Sunday 25 October, 2020

Bounty Killer and Beenie Man lift spirits in epic Verzuz battle

Screen grab of IG Live showing Bounty Killer and Beenie Man performing in the latest installment of the Verzuz series of online battles.

Screen grab of IG Live showing Bounty Killer and Beenie Man performing in the latest installment of the Verzuz series of online battles.

At least 475,000 viewers worldwide logged in to watch perennial-rivals-turned-friends Beenie Man and Bounty Killer during the latest installment of the Verzuz series of online battles featuring some of music’s biggest names amid the coronavirus pandemic.

And boy, were they in for a show. 

The performance was so potent that before the clash was even over, Verzuz conceptualiser Swiss Beatz asked co-founder Timbaland: "Timbo, how we ah go follow up this one, king?".

During the performance, the clash trended #1 on Twitter worldwide. There were moments of high drama and comedic moments galore as the two dancehall icons took their fellow celebrities and fans down memory lane with a slew of songs that defined the 1990s for millions of people.

One moment of drama came when cops walked into the venue about 8.20 pm apparently to enforce the nightly islandwide curfew, which begins at 8pm and is part of the Jamaican government's efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Beenie Man announced to the viewers: "The police are here, we are on international TV, can we not do this right here? We have 500k people right now, do you wanna be that guy? Do you wanna be that guy? The police are here, but we not stopping; before COVID-19, there was people killing people, now is COVID killing people. Killer come back over ya, we nah go make dem stop this."

One user commented: "Bounty Killer had warrants, he took off when the cops came."

The viewers included a galaxy of international stars like Rihanna, Diddy, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Keri Hilson, Stefflon Don, Jermaine Dupri, Teddy Riley, Ja Rule, Missy Elliott, DJ Khaled, Busta Rhymes, Lil Jon, Damian Marley, Eyrkah Badu, Gabrielle Union, Chris Gayle, Usain Bolt, Daniel Sturridge and Dwayne Wade.

Bounty Killer injected a great note of levity when he acknowledged Rihanna's presence on the Instagram Live feed. 

"Just got to big up Ri Ri, Ri Ri, yu see me me?...and Beenie," he said to laughs from the few persons in the room. 

Indeed, the 'warlord' seemed to be in an exuberant mood as he did the 'World Dance' with Desha Ravers, Beenie Man's daughter, then later declared: "Though mi do Killer swing, mi no inna the dancing ting'." 

A king of witty one-liners, Bounty was in top form. He reeled off zingers like "onstage we war, in life we par' and "reverse the hearses, put those body in churches....Swizz Beatz, yu get a kriss wreath."

The comments online were hilarious as well during the IG live. Rapper Ludacris commented: "Beenie trying to dance in them pants." Keri Hilson observed: 'they funny". Another user commented:" this makes me wanna eat some curried goat." Popcaan and Spice also chimed in with funny comments. 

Bounty Killer and Beenie Man seemed to share a witty repartee and chemistry that betrays the animosity that once defined their relationship. At one point during the clash, Beenie Man tried to perform two consecutive songs, and tried to interject:  "Don't count da one de." Bounty Killer warned him, then hit back good-naturedly: " Beenie, you're a wicked negotiator".

During the performance, the two artistes reeled off a barrage of hits. Some of the songs included Billboard charters like 'Proper Fix', and dancehall classics like 'Send the Modeller Dem Come', 'Benz and Bimmer', 'Cry for, Lie For', 'Nuff Gal', 'Rum and Red Bull', 'Romie', 'Wutless Bwoy', 'Hip Hopera', 'Girls Dem Sugar', 'It's a Party, 'Look into My Eyes' and 'Deadly Zone'. 

There was a two minute period when Bounty Killer and Beenie Man set a blistering pace as they segued out of the 'girl segment'. 

"Take them to Parliament and settle di argument, people dead!" Bounty Killer said, then deejayed 'Look into My Eyes' on the Bug rhythm.

Beenie Man then did 'Dem No Like Me' , then Bounty Killer hit back with 'Eagle and Hawk', then Beenie Man hugged Bounty Killer and looked right into the camera and deejayed: "none ah dem bwoy de no rough like we".

Another high point came as the clash came to a climax when both deejayed over the dub which featured ‘Astronomia’ by Vicetone & Tony Igy, the instrumental used in a popular funeral meme with African pallbearers. When the clash got particularly heated, Charlamagne tha God commented: "I might have to come out of here, they might soon start licking shots."

It was a real night to remember, an unforgettable chapter in dancehall history written to lift spirits in the middle of a global pandemic. 

----Claude Mills

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