AMERICAN superstars Ashanti and Ja Rule brought pure excitement to the concert dubbed Mega YUSH held at Sabina Park in Kingston on Saturday.
The pair — known globally for songs like Always On Time, What's Luv, Mesmerize, Wonderful, and Down 4 U — performed all their major hits.
In a solo piece, Ashanti — who was clad in a black, green, and gold monokini—performed Foolish, from her self-titled album which is celebrating its 20th anniversary. The project made the Guinness Book of World Records for the fastest selling debut by a female artiste, selling over 500,000 copies in its first week.
Ja Rule also gave solo renditions of favourites like Between Me & You, Put It On Me, and Down A** B**ch. By the time he took off his shirt and shades, screams and cheers echoed through the venue from adoring female fans. Needless to say, the men enjoyed the gyrating from Ashanti and her two backup dancers who never missed a beat. Both entertainers brought their personal DJs to enhance their sets.
Ashanti also hasten to pay homage to the Jamaican culture by rendering a remix of Gyptian's Hold Yuh and doing a cover of Dawn Penn's No No No. A collaboration with Trinidadian soca artiste Machel Montano titled The Road was played as the artiste used her cellphone to take a video of the thousands of fans as they wrapped up.
Earlier this year, she received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Her latest single Falling for You was released on October 28.
In 2014, she collaborated with dancehall veteran Beenie Man on the track First Real Love, a cover of Jamaican singer D Wisdom's 1991 chart-topping single My First Real Love.
The live performances left a sweet taste in the mouths of patrons, some of who were requesting an encore. It was this reason why co-CEO of YUSH, Scott Dunn, was pleased with the overall execution of the mega event.
"We are happy with the turnout. Patrons have options, but they came out in their thousands to experience Mega YUSH," he told the Jamaica Observer.
He further noted that the 'mega edition' will now become a staple event.
"Our plan is to have two versions of YUSH: no long talking [and] bare dancing which is all DJs and just niceness coming up on Christmas Eve and Mega YUSH with mega performances from international acts," he said.
Coppershot sound system, Richie Feelings, formerly of Stone Love and who was the main DJ for the popular Bembe Thursdays series in the early 2000s, and DJ Kurt Riley (The Party Animal) provided the musical selections for patrons to enjoy.
With almost two decades of the event, Dunn credited the brand's longevity to staying true to its formula.
"YUSH will be celebrating 20 years in 2023. We have staged the event about four times per year in Kingston, Ocho Rios, Negril, Miami, Tampa, and in the Florida Keys and what keeps patrons coming back in droves is a very simple formula of great music from the 90s and early 2000s, paired with easily accessible drinks and well-laid out venues. YUSH fans can look forward to more events globally in 2023," he said.
Fans could not get over how memorable the night was. According to hairdresser Maxine Bramwell, who claimed to be Ashanti's biggest fan, she got her ticket as soon as early birds were announced.
"I could not miss seeing my girl in person for the first time! This was the greatest show I've been to," she told the Observer.
Entrepreneur Roy Evans said it was money well spent.
"I don't regret it at all, and I would do it all over again," he said.