Jamaica’s dancehall culture was the real winner of Saturday night’s Beenie Man “Verzuz” Bounty Killer clash on Instagram Live.
Verzuz in Jamaica equals no social distancing, but not even Jamaica Prime Minister Hon. Andrew Holness could hold back endorsing such an event showcasing two of Jamaica’s biggest names in dancehall culture, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer. The clash took on a different approach from the usual Verzuz battles. This was an authentic dancehall clash, a was musical warfare done the right way. The battle was of such epic proportions that it became the number one trending topic globally on Twitter.
The gates opened at precisely 7 PM Jamaica time, 8 PM Eastern. Like all Jamaican themed soundclashes, there was some early juggling from the two disc jockeys/selectors for the night, Kurt Riley and Richie D. Beenie Man showed up early sporting Gucci and looking dapper as he usually does, Bounty arrived a tad bit late but also stepped out in black and gold.
After about 35 minutes of smooth, sweet reggae music and correcting technical difficulties, the battle was on between two of the titans of reggae and dancehall. The early parts of the clash saw the two iconic deejays going for some of their more international collaborations, but it should be noted that it was pretty hard to keep score throughout a clash of this magnitude with two rivals turned friends.
Beenie Man provided some epic intros during the early aspects of the clash, and for some strange reason, Beenie’s microphone was a bit inaudible at some sections. Nonetheless, the early selections such as Bounty Killer’s collaborations with The Fugees – “Its A Party”, “Guilty” with Swizz Beatz, “Summer Breezin'” with Diana King and more songs off his 20-track double album, My Xperience did some damage. However, it was still hard to tell who were taking the early rounds in the clash, as Beenie also drew for some impressive international collaborations. Beenie played his track with Mya along with Guerilla Black’s “Compton” which he featured on as well as “Love Me Now” which featured Wyclef Jean.
Other early selections included “Romie” from Beenie Man meanwhile Bounty drew for his classical cut with Barrington Levy, “Living Dangerously.” The comments were also pretty entertaining with celebrities from all walks of life tune into the epic battle. Island princess Rihanna was a favorite in the comments with Erykah Badu and other entertainers such as Spice giving her shootouts. RiRi replied with a hearty, “Love you at @spiceofficial.”
Other entertainers included Popcaan, footballer Daniel Sturridge, Diddy, Papoose, Dj Snake, Boi1da, Teddy Riley, comedian Chico Bean, Ludacris, D Nice, popular Jamaican born hip hop commentator Dj Akademiks and so many more. However, somewhere around the 8th-10th round, something bizarre happened as Jamaican law Enforcement stepped in to stop the fun, which took place in a studio in the capital city of Jamaica. After some deliberation from Beenie and other persons on the ground and presumably a higher power, the clash went on.
It seems the warning from the cops was just what was needed as things turned all the way up from here on out. Beenie Man then requested one of the best riddims of the 90s, the Showtime, and both artistes began wheeling off some of their best hits recorded on the beat and off the beat. This was truly one of the moving points of the clash.
After the mega mashup ended, Beenie Man cheeky uttered, “A my song that.” The clash continued, and Bounty dropped poor people “Fed Up.” Beenie Man then switched the flow and dropped a dancing track in the form of “World Dance.” The deejay’s eldest daughter, Desha, from the Ravers Clavers dance group, stepped out to bust a few moves with her dad and Bounty Killer.
Bounty Killer dropped his 1994 release “Gal,” to which Beenie then followed up with “Modelling A Gwaan,” much like Bounty had done throughout the clash, he counteracted Beenie’s with a track of his with similar title “Model.” Beenie gave some history for his next selection and mentioned said he did it to change dancehall at the time since everyone was doing simple lyrics. He played “Oysters And Conch.”
Bounty Killer followed up with another track from My Xperience “Benz and Bimma.” For Beenie Man’s next selection, he went a bit closer to the 2000s and played his hit track “Dude” from the Fiesta Riddim. Bounty stayed in the era and followed with a Wayne Marshall collaboration, titled “The Greatest” on the Hydro Riddim.
Beenie Man kept the ladies entertained with “Hmm Hmm” Next up was Bounty Killer and Baby Cham’s hit song from the Bug Riddim “Another Level.” Beenie then Tell’s Dj Kurt Riley to then play “Nuff Gal” for his selection. However, in the end, he confessed, “I’m a grown man, I’m a one burner” and shouted his girlfriend in the audience us online didn’t know existed.
The Warlord then fulled a fast one and proceeded to drop two tracks in one even though Beenie complained a bit. The second selection was a specially cut dub from his track “If A War.” Beenie Man then played maybe his least appreciated cut for the night but still a huge selection, and Buju Banton assisted Live performance dedicating the love for marijuana.
This started the shortlived weed segment, which saw Bounty playing “Smoke The Herb.” There can be no party without liquor, and Beenie chases with the 2010 hit with Future Fambo “Rum and Redbull.” Diddy immediately chimed in on the comments and pledged some virtual “Circoc for Everybody.”
Bounty KIller then drew his most controversial song for the night “Badman,” which prompted Swizz Beatz to apologize to anyone who was offended in his post clash chat. Beenie Man followed with “King of the Dancehall” for the ladies afterward.
At this time, it was just a huge party, and all scorecards were out the window. After commending his opponent, Bounty drew for another custom dubplate built especially for the Verzuz challenge. The intro mimicked a funeral processional type feel while “People Dead” echoed. It quickly transformed into an EDM styled beat, and Beenie being the entertainer that he is, started deejaying over the 4 to the floor track. They traded a few other favorites over the beat before calling in quits.
It was a party that no one wanted to end. The UK based artiste Stefflon Don wrote, “I think this is the happiest I have been since the lockdown.” After a few more acapella renditions from the two men, the selectors threw on Bob Marley’s “One Love,” which saw Beenie bringing out his girlfriend and baby girl to dance and close things off. However, the selectors had to drop one more for the culture, and Burning Spear’s “Recall Some Great Man” closed out the night.
During Swizz’s post interview, he admitted to crying before elaborating that “this will be a hard act to follow.”
Jamaican culture win big and Beenie Man and Bounty Killer raised the bar on Verzuz battles.