Beenie, Bounty dazzle at Extravaganza
Adrian Frater, Gleaner Writer
On a night that saw an angry Ninja Man venting, firebrand Sizzla lecturing, and the diminutive Coco Tea sizzling, ace deejays Bounty Killer and Beenie Man took top honours at the annual GT Taylor Christmas Extravaganza. The annual event was held in Black River, St Elizabeth, on Christmas Day.
The veteran dancehall duo, who have a colourful history of feuding lyrically on and off over the past 20 years, were all smiles as they traded hits in a dazzling team display, which elicited screams of encouragement and appreciation from patrons.
"This is our Sting," said Bounty, noting that several top acts who were on stage in St Elizabeth would not be on Sting 2014, which was held the following night. "Me and Beenie Man have been fighting against each other for 20 years, and we have achieved a lot ... . Now, we are going to be fighting for each other, and we are expecting a lot more."
Beenie Man, who was first to take the stage, got the ball rolling with Red Red and Memories before inviting Bounty to join him, declaring great respect for his longstanding nemesis. "Is me buss Bounty Killer and is Bounty Killer buss me," Beenie Man said.
It was all joy at the spacious Central Park Complex as dancehall hits such as Eagle and the Hawk, Suspense, Slam, Ole Dog, Stuckie, and Poor People Fed Up flowed from the two veterans, who sang each other's songs with relative ease. When they blended voices on their Legendary collaboration, there was no question that they had come, seen, ruled, and conquered.
The Don Gorgon Ninja Man, who took on the 'cross, angry and miserable' persona often associated with Bounty Killer, was harsh on the promoters of what he described as "pop down Sting" and new sensation Gully Bop, whom Ninja labelled as, "the bwoy without teeth".
"This year, Laing (Isaiah Laing, Sting's promoter) gone down inna the gully gone look a saviour fe him pop down Sting," said Ninja Man, declaring that several of dancehall's top acts had removed the popular show from their schedule. "Next year, him might have to go down into the toilet to find another saviour."
"Nuh bwoy without teeth caa diss me," snarled Ninja Man. "Only four deejay inna Jamaica can test me: Beenie Man and Bounty Killer and Capleton and Sizzla."
Where Sizzla was concerned, it was a case of controlled rage as he lectured the promoter against sponsors who are seemingly encouraging them to go soft on the gay agenda, declaring that he would not be part of a deal with any group that embraced unrighteousness.
Working in tandem with an equally fiery Teflon, Sizzla was all angry energy as he belted out songs like Mash Dem Down, Holding Firm, and Smoke Di Herb, which he followed up with social commentary calling for the legalisation of ganja.
RISING TO THE OCCASION
As he danced and pranced around the stage, Sizzla's turban became loose, revealing locks going past waist length. Sizzla continued to lecture, driving home his message lyrically through songs such as Rise to the Occasion, and his monster hit, Thank You Mama, as well as a clever piece on chikungunya.
Busy Signal performed a delightful set, reeling off a string of hits, much to the delight of fans. However, he exited in a huff after the stage manager called time. Prior to his departure, Busy was in stellar form with songs like Jamaica Love, Step Out, Pon Di Edge, Sweet Love, and Come Over.
As is now customary, master vocalist Cocoa Tea showed he belongs in a special class. In delivering his set, billed as a tribute to the late John Holt, he dazzled from start to finish. After starting off with Holt's Police in Helicopter and Carpenter, Cocoa Tea slipped into his own catalogue, dishing out a hit-filled performance.
Among the other acts Downsound recording artiste Nature was in good form; Paul Elliott rolled back the clock with a classy display; Ikaya was silky smooth, and George Nooks lyrically potent.
Veteran deejays Peter Metro and Professor Nuts, roots singer Bush Man, the lyrical Ryme Minisa, seldom seen Khago, flashy RDX, Kalado, US-based singer Robert Burchell, and dub poet Ritchie Innocent were also rock solid.