On May 23, at 8p.m. EST, the best versus battle to date, and arguably the best that there will be, took place between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer. Seem like a bold statement? Do you need convincing? Here are 7 reasons Beenie Man and Bounty Killer had the best Verzuz battle.
In the best Verzuz battle, between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, over 400,000 people worldwide experienced a clash between two of Jamaica’s greatest and longest standing dancehall legends. The internet was set on fire by the battle between the dancehall greats and though the Verzuz battles that have already gone were excellent, it seems obvious that this battle between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer is the best Verzuz battle so far.
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What is Verzuz?
Weekends since lockdowns have started have changed greatly. Due to social distancing, people have been staying home and missing out on parties and social gatherings. Enter Swizz Beats and Timbaland to the rescue. They co-created the idea of a Verzuz, a play on the world versus, a musical duel where two musical artists would battle each other, song for song, in a challenge that’s reminiscent of old school hip hop battles.
People have been enjoying all the Verzuz battles, but there was a clear difference in the build up to the Verzuz battle between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer ever since it was announced.
What is a Verzuz battle?
A Verzuz battle is a musical battle, hosted on Instagram, between two musical artists, where they pull from their best hits to battle with each other. The Verzuz lasts for 20 rounds and fans score and determine the musician who is the winner (is better at entertaining and has the best hits). There have been several Verzuz battles so far, but it is clear that the clash between Beenie Man versus Bounty Killer has taken the Verzuz battle to an astronomical level and as such is the best Verzuz ever.
How great was the Beenie Man vs. Bounty Killer Verzuz Battle?
Well, no one cared about who the winner was or even if there was a winner. They were too interested in reminiscing and enjoying Jamaican dancehall hits and the on going banter between the two dancehall artists. More than anything, fans attending the Verzuz battle did not want it to come to an end.
The Backstory between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer
Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have been clashing (or having battles) since 1992. Growing up in Jamaica in the 90s, reggae and dancehall lovers had to pick a side between the two talented artists. You were either with Beenie Man or Bounty Killer.
Each of the two dancehall artists have nicknames based on the type of music that they mostly deliver. Beenie Man is known for producing music for women to dance or whine to (gyrate in a provocative motion), making him the Girls Dem Sugar, while Bounty Killer is known for having gun or bad man anthems, making him the Warlord.
For those of you who are not dancehall fans and who have limited knowledge on the two artists, here is a quick peek into the rise of two of Jamaica’s most well loved and respected dancehall artists.
Who is Beenie Man?
Beenie Man was born as Anthony Moses Davis on August 22, 1973. He comes from a solid musical background and began making music at an early age. His first album was completed when he was only 10. Throughout the years, Beenie Man has been known as the Doctor, but most consistently as the Girls Dem Sugar or in recent years, King of the Dancehall. He has released 18 albums and is loved worldwide for his dancing anthems.
Who is Bounty Killer?
Bounty Killer, born Rodney Basil Price, was born on June 12, 1972. Bounty rose to stardom with his bad man talk and killer lyrics. Bounty Killer also had a family history in music, as his father owned a sound system (collection of musical tools used to entertain at events). After an early start as a dj, Bounty Killer, after being shot by a stray bullet, decided to completely pursue music. Bounty Killer has released 13 albums and is widely respected for his work as the poor people's governor, because he makes music to showcase the life of poor Jamaicans and advocate for them.
Why was the Beenie Man versus Bounty Killer the Best Verzuz Battle?
There are 7 main reasons Beenie Man and Bounty Killer had the best Verzuz battle. If for some reason you missed the Verzuz battle between the two dancehall giants or need to see it again, here is the complete Verzuz battle : Beenie Man versus bounty Killer. As you watch or rewatch, you can see the 7 reasons their battle was the best in action.
Great Hits and Collaborations
The first reason this Verzuz battle between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer was the best is because of the great hits and collaborations. Both Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have had illustrious careers that have spanned decades and resulted in great hits and collaborations with many artists.
During their battle on Saturday, each artist featured some of their most beloved songs and collaborations to the delight of fans worldwide. Some of the most noticeable collaboration favorites were Girls Dem Sugar with Beenie Man and Mya, Love Me Now from Beenie Man and Wyclef Jean, Hip Hopera from Bounty Killer and the Fugees and Living Dangerously by Barrington Levy and Bounty Killer.
The Guest List
The second reason this Verzuz battle between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer was the best is due to the guest list. As if this battle were some type of celebrity wedding, some of music's biggest and brightest were in attendance. Timbaland, DJ Khaled, Swizz Beats, Snoop Dog, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, to name a few, were in attendance.
Not only were music’s greatest in attendance, but celebrities such as Dwayne Wade and many others tuned in to watch the “King and God of Dancehall” battle for victory and showcase dancehall music.
Unplanned Entertainment: Enter The Police
The third reason this Verzuz battle was the best is the unpredictability factor and level of entertainment. Just when the fans thought things couldn’t get any better in the battle between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, due to the great hits that were being blasted back and forth, things took an interesting turn. Police officers entered and it seemed the Verzuz battle would come to a close.
It is thought that police officers from the Jamaican Constabulary Force, who had commented on Instagram about the battle being in violation of Jamaica’s current curfew showed up to shut the battle down. Since the Veruz last night, the Jamaican Constabulary force has commented that they did not post the comment on Instagram and onlookers everywhere are intrigued to see how this will play out.
Luckily, Beenie Man used some persuasion by appealing to the police to " do you want to be that guy” who disappoints the over 400,000 people who were enjoying the battle. The internet could not get enough and almost immediately memes started popping up everywhere about the exchange between Beenie Man and the police.
Reason number 4 why the versus battle between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer was the best was that it didn’t just stop at music. Beenie Man, outside of his renowned skills as a lyricist and musician, is also known for his talent as a dancer.
His performances have always featured dancers and dance breaks and this battle was no different. The King of the Dancehall himself thrilled fans with his dance moves in a testament to his showmanship and living up to his self proclaimed title as King of the “Dance”hall.
Video sourced from Deesharavers via https://www.instagram.com/desharavers/
Beenie Man then took it to another level when he brought out his daughter, Desharavers, to please dancehall fans with a dance called World a Dance.
Beenie Man's daughter would also appear briefly in other songs throughout the battle. His youngest daughter (not dancing) also made an appearance at the end of the battle and onlookers got to see a father making his baby giggle with some of his famous ad libs.
Bounty Killer: Man of Many Talents
The unpredictability factor in this Verzuz battle, as you can tell, was bar none and is the fifth reason this Verzuz battle is arguably the best. Not to be outdone, Bounty Killer added his own spin on entertainment in the battle. In a move that many probably thought was uncharacteristic, the Warlord, Bounty Killer, entertained fans throughout the battle not only with his stunning voice and famous ad libs, but also with jokes.
At one point in the Verzuz, Bounty Killer became aware that Rihanna or Riri, as she is affectionately called, was watching the Verzuz and started playfully flirting with her in the middle of the battle. Fans could not get enough of the badman warload turning seemingly into a gyalis (girls man) during the battle.
The jokes and entertainment from Bounty Killer would keep coming. Later in the Verzuz battle, Bounty Killer, playfully, accused Beenie Man of cheating, when due to the interruption by the police, Beenie Man stole Bounty Killer’s turn and played two songs back to back. The banter from Bounty Killer was even more enjoyable because it goes against his typical gun lyrics and bad man persona.
Reason number 6 why this Verzuz battle was the best was an emotional and cultural one. Jamaicans and dancehall fans worldwide, who tuned into the Verzuz battle between Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, had the special treat of a thirty minute medley of Jamaican hits before the challenge began.
Jamaicans also got chills and felt a huge sense of pride when Beenie Man and Bounty Killer decided to start the battle with the Jamaican anthem. It was an amazing testament to the two artists' love for their country and countrymen. It was also an excellent showcase, on an international platform, of why the Jamaican motto is “out of many one people.”If you want more of a sneak peek into Jamaican culture and what it is like growing up there, then check out my I am an Island Girl series.
The last reason and probably the favorite, for true dancehall fans, that this Verzuz battle was the best were the freestyles that occurred throughout the Verzuz battle. Both Beenie Man and Bounty Killer have a ridiculously large collection of hits, but that didn’t stop either dancehall star from showcasing their talents in several freestyles during the battle.
They did those freestyles on some amazing riddims, which for true dancehall fans is more of a true reflection of how dancehall music is usually enjoyed. One of the riddims even had a more Carnival or Vegas feel, showing the versatility of the artists and dancehall music.
If you didn’t tune in, you definitely missed a treat. This Verzuz battle easily made staying in this Memorial Day weekend feel less awful. Though there have been several excellent Verzuz battles so far like Jill Scott and Erykah Badu, Lil J on versus T-Pain, Timbaland versus Swizz Beats, Nelly versus Ludacris and Teddy Riley versus Babyface, hands down this Verzuz battle between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer was the best so far and will probably be undefeated.