It is no secret that Jay is a genius. He made it out of the Marcy projects in Brooklyn to the top of not just Hip Hop music, but music overall. So when he saw the success that Beenie Man and Bounty Killer had on the Swizz Beatz / Timbaland produced Verzuz, the rapper turned CEO had some bright ideas.
At the time of Beenie Man verzuz Bounty Killer, Buju Banton was already signed to Roc Nation and far advanced in working on his upcoming album “Upside Down 2020”. It would have been easy for Jay Z to reach out Swizz Beatz and have Buju do a verzuz to help promote the album but who would be a good fit to match the Beenie and Bounty level? Who in Reggae Dancehall has the kind of appeal that Buju Banton does? Well, the closest person to Buju would be Vybz Kartel; however, the latter is serving a life sentence so a verzuz between the two would not be almost possible. While Kartel makes new music non-stop from behind bars, a verzuz would be difficult for the warders to allow without people getting in trouble.
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Leave it up to Jay Z to have a Buju verzuz Kartel even though the world boss is behind bars. What Jay Z did is something he has done before. In 2018 when his nemesis Nas was making a comeback after a long hiatus from rap with the Kanye West produced album “Nasir”, Jay pulled a sneaky marketing tactic and released “Everything is Love” an album with him and wife, Beyoncé, just a day after Nas’ album. Many in Hip Hop, including 50 Cent thought it was a dirty move by Jay.
“That was fucked up what they did to Nas,” 50 Cent said at the time. “That’s fucked up. I know what you did to Nas, Jay.” He continued, referring to the pair’s prior beef. “This n*gga still slapping him without everybody noticing.”
To 50 Cent, what Jay Z did was foul but to the Marcy businessman it was a great publicity aimed to get people talking and that’s exactly what it did.
Fast forward two years and Jay Z is bringing back old tricks to get people talking about the album release for his newest signee to the Roc Nation label. Buju Banton is releasing his album on June 26th and despite the fact that Vybz Kartel already released an album earlier this year, Jay Z convinced him to release yet another one on the same day as Buju Banton’s. Vybz Kartel’s album is titled “Of Dons and Divas” and Kartel has already predicted that his album will win the Reggae Grammy Award.
It will be interesting to see who will win this face off. Also, will either artist be able to overthrow Reggae Gold 2020 which always dominate the Reggae Charts at this time of the year.
One thing is for sure, Dancehall Reggae will win as fans are excited as they eagerly await the releases this Friday. The only question is whether the genre will win as big as it did when Bounty and Beenie faced off on Verzuz.