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.
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