‘Bounty and Beenie are like my brothers’ - Swizz Beatz upset with Billboard snubbing dancehall legends on Verzuz story
When Billboard magazine released the digital cover art for its story on the Verzuz battles, the omission of the faces of dancehall legends Bounty Killer and Beenie Man did not go unnoticed.
Fans of the iconic duo immediately began to cry foul, highlighting that for the two men, who had one of the best clashes in Verzuz history, the non-inclusion was a downright insult.
US producer Swizz Beatz, who co-founded Verzuz with rapper/producer Timbaland, immediately photoshopped the cover, swapping his and Timbaland’s faces with those of the dancehall legends. In an interview with THE STAR, Swizz Beatz said when he saw the cover, he knew Billboard blundered.
“I was 100 per cent shocked when I saw the cover. I knew they couldn’t fit everybody on the cover because there were many more faces that were left off it, but I definitely knew that Beenie and Bounty definitely shoulda been there,” he said. “These outlets and magazines, they have a world of their own. We knew they were doing a story and they were including everyone in the story but when we asked about the cover, they always secretive and so we didn’t see the cover until today (yesterday) which is why I had no problems photoshopping Beenie and Bounty in instead of me and Timbaland’s faces.” Swizz Beatz said the Verzuz battle between the dancehall legends is in the top three on the show.
“That clash is the reason why we now have the people in the same room. Bounty, Beenie and Digicel made that possible. It was a ground breaker and the ground breakers should have definitely been on the cover,” he said.
Remedying the situation
The Grammy-winning producer added that Billboard should definitely try remedying the situation on its platform but said that if not, his re-purposed cover has been uploaded to his own Instagram account, as well as those belonging to Timbaland and Verzuz.
“I don’t ever depend on other people to do things that we know are right. As far as we’re concerned, my Instagram, Timbaland’s Instagram and Verzuz’s Instagram combined, is way more people than Billboard’s Instagram so whether they do it or they don’t, we did it and it’s out there as our cover,” he said. “Bounty and Beenie know for sure that I’m always going to do the right thing. Our relationship is two decades old now. My relationship with Jamaica is years on top of years and there’s never been a misstep with me and Jamaica, ever!” He said that because of the respect, he couldn’t have done Verzuz without a clash between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer.
“They were the first persons on it outside the United States and that’s out of the respect I have for Jamaica and the relationships I have in Jamaica. Bounty and Beenie are like my brothers. Sharon (Burke) who was also a major part of the clash, we’re all family,” he said.
When THE STAR contacted both Bounty Killer and Beenie Man for a comment, their respective representatives declined comment, as Swizz Beatz and the Verzuz platform had ‘fixed’ things.
Both artistes also took to their social media platforms to repost the producer’s photoshopped cover.