wasn’t exactly just for show.
“Verzuz,” you and The-Dream, how did that all come about, and how do you feel about it now?
I feel amazing about it, you know what I’m saying. Like we helped launch the “Verzuz” into the stratosphere. Quiet as kept, you know our “Verzuz” went viral, and it exploded from that point on.
I truly love Swizz Beatz; he’s like a mentor to me, like, he’s one of the guys that wrapped their arms around me early in my career — and as a super producer he really embraced me, know what I’m saying, and he and I used to talk a lot, we did massive records together, we used to always talk about art. He’s a really fantastic guy. He’s very well-rounded, like, super-duper smart, amazing guy. So when he called me to do it I was like, “Hell yeah, whatever you need!”
That particular day I went to the dentist — and I mean again, this was “Verzuz” where you holding your phone, no budget. On this particular day I forgot I was suppose to do the Verzuz that day. I had went to the dentist, I had two root canals, I was on pain medicine, and you know me the doctor tell you, “Hey, take it easy a little bit today,” and me I hear you but I get back to my regular life.
I went to late lunch with one of my friends, I had a little drink of something — I don’t know if it was wine or something like that — but I ended up falling asleep in the car because he [Sean’s friend] was driving me back home and Swizz was blowing my phone up. So you know a combination of pain medicine, wine — I wasn’t supposed to be drinking no wine — and sometimes you get a little sleepy when you drink a little something, and then that pain medicine was just not a good look.
Swizzy calling, blowing the phone up like, “Yo, man I need you to do a little bit of a commercial for the show.” I was like, “What show?” and he’s like “Verzuz”! I’m like, “Oh, snap! D—n I forgot … give me a minute,” and I did the commercial. Then he calls me back and he’s like, “Yo! Dream is going crazy, yo, he talking grimy!” I’m like, “What!” You know I’m a little dismal at this point already, and if you know me, you know I do not play to radio when it comes to competing.
Me and Dream always been competing, and you know, in my mind, in my heart and soul, it’s like we not even in the same boat. So it was wild, it was wild, it was fun. And Dream said some stuff that really made me mad, so it was on and crackin’. For the world it was entertainment, had a good time, it was wild and funny and fun. Yeah, it was great, and the point of the matter was you know in my normal life I probably would’ve skipped it, but I couldn’t let Swizzy down or Timbo — and shout-out to both of them, love both of them. For that to have exploded, went so crazy during the pandemic, it was just great for the culture, for music.
Now everybody’s talking celebration, but when we were doing it it was versus, it was like knock your block off. It was so interesting, and you got a chance to see how everybody, what everybody was saying, and people was choosing sides, and, to be honest with you, this is my payback, like this album [Walker’s “Still Over It” which Sean executive produced] coming out going crazy, this is like, “Yeah, so who said what?” A little revenge.
Now would you be open to doing another “Verzuz”? If so, who would it be against? Or would you want to do a rematch with The-Dream?
Man, y’all know they need to do something! They either need to do a new “Verzuz,” they need to do about two, three people. You know, if they get like two or three people it might be fun [laughing]. They gon’ need more people. We had more, 20 more [records] in the clip. I was ready for it, I was ready. I was trying to have fun for the fans. I was playing records that they had kinda heard before, so then I start seeing people in the comments, they was like, “Sean, stop playing [that], play the bombs.” And I’m like, “OK, but he not playing nothing that’s motivating me!” But I was being funny, it was hilarious and I had fun with it, it was great.
And you guys are cool? That was just a one-off type of thing?
Me and Dream, we always been kind of nemeses. Saying, like, we go hard. Like, I didn’t like what he said, I don’t know if y’all remember, he made this comment, “What’s wrong with you? Are you made I stole your b—h?” and I didn’t like that. I did not like that and that got me really hot, so for a number of reasons I got a little deliberately disrespectful, because I didn’t like that. And so I was like, “Not only am I going to whup yo butt, I’m gone whup yo butt!”
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