Swizz Beatz’s decision to have Beenie Man and Bounty Killer on ‘Verzuz’ tomorrow night seems to be ruffling some feathers in Jamaica since the announcement was made on Wednesday.
The online musical battle, started in March by Beatz and fellow producer Timbaland, has seen the best in hip hop, rap, and RnB square-off to unprecedented online views. But no matchup has needed more explanation, it seems, as the one between the dancehall heavyweights. Social media users have been leaving impassioned comments defending the legacy of the men, while others have dropped snarky one-liners like “who?”.
Popular Dancehall selector Tony Matterhorn has also voiced his thoughts on the upcoming clash, criticizing the deejays for supporting other platforms instead of shows like his quarantine party series.
“Strength fi strength…support fi support,” Matterhorn vented to comedian Majah Hype during a recent Instagram live. “Killer mi nah support yuh cause yuh nah support our culture… Beenie coulda seh ‘zagga’ til God come, mi a bench dem fi a week… Go do unno clash; mi alright wid unno clash, mi nuh alright wid unno.”
He added, “Since quarantine mi nuh see none a unno come on our live, and a our live a maintain the dancehall.”
Though he made it clear that, “mi nav nuh problem with Swizz Beatz,” the rapper seemed to have gotten wind of his sentiments and shared his reasons for including Jamaica in the viral series.
“We can’t do Verzuz and don’t represent where the clash comes from…I know better than that and the culture knows better than that,” Beatz expressed to DJ Noire in a subsequent Live.
“Shout out to Bounty, shout out to Beenie. This is a clash but it’s also a celebration…and it’s also for people who weren’t around at that time to be able to understand some legacy from Jamaica. Jamaica and the Caribbean have been such leaders in sound, leaders in style, that I feel like in 2020 that needs to be represented and brought back to the table…
“So it’s all good. Tell Tony Matterhorn I said what’s up, what’s poppin’, get your mind right King, you know we doing it for the people. This is not just about me, this is not just about Timbaland, but this is about the people and you know we celebrate you too King.”
The producer made it known that he is no culture vulture and said his love affair with sound clash culture started several years ago when he, too, was a DJ.
“I was honored to DJ at many, many parties longside many, many artistes from Jamaica, in Jamaica, outside of Jamaica… whether it was Spanish Town, whether it was Kingston – the track record is what it is,” he said. “This is not just something that is today, it’s so long ago that I would feel bad and wrong if I wasn’t representing this today. That’s just it.”
The icing on his cake of gratitude will be the ‘Verzuz’ after-party, which will see the longstanding Stone Love sound system on the ones and twos.
“Even the DJs that’s been doing clashes, I show you love,” he said. “Don’t take what I’m doing personal…just know that Jamaica and the Caribbean has a hold that’s going on the biggest platform in the world. ‘Verzuz’ is one of the biggest platforms celebrating artistes and we have to celebrate Jamaica – that’s point, blank period. Everybody gotta tune in so we can break the numbers and let the people know that the Caribbean is not to be messed with.”
Beenie Man also came to his defense, acknowledging the contributions Beatz has made to the Jamaican music industry.
“Dem know how much Jamaicans Swizz Beatz mek buss inna America, including myself?” he asked during a recent Instagram live. “People ask, ‘why that platform?’… Because mi need to do this for the world, not only Jamaica…we need fi do it for di white, Indian, Syrian, everybody who listen to dancehall music.”
For those still not sold, Bounty Killer left a special hashtag in his promotional post. “If you don’t know, this is not for you.”