THE VERZUZ featuring Bounty Killer and Beenie Man is being hailed as the best since the series was started by American’s Swizz Beatz and Timbaland.
With half a million people tuning into the live stream on Instagram last Saturday, the musical feast was the highlight of the weekend.
BUT LETS NOT FORGET!!!, … that both of these artist, these two legends, these two ambassadors of our country our music, and our culture, STILL CANNOT TRAVEL Shaggy
As reported last week reggae, as the overarching genre, registered another landmark for the culture when Skip Marley transcended the musical bounds trodden by his grand father Bob, by becoming the first Jamaican-born artist to ever hold the top spot of the Billboard R&B adult chart with his most recent track ‘Slow Down’, featuring H.E.R.
The recent successes and outpouring of global adulation for Jamaican music an it’s artists comes almost two years after the UN officially added reggae music to its list of international cultural treasures worthy of protection and promotion.
Recently however, the Voice Newspaper spoke to Diamond selling artist Shaggy, who has re-released hit track It Wasn’t Me, part of a new album, Hot Shot 2020, which will comprise some of his household favourites.
The Kingston born musician said that dancehall as a genre was in a ‘crisis’ citing the poor streaming numbers to back up his sentiments.
Far from being negative about his countries biggest export, Shaggy believes more needs to be done in order to take the music worldwide, starting with making it easier for the artists from Jamaica to travel abroad.
Highlighting his point in a post following the Bounty Killer and Beenie Man spectacle, Shaggy called on the likes of Jamaican Culture Minister Olivia Grange and others to begin talks that pave the way for artists to spread their wings.
He wrote: “As we celebrate the talents of these two legends @kingbeenieman and @grunggaadzilla and the dance hall culture which they represent, to the figure of over 500k streams last night on the verzuz platform, Instagram… we saw the likes of a Spotify, you tube, SiriusXM, Facebook, I heart media, Hot97, Apple music, Pandora, Revolt, Ciroc, Tidal, plus countless stars and corporate entities, all on board to witness what was considered the best Verzuz yet!!!
“This was a boost to our spirits, our tourism, our economy, our music, and most importantly brand Jamaica.
“BUT LETS NOT FORGET!!!, … that both of these artist, these two legends, these two ambassadors of our country our music, and our culture, STILL CANNOT TRAVEL!!
“It’s about time we rally and push the powers at be to free up these artist allow them traveling visas, work permits so they can travel freely to promote our culture and represent our brand, I’m calling on the Jamaican government, the U.S. Ambassador and the United States Embassy @usembassyja to at least start having dialogue where this is concerned, I’m calling on the Hon. Olivier Babsy Grange @hon.olivigrange and the prime minister the Hon. Andrew Holness @andrewholnessjm to get involve, the culture needs it, the music needs it, the economy needs it, the country needs it the fans need it. Salute DANCE HALL.”
Following the Unesco announcement in 2018 Grange said: “It (reggae) is a music that we have created that has penetrated all corners of the world.”
Taking to twitter in the aftermath of the performance the founding member and Director of the Jamaica Association of Composers, Authors and Publishers posted a link to the Jamaica Gleaner article in which she was quoted as saying of the Verzuz battle: “There is no question or doubt, Jamaica’s music is the most powerful music in the world.
“That was proven again tonight with how many celebrities, both local and international, tuned in to the clash.”
Plaudits came from every corner of the musical world as fans and musical peers paid homage to what was witnessed last weekend, it was a truly epic performance from two of the most iconic artists of their time.
DJ Khaled, Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, Snoop Dogg, Konshens, Buju Banton, Sean Paul, Rihanna and Damian Marley were just a few of the artists that were seen tuning in.
Joining the chorus of celebration Beres Hammond wrote on Instagram: “Oh what a night it was for the culture! Proud of my two bredrins! Not only did you represent yourselves but you put on for Jamaica in such an authentic and professional manner. Big up @therealswizzz for providing @verzuztv as such a wonderful platform for our culture to be showcased!”
Spice added her approval saying: “Here’s my public opinion so y’all can stop asking “OUR CULTURE WON”. DANCEHALL WON, my eyes won the opportunity to witness the most legendary moment on IG live last night.
“I sang each song from both of them word for word, salute to these Living Legends THANK YOU FOR PAVING MY WAY so it’s #TeamJamaica for me.”
Trinidadian Soca artist Bunji Garlin added: “This lifted my spirits high high high. I needed that and I thank brothers @grunggaadzilla and @kingbeenieman for the demonstration of epic. Every soul from Jamaica should be extremely proud and that goes without saying!!”
Marking reggae’s inscription into the representative list of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity in 2018, Unesco wrote: “The basic social functions of the music – as a vehicle for social commentary, a cathartic practice, and a means of praising God – have not changed, and the music continues to act as a voice for all.”
If dancehall is reggae’s birth-child, surely after the weekend we all want what Shaggy wants, to see that birth-child grow up.
It’s time to free the shackles from dancehall’s potential growth for good and everyone should be playing their part in order to make that happen.
We’re ready. The world is ready. Verzuz showed us that.