Verzuz battle a reminder, not resurrection - Industry insiders say Beenie, Bounty are timeless artistes whose careers needed no rebirth
Rebirth. Resurgence. Revival. Those are some of the words that have been used to describe what last Saturday’s Verzuz battle could mean for the careers of dancehall legends Bounty Killer and Beenie Man. But for a few industry insiders with whom The Gleaner spoke, the historic face-off serves as more of a reminder than a resurrection for the pair. To them, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man are two mega talents in dancehall whose contribution to the music is undeniable and whose careers will continue to transcend time.
“Beenie and Bounty are so entrenched in this business and have been for so long a consistent source of entertainment, that what they did on Saturday was only a reminder of their greatness. Their careers have had highs and ‘highers’ and some ‘not-so-highs’, but they’ve never gone low,” said Headline Entertainment’s Jerome Hamilton.
“I do understand what the people are trying to say, because I do think Saturday’s clash brought a number of people back in touch with them, and a number of people who have never heard or seen them yet would have gone to watch them, but I don’t think their careers were ever on the decline. They are still, to me, two of the top 10 artistes in Jamaica. I think people can say they used the platform to reinforce something epic about them that people can’t match.”
Hamilton went on to state that while the iconic duo of Bounty and Beenie may not be popular names in the current state of the industry, they will always be relevant. “Every artiste, no matter how big they are, will get to a stage where they are not so popular anymore, but a number of those same artistes will always be relevant. Those two (Beenie and Bounty) have been those acts for years. A lot of the younger generation wouldn’t have connected with a Bounty or Beenie and known the magnitude of their talent, but that doesn’t mean they are not still making an impact,” he said.
Artiste manager and Sting promoter Heavy D agreed. “A Sting everything weh Bounty and Beenie go through originate from, and dem a two man weh stand firm inna the music same way. Dem man deh nah go nowhere, and the only reason why people think dem man deh career stall is because dem can’t get to travel to the three main countries that support dancehall music – Canada, England and USA,” he said. “If dem man deh coulda travel, yuh woulda see them everywhere and a hear bout them all the time. Weh dem gwaan wid inna di clash never just come ‘bout, dem have it long time and dem never lose it.
“A from the ‘90s dem man deh inna dis business straight and never drop dem standards,” he continued. “Me a watch dem man deh more than 20 years and the quality of performance is still the same. Nothing nuh change, a di same Bounty and Beenie. What has happened now is that this clash has opened more eyes to who they are and what they are capable of.”
Keona Williams, an established publicist, says with more eyes are now tuned in to both Beenie and Bounty. She believes it’s prime time again for the iconic duo as the demand for quality dancehall acts will undoubtedly see an increase.
“The IGTV video of the clash had the highest views in just a few hours. Compared to the other battles they had on Verzuz, the numbers were record-breaking. The fact that several topics trended on Twitter worldwide relating to the clash is phenomenal and serves as a wake-up call on the demand for quality dancehall acts,” she said. “Once their teams capitalise on this opportunity, this will definitely be prime time again for Beenie and Bounty. It (the Verzuz battle) definitely put deja vú of Sting in all our minds. Hopefully, Sting 2020 will happen with Bounty and Beenie headlining in the flesh for the fans across he globe.”