Online Spectacle From Dancehall Icons Beenie Man And Bounty Killer

Author: Neil-Monticelli Harley-Rüdd

The unique brand of Jamaica was all over Instagram, the online social media platform, on Saturday (23 May) when legendary Jamaican dancehall artists Beenie Man and Bounty Killer took on the challenge of a Verzuz dancehall live battle.

And Kingston-born Reggae icon Shaggy (aka Orville Richard Burrell) claimed that it was the best ever Verzuz.

Music producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz’s creation of introducing Verzuz, the weekly Instagram friendly clash, concentrated on Jamaica stars with just under half-a-million tuning in to see veterans Beenie Man (aka Anthony Davis) and Bounty Killer (Rodney Price).

  

The battle started with the Jamaican National Anthem and soon the online comments were coming thick and fast from leading celebrities during the showdown, including Jamaica’s former sprinter Usain Bolt, iconic hip hop star Snoop Dogg, and Barbadian singer/songwriter Rihanna.

Twitter was awash with searches for the words ‘Caribbean’, ‘Jamaica’ and ‘Jamaicans’ on Saturday night for the inaugural Verzuz battle to host both artists in the same room. Although local police showed up as Jamaica has a 8pm curfew due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to the artists, the show still went on.

Beenie Man claimed the 2001 Best Reggae Album Grammy for ‘Art & Life’ with Bounty Killer’s ‘Ghetto Dictionary: The Mystery’ nominated the following year for the Best Reggae Album Grammy.

The initiative, which ended with Bob Marley’s classic tune ‘One Love’, rekindled Brand Jamaica across the international entertainment landscape by offering top class entertainment to members of the Jamaican diaspora and beyond.

Jamaican popstar Shaggy, highlighting his point in an online post following the Bounty Killer and Beenie Man spectacle, called on Jamaican Culture Minister Olivia Grange and others to hold talks to pave the way for artists to spread their wings.

He wrote: “As we celebrate the talents of these two legends @kingbeenieman and @grunggaadzilla and the dancehall culture which they represent, to the figure of over 500k streams last night on the Verzuz platform, Instagram… we saw the likes of countless stars and corporate entities, all on-board to witness what was considered the best Verzuz yet!!!”

The Jamaican Football Federation (JFF) were also on the ball and issued a press release that read: “The JFF congratulates all entities and persons involved in the planning and execution of the Verzuz online dancehall friendly clash between outstanding artists Beenie Man and Bounty Killer on Saturday.

  

“The initiative resonates well with the JFF. The name Reggae Boyz and Reggae Girlz reveal the JFF ‘s longstanding understanding as to how football along with entertainment can go a far way in blazing a trail for Jamaica internationally.

“The JFF looks forward to strengthening the natural synergy between entertainment and football in a renewed and powerful effort to strengthen Brand Jamaica post the global pandemic. We know that together we will achieve.”

To tune in, check out @VerzuzTV on Instagram at www.instagram.com/verzuztv.

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