Beenie and Bounty, you made us proud!

Beenie and Bounty, you made us proud!

Monday, May 25, 2020

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Dear Editor,

If you were reading the comments, you would have seen the star-studded audience that Beenie Man and Bounty Killer attracted on Saturday night. I've never been on an Instagram Live with so many international stars. Jamaica was on show.

The Verzuz was epic! Upwards of 400,000 on Instagram and trending on Twitter.

The writing was on the wall when both gentlemen arrived wearing similar outfits; both departing from their signature full black and full white, respectively.

It was not the traditional clash we anticipated. His musical prowess undiluted, a mature and mellow Bounty Killer emerged from the shadows of an angry, younger version of himself. That version often overshadowed his immense lyrical talent and ability to unearth and unleash new stars. You had to be a legitimate dancehall fan to look beyond the drama and appreciate all that he was, even if he wasn't your favourite. I don't think some of his fans recognise the growth, as they're pretty much still “cross, angry and miserable”. It's 2020; calm down!

The king, Beenie Man, who single-handedly encouraged infidelity in the 90s, was a bit measured in his 'gyal' lyrics and was also not up to his usual antics of jeering the Warlord to anger. Referring to himself as a grown man and a “one-burner”, he mumbled gyal lyrics, much to Bounty Killer's amusement. After all, his queen was in the house.

There were role-reversal moments, with poor Beenie declaring himself a bad man and Bounty pointing out that he won't get all the women for himself with his gyal lyrics. And then there were times when they sang each other's tunes together. When the unwanted guest came to spoil it, it was handled!

Those two managed to stir all our emotions at once. We wanted to “buss out” and war, we wanted to “bubble”, we wanted to laugh, and we wanted to cry.

That moment when Busta Rhymes commented and reminded everyone that this is where rap music came from my heart swelled with pride. Every bit of our music, from kumina to dancehall, is significant in its own right. Understandably, dancehall plays second fiddle to reggae. But it firmly holds its place in our rich musical heritage. The young ones have some work to do, as demonstrated by these two legends on Saturday night. This is dancehall!

Beenie and Bounty, you made us proud! Legends for life! We want the post-COVID-19 show! Just the two of you, backed by some good opening acts deserving of sharing a stage with you.

The orange economy is ripe! Let's squeeze every bit of that juice.

When you get to wake up and live the Jamaican culture every day you forget how rich it is. There is absolutely no other place in the world that I would be glad to call home.

Suzette Campbell

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