I guess by now most of you heard about the Verzuz platform. It is a competition between two artists; one may call it a digital sound clash. It is in the spirit of the classic sound clash where two rival sounds (stereo equipment) would set up in a dance hall and play their repertoire of records while the Master of Ceremony (MC), Disc Jockey (D.J), singers or whatever they call themselves will perform. They will rap, sing, toast, sometimes hurling insults and challenges at each other. By a certain time of the night, one of the sounds is declared the winner of the session.
During the shelter in place lock down to battle the Corona virus COVID 19; two veteran music producers Swizz Beatz, and Justin Timbaland put together Verzuz to bring the friendly clash of music between two featured rivalries.
During the past couple of months the verzuz platform has developed that it got the attention of the Billboard magazine that has put out an article (click here to view article) about the platform. Along with the article, Billboard put the image likeness of the big named Artists that were featured on the verzuz platform on the cover of the magazine.
O.K, now y’all maybe thinking “big deal;” well under normal circumstances it would not have been a big deal; except for that not featuring Bounty Killer and Beenie Man two of the biggest Superstars from the Island of Jamaica was considered a snub; an insult and a big disrespect as far as Jamaica, dance hall fans, and the Caribbean diaspora is concerned.
Well, you may ask; why is it important to include Bounty Killer & Beenie Man on the cover? It is because their performance pulled in the greatest numbers. They had over 450,000 (1/4 of a million) people watching the live performance. Much more watched the video afterwards. Official numbers are confirming that between the live performance and the video that over one million people has watched and enjoyed the performance.
Bounty Killer and Beenie Man’s performance raised the bar and standard for future sessions on the verzuz platform. So naturally one may think that they would honor them by putting their image on the front cover of the magazine along with the other big name artist. But that was not to be.
Charlemagne Tha God one of the hosts of the popular radio show “The Breakfast Club” summed it up by saying that Bill Board magazine caters to an American audience and that Bounty Killer and Beenie Man do not have the star power among the American audience to attract high magazine sales. Perhaps the Editor decided to leave them off for that reason.
There is talk that Swizz Beatz, and Justin Timbaland actually approved what they were going to put on the cover. While others are saying that what appears on the magazine cover is the sole discretion of the Editor. Even the person who wrote the article has nothing to do with what appears on the cover.
Amidst the backlash, perhaps the Bill Board Magazine staff has recognized what kind of mistake they made. But what are they going to do to rectify it? At least Beatz and Timbaland photo shopped the cover on their end and replaced their image with that of Bounty Killer & Beenie Man. But many a critic in Jamaica dismissed it and said that it is just a gesture, a ploy to keep the critics from voicing their outrage over the situation.
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