Who’d have ever thought that the biggest virtual music battle viewed by thousands globally, would now be at the centre of a firestorm between Jamaicans and US music executives? Well, it’s happening.
A recent Billboard Magazine feature that saw the faces of Jamaican dancehall heavyweights, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer displaced, angered Jamaicans everywhere and Caribbean people were generally ready to wage war, as for yet another time it seemed like US music execs had used Caribbean culture to garner their own gains, in the end reducing the artists’ efforts to nothing.
Over the past week, following the release of Billboard Magazine’s cover art for the VERZUZ music battle feature, the reality sunk in that Beenie Man and Bounty Killer’s spectacular show back in May seemingly did nothing in the minds of Billboard’s executives who chose to eliminate the Caribbean artistes from the cover art while showing off international acts like Jill Scott, DMX, Alica Keys, John Legend, Snoop Dogg and others. This infuriated many Jamaicans- well known radio personality, DJ Sparks arguing that the move was pure disrespect. Jamaicans beneath her Instagram post on Monday, signalled plans to “unfollow” Verzuz altogether.
Creators of Verzuz, US music producers, Timbaland and Swizz Beats, have since attempted to pacify the situation, posting a video to social media and saying that they had photoshopped themselves out and replaced their faces with those of the Jamaican artistes in solidarity with the arguments presented that Beenie and Bounty Killer’s battle had essentially promoted VERZUZ like nothing else had.
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Swizz Beatz has since said that he doesn’t want the current controversy surrounding the Billboard cover art reporting on the ‘Verzuz Effect’, to cloud the fact that to date, dancehall legends Bounty Killer and Beenie Man have delivered one of the best clashes the online show has seen.
Speaking with the Jamaica Gleaner, he said the clash was far too iconic to be marred by Billboard’s clear misrepresentation. “Sometimes I wish we were able to see things before they come out. Not to critique journalism or critique the person that’s doing the write-up, but to actually help them because sometimes a person isn’t really tapped into the culture like that. If we were able to see the cover we woulda told them real quick that ‘hey, no disrespect to such and such but Bounty and Beenie gotta be there’. These two legends who are like brothers to me helped to change the face of the Verzuz battle, and so without a doubt, their faces deserved to be there.”
He explained that he did not want the world to think that the Verzuz fraternity was in any way involved in Billboard’s misstep and that was why they attempted to “redo” the cover art in their own way. “The pride of the town is something that has always been a big deal with Jamaicans. Me and Tim are powerful guys but people feel like we had control over that (Billboard cover) and I am a little bit shocked at that. We want people to know that we wouldn’t overlook (Beenie Man and Bounty Killer) like that, no way we would,” he said to the Gleaner.
Meanwhile, Naima Cochrane, the journalist who wrote the feature has since distanced herself from the corntroversy saying that she had no part to play in the creation of the cover art. “I did not have any input in the cover nor did I see it- writers rarely do, if ever do. I saw it today when the rest of the world saw it,” she said in response to someone online.
Beenie Man, one of the artistes caught in the middle of the firestorm, has since said this is what the dancehall genre faces. “Everybody fwd and tek piece and build up dem thing and then do everything to undermine the genre DANCEHALL where they got it from.” The artiste dubbed ‘The King of the Dancehall” argued that no matter the hard work, no matter how powerful the music is, “them still try it every time them get a chance.”
Zess Producer, DNyce Nation Unleashes the Unthinkable. Could Others Follow?
Known for his involvement in the Zess music fraternity in Trinidad and Tobago, producer DNyce of DNyce Nation has made us look, unleashing something far from the norm, and proving his ability to masterfully go beyond the typical. He sings on the single, collaborated on with none other than multiple title holder, Shurwayne Winchester- something he says, is a first for him. What’s funny is, his first vocal effort, is pretty extraordinary.
Speaking with Ebuzztt following the release of “Ring De Bell”, DNyce, who’s real name is Dike David Pererria, said the song came from a place of gratitude. He explained that his single with Shurwanyne sits on the Colours Riddim and features several other artistes, among them, Potential Kid, Ace Boss and Vice, Bass, Skem and Melick. “It’s an honour to be able to sing alongside such a great artist like Shurwayne himself and it’s an honour to be able to produce a song like this,” said the young producer. He noted that the track was meant for Shurwayne and he had no intention of singing on it however, upon realising a need for a second voice, he offered to give it a try. “The song really came about due to me being so grateful and so happy about life itself and knowing that I am blessed with the opportunity to still have something to do, knowing that there are other people who aren’t as fortunate,” he said. DNyce acknowledged the support given by Shurwayne over time, saying, “Shurwayne being a person who has taught me so many things in terms of the music industry and how to go forward with my business, I couldn’t think of anybody else to sing something like this.”
The single encapsulates the concepts of spirituality and life; “It connects both life and God in one song,” said the writer and producer. Speaking on the Zess movement, he made it clear that it is not a new genre but rather, something created by Trinidad and Tobago, that he believes, once packaged properly, could have global impact. “A lot of the new acts coming up, I’m behind,” he admitted, noting that Zess is a new style of Caribbean music, that has originated from T&T. “It’s a taste of Soca with a branch of dancehall,” he clarified, adding, “I know where I can see this style going- I know what I see and what my passion when it comes to the production of the sound is, the whole happy side of the Zess thing. I can see that reaching very far as a new style of our music; I believe it can reach global markets but yet, we still have the negative side so while I can see it going global, I can only hope that the other artistes that support the style, turn their direction into a more commercial side of things.”
DNyce told EBUZZTT that this single is one of the most positive singles delivered out of the Zess style. “For the 90% of the time that T&T’s dancehall has been getting a hearing, the radio stations and the people in charge have only been promoting the negative side of the movement,” he said, going on to say, “This is one of the most positive crossovers ever to be created within the whole Zess forum. I’m not saying that there haven’t been positive songs before that have gotten a hearing but this is something that a lot of people have been trying to do, which is to make the whole cross between the Soca and the Zess. I feel this is one of the real openings that could affect these young people’s lives not just by telling them what’s the right thing to do, but by giving it to them in a way that they can enjoy.”
“This is one of the most connecting songs of the last three years. It has connected life and God in one message.”DNyce
A part of the music and production business for over 15 years, the DNyce Nation boss told us that he had to move his business from his home in St. Barbs, Laventille, to Belmont, noting that many artistes refused to enter Laventille, to work at his studio. “I had to use Belmont as my address for artistes to be attracted to come to the studio. For years it was a fight. I was unable to reach where I wanted to reach because nobody wasn’t coming to me so I really can’t forget Belmont,” he said. Confronting his truth, the young producer lamented that Laventille- his home, remains a crime hot spot, something that saddens him. “Being born and raised in a high risk, crime riddled community, I had to move my business to attract my clientele. I hope and pray for change one day.”
DNyce Nation is now located at SW Limited, Darceuil Lane, Arima.
‘Ring De Bell’ has been unleashed, complete with a video. Be sure to check it out below.
Nessa Preppy Brings Her Virtual Vibe Just Before Further Covid Restrictions Are Imposed.
As the entertainment fraternity continues to feel the pinch of the Covid-19 restrictions, artistes are doing whatever they can to keep the fire blazing. This week, government in Trinidad and Tobago announced the re-introduction of harsher restrictions as a result of increased Covid-19 cases and deaths. The implications for the arts and culture industry, are undoubtedly exacerbated as a result.
On Tuesday, Nessa Preppy – one of Trinidad and Tobago’s female trendsetters in music, delivered her first virtual event dubbed, ‘The Art of Flex.’ The event mimicked her recently released studio album of the same name. Friends invited to take the stage with the young, Trinbago native included Salty, Patrice Roberts, Preedy, Jahllano, Christo, Rheon Elbourne, Zerimar, Dev and Ricardo Drue.
The virtual bar already set some months ago by Nadia Batson when she delivered her ‘Artform 3″ virtual event, Nessa followed with a template that, while tweaked to suit her style, engaged online audiences pretty well. An element of authenticity that brought a different vibe to Nessa’s showcase was her one on one talk segments where she gave some insight into her views about her fellow artistes, much of the time, boosting their credibility in the music biz.
If you missed the showcase on Tuesday, here it is!
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