Sizzla flurries, Cham steady, Busy subdued - Performances follow Contender finals
After the fisticuffs and surrender by Richard 'Frog' Holmes' corner, the distribution of prizes, and Kemhal Russell's smile to savour his $2 million top prize, it was time for the Contender after-party at the National Indoor Sports Centre, Arthur Wint Drive, on Saturday night.
Two of the performers, Cham and Busy Signal, had already seen action briefly, each leading a finalist to the ring. But after the invitation of all into the previously restricted VIP area, which was enthusiastically taken up, Di Unit and ZJ Liquid securing the transition from ring to stage, it was someone who had not been seen that night who opened the action.
Sizzla Kolonji did extensive parts of Holding Firm and Praise Ye Jah without music before expressing impatience with the selectors, saying that he had been given 10 minutes. He long overstayed that time, but not his welcome from an adoring audience, which enjoyed fragments of song including Karate and Get To The Point, delivered as a boxer would flurries of punches, intermittent commentary and an incisive freestyle in which Sizzla deejayed:
"No corruption inna Jamaica ... . No funny man in Jamaica."
Still, later in his performance, in which songs about male-female relationships such as Just One of Those Days and Woman I Need You hit home, Sizzla said, "A whole heap a tings a gwaan, but true mi no want de sponsors vex with me."
teaching African culture
He advocated for the teaching of African culture in school, saying that more than 500 languages are spoken on the continent, as well as agriculture in Jamaica, humorously observing that the women with long fingernails are attractive but they should learn to plant as well. "Jamaicans, yu love to party too much and no waan plant," he said.
There was a moment of humour when a Wray & Nephew promotional girl came to dance with him and Sizzla asked, "Yu can fight? Mi babymother will beat you up." And he made reference to the winner, saying, "Big up Mr Russell for de $2 million winnings deh. Ghetto pickney a look fi yu."
Peter Tosh's Creation preceded Busy Signal's stage entry, the deejay beginning with Step Out. However, the crowd was largely subdued until the later stages of Busy Signal's stage stint when he did One More Night, Jamaica, Nah Go A Jail Again, and The Days. Even then, he did not enjoy anything near the equivalent of a boxer's clean, powerful punch connecting with the onlookers.
Closing duties were left to Cham, who handled them well, reminding the audience that he was speaking out against Babylon for a long time, then doing Babylon Bwoy. The audience enthusiastically filled in the blanks when he did Can I Get A ... and cheered when he did Bounty Killer's Look on the Bug rhythm, as well as his own Ghetto Pledge and Another Level, the combination with Bounty.
However, Cham teetered on going on too long with a sex-focused segment that included Vitamin S, the audience's enthusiasm cooling noticeably. He recovered momentum to close with Stronger and advice on perseverance towards one's goals to the appreciative audience.