American rap star and Grammy nominee Soulja Boy had better bring his ‘A’ game to Montego Bay on Sunday night or he may very well be hard-pressed to keep up with the local dancehall stars – and adversaries – booked to perform at Barefoot Beach Party, which is this year celebrating its fifth anniversary.
Popular for chart-topping songs such as Crank That (Soulja Boy) and Kiss me Thru the Phone, the controversial rap artiste will be making his Jamaican debut.
The Jamaican contingent is headed by Dancehall King and Queen – Beenie Man and Lady Saw, respectively. However, among the star-studded line-up are the likes of Bounty Killa and his Alliance Crew, Mavado, Elephant Man, Flippa Mafia and Vybz Kartel and the Portmore Empire, many of whom are rivals and have been providing on-and off-stage controversy with their feuding.
Undoubtedly, there is heightened anticipation among dancehall enthusiasts fanatically devoted to the Gaza crew, led by Vybz Kartel, or to the Gully camp headed by Mavado. Many are wondering if these two dancehall heavyweights will perpetuate their lyrical rivalry when they strut their stuff at Tropical Beach, Sunday night.
In the meantime, if Mavado’s mentor Bounty Killer’s last Reggae Sumfest performance on Dancehall Night is anything to go by, then the dancehall king, Beenie Man, will have to dig deep into his vast repertoire to outperform his perennial rival. Bounty, having rebounded from a not-so-pleasant performance the previous year, brought his ‘big man’ act to the Sumfest stage and had many declaring that he was the best act of the night.
Flippa Mafia and Elephant Man – the mammal and the animal – two other dancehall entertainers who are now caught up in the exchange of barbs, and who have released songs back and forth ‘dissing’ each other, each time with greater intensity, should also excite during their performances.
Flippa, known as the King of Flossing, has long maintained that his intense war of words with Ele is just musical and nothing else. “It’s just pure fun . there is no bad vibes. It’s a lyrical thing that will remain on the stage and on record,” he insists.
The energy god, Elephant Man, however, has not said much about the rivalry, but has given biting commentary on record.
Meanwhile, the organisers, Flettes Promotions, have insisted that there will be no clashing at the event. They noted that despite the rivalry which exists between some of the acts every attempt have been made to prevent the various camps from confronting each other.
It was stated that the artistes’ performances have been strategically scheduled to avoid clashes.
Music for the day and night show will be provided by Tony Matterhorn, Sky Juice, Crazy Neil, Insomniak, Classique, Black Blunt, Hype Zone and DJ Skinny.