Dancehall spectacle-Verzuz ICONZ concert a win for genreTuesday, October 19, 2021
Dancehall legend, Super Cat was the headline act but Saturday night's ICONZ concert in New York was a full-on dancehall spectacle featuring some of the biggest talents from the industry.
In addition to the man of the moment, the show saw performances from the likes of Dexta Daps, Teejay, Kemar Highcon, Kranium, Barrington Levy, Cham and Konshens.
In what was certainly a special moment for dancehall, the entertainers turned in scorching sets as if they were determined to show that despite talks of dancehall having lost its essence and appeal, the genre is far from dead.
Held at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the ICONZ series saw the Verzuz brand partnering with Triller in their third event since the merger earlier this year. The showcase got underway after a live boxing match.
Kicking things off on the Barclay's stage was the 'Uptop Boss' himself, Teejay. Having been sighted sharing music (and laughs) with top US producer Timbaland at the start of 2020, it perhaps came as no surprise that Teejay made it to the Verzuz ICONZ stage. The entertainer who split from Romeich Entertainment earlier this year has been looking to make a dent on the international market and that he did.
Delivering a slew of hits including Owna Lane and Rags to Riches, Teejay had the entire Barclay's stadium singing along. Like he posted on his Instagram page post performance, this is no doubt the beginning of great things for the Glendevon native.
US-based artiste Kranium was next on stage and, with an already strong fanbase in the region, the entertainer had the crowd 'eating out of the palm of his hands'. His time on stage was brief but in the end he didn't need a lot of time on stage to make an impact. His set was compact and powerful.
Then it was time for 'Dappa Dan' himself to grace the Barclay's stage. Serving up hits such as Shabba Madda Pot, WiFi and Call Me If, Dexta Daps took things to a whole new level on the show. The Seaview Gardens native, clad in full black, turned in an energetic set that had the audience singing along, word for word in choir-like fashion.
Konshens, Cham and veteran Barrington Levy were next on the ICONZ lineup, each act delivering what was expected to the audience. Konshens proved that the new generation dancehall artiste packed serious star power while the veterans, Levy and Cham proved that 90s era dancehall is still the most loved period in the music's history.
Of course, it would not be an authentic dancehall showcase if there wasn't a soundclash. The latter was delivered when Lion Face and Kingpin of King Addies faced-off.
But then, it was time for the moment the entire Barclay's Centre and those in the virtual land had been waiting for. It was time for the 'Don Dada' himself to hit the stage. Clad in a full pinstripe suit, the deejay opened his set with some blazing freestyles before getting into hits such as Nuff Man A Dead and his chart-topping single, Dem Nuh Worry We.
He filled his set with sporadic political rants, mincing no words as he expressed his dislike for former President, Donald Trump. "How come a big pu**y bwoy like you split United States innah two," he asked. The crowd was perhaps more excited to hear him reel out hits from his catalogue than listen to him whine about Trump but it wouldn't be a Super Cat show if he didn't find some way to be controversial.
When he finally got back to the music, Dolly My Baby and Mud Up were among the songs delivered.
In the end, following up on Cardi B's dancehall inspired birthday Passa Passa, the Verzuz ICONZ series was no doubt another win for the culture.