Grammy award-winning Jamaican artistes Beenie Man and Bounty Killer headline a historic first in-person and, arguably, the most memorable (and glitch-free) staging of the wildly popular Swizz Beatz–Timbaland Verzuz series.
More than 460,000 fans logged into Instagram (IG) to witness the momentous event and were not disappointed, in the least. The two giants of Jamaica’s dancehall genre were in fine, fierce vintage form, from start to finish.
The IG viewers were treated to a plethora of beloved classics from both artistes’ discography. Fans experienced a heighten level of excitement when favourites from Beenie Man‘s Dude, Girls Dem Sugar, Romie, Slam, and Nuff Gyal to Bounty Killer‘s Summer Breezing, Dangerously, Deadly Zone, Guilty and It’s A Party bellowed from the turntables.
‘The Warlord’ came armed with killer dubs and his usual limericks, reeling off intros, outros, his signature ad libs and witty banter before, after and in between selections, with comedic precision.
“Riri, you see me-me,” Bounty Killer joked, while waving to the camera to acknowledge international Barbadian recording artiste Rihanna who was present in the live chat.
Meanwhile, Beenie Man was true to form, and the consummate entertainer, showing off his stylish dance moves and larger-than-life poses.
But, in an ode to Murphy’s Law, there was a brief interruption, prompting Beenie Man to pause during one turn. The entertainer inferenced that “the police” had entered the Verzuz venue. Beenie Man, who appeared to be conversing with someone out of the view of the camera, inquired if “the police” were “okay” before informing them that an international streaming party was in progress.
“Do you want to be that guy?,” the ‘Girls Dem Sugar’ was heard uttering while addressing “the police” in an attempt to dissuade the lawmen from shutting down the Verzuz stream. The officers, seemingly, left without any further incident.
“Mi nuh know weh dem come in here fi do,” Beenie Man added, before signalling the accompanying disc jocks to initiate a “juggling” rhythm, which led to an impromptu toasting session from both deejays. Bounty Killer, in response to “the police” pause, delivered a monologue, about being the “poor people governor,” before launching into his hit Look Into My Eyes single.
Both artistes went off the beaten path, going toe to toe and lyric for lyric in what became an electrifying mini stageshow, before returning to the original Verzuz format.
Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, also, took time out to urge viewers to take precaution, and “be safe,” during the global pandemic as well as convey condolences to the family of the late Robert ‘Bobby Digital’ Dixon.
Bob Marley‘s One Love and Burning Spear‘s Recall Some Great Men were elicited to close out the landmark Verzuz.
Disc jocks Kurt Riley and Richie D, who led a pre-show ‘juggling’ session, manned the ‘ones and twos,’ facilitating the transitions for the dancehall stalwarts’ track selections. Stone Love’s Rory later took over ‘wheels of steel’ for an after party.
The Verzuz was attended by a mix of media entities, journalists, artistes, athletes, disc jocks, actors, models, and comedians. Music and video streaming platform Tidal curated a playlist of Bounty Killer and Beenie Man songs to whet the appetites of the eager fans.
Swizz Beatz, Timbaland, Ashanti, BET, Spotify, Rihanna, Popcaan, Sean Paul, Buju Banton, Vibe Magazine, Spice, Damian Marley, Safaree, Diddy, DJ Khaled, JaRule, Chris Gayle, Usain Bolt, Konshens, Missy Elliott, Lala Anthony, Jourdan Dunn, Busta Rhymes, Breakfast Club, Jermaine Dupri, Boi1da, Daniel Sturridge, Andre Drummond, Keri Hilson, Papoose, Deon Cole, Anthony Anderson, Steflon Don, Hot 97, Erykah Badu, Teddy Riley, DefJam, DJ Bravo, Gabrielle Union, Angela Yee, Stonebwoy, Snoop Dog, Janelle Monae, and D-Nice were among the viewers.