Over 600,000 people watched on Instagram live, thousands more viewed it at the same time on YouTube and Facebook and even more enjoyed the entertainment by watching the recorded videos days after.
It was the biggest musical clash so far for 2020 as dancehall mega stars Beenie Man and Bounty Killer gave a world class dancehall show.
The Jamaican duo was part of Verzuz TV, an ongoing series by producers Swizz Beatz and Timbaland as a way to entertain fans during the COVID-19 quarantine period. Both men dressed as though they were hitting the stage for a live concert at a venue. They both wore jackets, although Beenie ditched his before the clash started. They were dressed similarly in black for the most part, with printed black and gold garments complementing the black.
But what was billed as a rivalry or war between the two deejays turned out to be a huge victory for Jamaica and dancehall music. There were “battles” in the previous weeks, but none managed to draw the same level of excitement and viewership. Past battles have featured rappers Nelly and Ludacris, singers Erykah Badu and Jill Scott as well as singer-producers Teddy Riley and Babyface. They were all US-based artistes.
But what took place last weekend was iconic given the musical feud which actually existed between the two artistes around 1995 and lasted for a few years. The divide was real then, and fans recreated it before the show Saturday night with some hailing for Team Bounty and others for Team Beenie. There was much hype and build up days before the event.
The Beenie and Bounty live feed trended No.1 on Twitter the entire night of the show and for days after.
The action drew the attention of international superstars such as our very own Rihanna who was logged on as well as DJ Puffy. Other big names included: Idris Elba, Ludacris, Diddy, Snoop Dog, Busta Rhymes, DJ Khaled, Gabrielle Union, Ashanti and Erykah Badu.
Hailing from “home” in Jamaica were Prime Minister Andrew Holness, Buju, Beres, Shaggy, Popcaan, Konshens, Spice, Chronixx, Demarco, Olympian Usain Bolt and cricketer Chris Gayle. Even the BET network was tuned in. People from around the world were watching the same show at the same time, something which would not be possible were the two performing at a physical concert.
The more than an hour-long session featured most of the major hits from both artistes but was not enough time for all the favourites to be played given their vast repertoire of music.
Travelling through their extensive catalogue, Beenie played some of his iconic tracks like Fresh From Yard featuring Lil Kim, Girls Dem Sugar featuring Mya, Dude, World Dance, Dancehall Queen and Love Me Now featuring Wyclef Jean. While Bounty showed off his critically acclaimed songs like Guilty, featuring Swizz Beatz, Fed Up, Benz & Bimma, Deadly Zone, featuring Mobb Deep, and Hip-Hopera featuring The Fugees.
Endless fire, love, dancing and Jamaica flag icons were sent by adoring fans throughout the night.
There was some free-styling too, much to the delight of viewers. Thanks to their creativity, versatility and wit, the artistes took the clash to another level as viewers enjoyed the banter and interaction between them. They fittingly ended the show with a slew of “thank you’s” and the sweet sounds of One Love from King of Reggae and father of all music in Jamaica, the late Bob Marley. This was followed by a song by living legend Burning Spear called Recall Some Great Man.
Bounty ended by telling viewers: “It was such a pleasure and we wish time could permit us to do more. Big up the whole of Jamaica and big up fans worldwide. This is how we represent the culture”.
Beenie then said: “This isn’t history this is. Yuh caan tek it from we cause it nah gone nuh way. Them never know me and Bounty Killer would stand up hey so as brothers…”
No wonder then that five days later people are still sharing videos of the clash and talking about the epic event. Feedback from the show was extremely positive.
Rihanna: “Thank you Beenie and Bounty.”
Shaggy: “This was a boost to our spirits, our tourism, our economy, our music, and, most importantly, Brand Jamaica.”
Beres: “Oh, what a night it was for the culture! Proud of my two bredrins! Not only did you represent yourselves but you put on for Jamaica in such an authentic and professional manner.” (IMC)