Monthly archive May, 2020

Bounty & Beenie on Verzuz: Jamaica’s version of ‘The Last Dance’

Bounty & Beenie on Verzuz: Jamaica's version of 'The Last Dance'

What Could Top This Legendary Moment?

 

The VERZUZ series led by Swizz Beats and Timbaland has been an oasis in the midst of a pandemic. Week after week, music lovers have enjoyed the nostalgia, the spontaneous comedy, and the opportunity to bring the proverbial roses to their favorite artists. 

The anticipation was at a fever pitch when it was announced that dancehall giants, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, would headline VERZUZ for a Memorial Day soundclash. 

Excitement mixed with anxiety. Dancehall fans have always wanted our music to receive its proper due on the global stage. It is a great genre that has birthed hip-hop, reggaeton, Afrobeat, influenced the sound of songs on the top 40 but does not always receive its rightful recognition. 

For these legendary artists, their fans, and dancehall culture overall, the stakes were high, to say the least. Would the VERZUZ audience, primarily Hip-Hop and R&B fans, receive these giants well? Would their misunderstanding—or even worse, ridicule—lead to embarrassment? Story Continues After The Jump…
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Dre Island Elevates With Debut Album ‘Now I Rise’

Dre Island Elevates With Debut Album 'Now I Rise'

“We rise to the top… cause we know what it takes”

“We rise to the top,” Dre Island sings on “We Pray,” his massive collab with Popcaan, “cause we know what it takes.” Building on that theme of musical and spiritual elevation, the multi-talented musician—singer, deejay, songwriter, producer, and pianist—has just released his debut album Now I Rise. The project features the aforementioned “We Pray” as well as crucial collaborations with the likes of Jesse Royal and Chronixx. “Ah mi family dem deh,” says Dre Island, who has toured Europe backed by Chronixx’s band Zincfence Redemption. A graduate of Kingston’s Calabar high school—alma mater of both Jr. Gong and Vybz Kartel—Andre Johnson aka Dre Island is a living link between the vaunted “roots revival” movement and the sound of the Jamaican streets. “The revival is really within the people,” he says. “Reggae music never stop. Reggae artists always been touring. So it’s just the people’s awareness.” During a time when reggae and dancehall stand at a crossroads, Dre Island has emerged as one of the few artists capable of bringing together dancehall vibes and the ancient roots traditions—not to mention outernational connections like “People” his collaboration with UK talents Cadenza and Jorja Smith. “An island is a small land mass surrounded by water,” the artist told Boomshots correspondent Reshma B in their first interview. “But if you read further it’s also a place where you go to find yourself.” Video After The Jump…  Read more »

Tune For Tune: Breaking Down Bounty & Beenie’s Verzuz Battle

Tune For Tune: Breaking Down Bounty & Beenie's Verzuz Battle

Jamaica Won, The Culture Won—no doubt about it—But Which Selections Won?

 

Why was this night different from all other Verzuz battles? Streamed live from Kingston, Jamaica, the Memorial Day “Soundclash Edition” of Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s flagship IG Live series was easily the most exciting and entertaining yet, as well as the first to delve into dancehall reggae. Considering the fact that Jamaican sound systems pioneered the sort of “beat battles” have made Verzuz a social media sensation well over half a century ago, the creative decision was more than fitting. By pitting two icons of the genre, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, in head-to-head competition, this Verzuz battle did not just showcase two of its most respected lyricists ever to hold a microphone, it also tapped into an epic rivalry that stretches back more than a quarter of a century. Audio & Video After The Jump… Read more »

The Art of War: Bounty Killer Verzuz Beenie Man

The Art of War: Bounty Killer Verzuz Beenie Man

Dancehall Icons Speak on Rivalry & Respect 

Ever since the whole Swizz Beatz and Timbaland created social media battle platform Verzuz wave kicked off, bringing a much-needed spark of joy and excitement to the dreadful pandemic grind, those of us who love and respect dancehall music and Jamaican sound system culture have been asking ourselves when (if ever) the world would finally recognize that this whole digital sensation was based on the concept of sound clash. Which is to say that it’s all rooted in the rich history of Jamaican music, which gave us cultural icons like Bob Marley (respect is always due) and Kool Herc, who became The Godfather of Hip Hop by transplanting Yard-style sound system tactics/techniques/technology to the Bronx, and King Tubby the Dub master (who really invented the remix way before Puff Daddy) and Daddy U-Roy, who became the world’s first “rap star” by recording three chart-topping hits in 1969 that served to “Wake The Town and Tell The People” that “deejay” music was not just a matter of toasting and boasting in the dancehall, it was an art form unto itself. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Kemikal “Gwaan” Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Kemikal "Gwaan" Music Video PREMIERE

Enigmatic Equiknoxx DJ brings “Gal power from the man dem” 

We always take time out to check the vibes from Equiknoxx co-founders Gavin “Gavsborg” Blair and Jordan “Time Cow” Chung. Today we’re proud to premiere a brand new release from Kemikal, an enigmatic artist whom Gavsborg describes as “a lab experiment between Big Pun mixed with Tiger.” Take a moment to let that sink in. OK? Good. Part of the Equiknoxx crew since the 2010s, Kemikal has scored hits superficially with the Polish dancehall community such as “La La La” on the Jim Screechie Riddim. He also recorded cuts on classic Equiknoxx riddims such as: Kamera Trick, White Label, Wash Belly, Gypsy Time as well as collaborating with the likes of Alozade, Chico, J.O.E & T.O.K. Now that you’re up to speed, pree the brand new sup’m called “Gwaan.” Contempt for “peeping toms” and “the male gaze” might seem unlikely within dancehall, but “Gwaan” says freedom of female expression is a must. No social media body shaming round yah so! Video After The Jump…  Read more »

WATCH THIS: Sean Paul “Back It Up Deh” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Sean Paul "Back It Up Deh" Official Music Video PREMIERE

Peep SP’s IGTV Interview With Reshma B

As the first—and only—dancehall artist to appear on the cover of VIBE magazine, Sean Paul has been making history and breaking down musical barriers throughout his career. The Grammy-winning hitmaker has collaborated with some of the biggest stars in urban music, from Beyoncé and Rihanna to DMX and Busta Rhymes, but his come-up was driven by raw uncut dancehall straight off the streets of Jamaica. After more than 20 years in the game, Sean is still going strong, dropping his dutty flow alongside the likes of Stefflon Don, Jhene Aiko, and Dua Lipa. But he’s not just the go-to for a hot yardstyle 16, he’s also an accomplished producer. Sean’s Dutty Rock Productions label has released riddims like “Rope,” “Gang Gang,” “No Caption,” and “Callaloo.” Today VIBE premieres Sean’s latest production, “Back It Up Deh,” a song that pays tribute to the dancehall queens who bust moves when the riddim drops. “I used to want to go to see what the ladies was wearing,” Sean Paul recalled in an exclusive interview with Reshma B. “It was just very sensual outfitting. And then the dancing, it was so free. That’s what I really loved about the culture as a kid. You got involved.” Although street dances are on pause during these quarantine times, Sean’s latest release, and the high-energy video might just have you backing it up while you shelter in place. Video After The Jump… Read more »

Top Shotta: Video Director Kieran Khan

Top Shotta: Video Director Kieran Khan

“Success is no accident”

Born in Guayana, raised in the Bronx, and now based in Toronto, Kieran Khan has built a reputation as one of the most in-demand video directors on today’s dancehall scene. The umbe and hard-working visual craftsman is fond of quoting football legend Pele, who once said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” When Kieran suddenly found himself catapulted into success as the official videographer to international stars like Sean Paul and Cardi B, it was a moment that had been over a decade in the making, but which unfolded in the blink of an eye. Ten years of focus, perseverance, sacrifice, learning on the fly and prompt turnaround, combined with his down-to-earth, charismatic persona has finally paid off. But Khan’s work ethic continues to be his driving force. Consistently rising to the occasion even under strenuous circumstances, Khan has learned that dreams can come true in the blink of an eye. Fresh off the release of his latest collaboration with Sean Paul, “Back It Up Deh,” Boomshots asked Kieran to share some of the stories behind his most memorable productions. Check out the first edition of our new series, focusing on the visual artists who bring the music to life, “Top Shotta.” Videos After The Jump…
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