Last Saturday’s (May 23rd) Verzuz was dubbed the soundclash edition and featured dancehall legends Beenie Man and Bounty Killa. Verzuz is a battle series organized by Swizz Beatz and Timbaland and features top musicians battling against each other in a tune-for-tune format. Past Verzuz have included Nelly vs Ludacris, Erykah Badu vs Jill Scott and Teddy Riley vs Babyface.
This was the first instalment of Verzuz where both artistes were physically together.
Words simply can’t do justice to the experience but to quote one of the organizers, Swizz Beatz — “This was my favourite Verzuz, can’t lie.” Snoop Dogg also summed up the clash perfectly — “If you weren’t here, you missed history.”
The four hundred and seventy-five thousand people that tuned in on Instagram live were thoroughly entertained with music (a seemingly endless catalogue of hits by both artistes), drama (the event was stalled for a short period when the police showed up) and comedy (dozens of virals moments are already plastered on social media.)
The “Gyal Dem Sugar” was in top form (when is he ever not?). Beenie is a master showman with decades of experience entertaining crowds and he did not disappoint. The dancehall giant sang hit after hit and never stopped the playful banter with Killa.
Beenie started the night with his international hits before transitioning into his more hardcore dancehall tracks. One of the night’s highlights was when the “Rum & Redbull” singer reminded the world of his musical genius in an explosive back and forth with his rival on the classic “Show Time Riddim.”
It was the opinion of many people going into the Verzuz that Beenie would have the advantage as he is the more internationally recognized artiste. Those people were wrong.
The Warlord was relentless in his rendering of hits, at times he even managed to sneak in two songs during his turn. Moreover, it was quite evident that the Alliance boss was extremely prepared for the clash. He recorded custom dubplates for Beenie Man, remixed his tracks and his song selection was impeccable.
THE COMMENTS & THE CELEBS
One of the best components of Verzuz is the interaction in the comments section. Countless international celebrities watched the Instagram live and were quite vocal about how much they were enjoying the event.
A few of the big names included Rihanna, Diddy, DJ Khaled, Usain Bolt, D-Nice, Ja Rule, Dwayne Wade, Popcaan, Buju Banton, Steff London, Missy Elliott, Konshens, Spice, Damian Marley and Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness.
When the dust settled, dancehall music was the winner. Beenie and Bounty made dancehall fans, Jamaica and the entire Caribbean extremely proud.
Nearly half a million individuals witnessed a masterclass on dancehall culture and millions more will undoubtedly watch a recording of the show. The night ended beautifully with both entertainers singing Bob Marley’s “One Love” and Beenie Man dancing with his toddler.