As I watched last night’s Verzuz Battle between Dancehall LEGENDS Bounty Killa and Beenie Man, I just felt inspired to write something. This may not be in the written style that grace popular International Media outlets, but sometimes you just have to write what you feel. – Wade Haye
Last night, nearly 500,000 people witnessed the clash of two giants in Jamaica’s music culture on Instagram. With close to 4 million views shared across other Social Media platforms, the beauty of it is that it was hosted in Jamaica, held in a Jamaican Studio, and through Jamaican Internet, and it was almost perfect! If you grew up during the beginning or peak of their careers, you know that Bounty and Beenie clashing a nuh normal ting. With Beenie Man celebrating over 40 years as a performer with Bounty Killa having over 30, a 20 song battle wouldn’t do this event justice. They further proved that when they kicked off a couple medleys throughout the over 2 hour long event. For those who are unaware (it’s ok), Hip Hop Producer/Mogul Swizz Beatz and Hip Hop Producer Timbaland kicked off their “Verzuz” battle series a few weeks ago. With the Covid 19 pandemic causing many to stay inside and be entertained by online offerings, Verzuz was made to highlight classic Artists, Producers, and Songwriters along with their timeless catalogues. So far, they’ve presented battles between Swizz Beatz and Timbaland, The-Dream and Sean Garrett, Neyo and Johnta Austin, Erykah Badu and Jill Scott, Lil Jon and T-Pain and others to the delight of many worldwide. Last night’s matchup however, was one that educated many, showcased classic Riddims and tracks, put Jamaica on the map even more, shook viewers with the BLACK GREEN AND GOLD, and will be an unforgettable experience for others.
Verzuz: Jamaica Edition started off in an authentic style with DJs Kurt Riley and Richie D “warming” up the patrons with various Dancehall/Reggae mixes. Then the floor was open for two former foes/brothers for life to go toe to toe with the hits. In true and proper Jamaican manner, we started with the National Anthem. The stories behind most tracks before letting them loose was a joy to listen to. For those who lived through the 90s, you know Dancehall/Hip Hop collabs were very welcomed, and International collabs were (still is) a big thing for the culture. Beenie and Bounty kicked off a few of them, and the chat section was thoroughly entertained and educated. Then came the Police who caused the event to pause for a few minutes. While I believe it was a part of the act to bring some authenticity to the event (Police will show up to your event, only for it to end shortly after due to noise complaints or other reasons), Beenie’s humorous and somewhat stern approach to the Officers during the event was heavily cheered on.
While the scorecard was lost for some time, Beenie and Bounty went into more “chune fi chune“, and handling any Riddim that was thrown to them. Whether Beenie performed “Gyal tunes” or Bounty went into “Warlord mode“, Jamaica’s music culture on a whole was the REAL winner last night. The festivities weren’t over as an Afterparty was held shortly after with host Rory of “THE IMMORTAL” Stone Love Sound spinning some of our favourite hits. As Rapper Busta Rhymes said during the battle, “Dancehall is your father!“, and many musical genres have to pay homage. Moving forward, I look forward to more platforms locally and internationally opening up to create spaces for our talent, many more folks are EDUCATED on our culture (we are more than “Oxtails” “Plan-TAINS” “Irie Mon” “Weed smoking” “Jerk Chicken” etc., so step that up), our outstanding dues are paid in full with interest, more meaningful collaborations, more money and accolades, and ANYTHING ELSE that requires JAMAICAN culture and music to be included. I challenge our local acts to step their game up, don’t half ass your work and expect to get the same level of respect as Bounty and Beenie. Work overtime on your skillset, and let’s conquer the globe. I also challenge the members of the music industry to fix up the system, we’re losing so much and we don’t want to wait until it’s too late. Music is one of our GREATEST Imports, we can’t keep playing catch up. We need to stop giving mediocrity the platforms when super talented folks are out here not getting the chance. This Website alone highlights plenty of the super talented (we ask for your support too, thanks 🙂). We are an elite set, and for too long we’ve not embraced that. Big up Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Verzuz team, Sharon Burke, RHK Entertainment, Digicel, DJ Kurt Riley, DJ Richie D, Desha Ravers, Ciroc, Rihanna, Busta Rhymes, Hon. BroGad a.k.a. The Most. Hon. Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Dancehall lovers, Reggae lovers, Music lovers, fans of Jamaica, Jamaicans, God, Haile Selassie I, the Caribbean, and the rest of the world! Let’s continue growing, and creating more of an impact!
This one is for the youth that grew up seeing their favourite artists performing in the street dances to taking over TV, Media, and various stages over time. This one is for the upcoming artist that thinks their music won’t connect with the world, let this Verzuz battle inspire you. This one is for the fan of our music culture wherever you are, continue showing us that love, we appreciate it so much. This one is for those who are ignorant to impact that Dancehall and Reggae music have, wake up. There is much more to be said, but I am one voice. I welcome you to be a part of our platform in discovering something new.
Attached below is TIDAL’s recap of the battle. Spotify, please grant Jamaica full access to your ecosystem, we’re tired of jumping through loops. If TIDAL and Apple Music can do it, so can you and all the other platforms out there. You can check out our many stories, Playlists, and videos that showcase some awesome talent. We also ask you to share them with a friend. We have sharing options from Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp, to even Email. Show us some love/follow us on Twitter and Instagram at @13thStreetPromo.
WHO IS YOUR WINNER?
Check out these latest releases!