By CLAUDE MILLS AND KANDRE' MCDONALD, STAR Writers
Capleton - file
WHEN BEENIE MAN and Capleton performed together at the 'A St. Mary Mi Come From' show at Grays Inn Sports Complex, Annotto Bay, St. Mary, last week, it sent a clear signal that the animosity between two of dancehall's greatest artistes was over.
"Ah just music. It is a natural inspiration, ah whole energy and vibe, we have to send a message to the youths dem that we need to unify. The people need to unify, no division ting," Capleton said.
It is no secret that it was not always like this between the deejays over the last six years or so. Things got sour between the two in 1998, and they began an intense feud and Capleton declared he would not perform on the same stage with Beenie Man and counteracted the song Hypocrite.
The deejays upped the ante with the infamous on-stage incident in July 1998 at the reggae show Culturama held at the Downing Stadium in New York. Beenie Man had walked on during Capleton's performance, and Capleton got irate and began swearing at Beenie Man. Capleton eventually had to be removed from the stage by show officials.
This incident quickly escalated into a 'bomb rush' at the Norman Manley Airport where minions of Capleton waited in ambush to chastise the deejay for 'dissing' the 'King'. Beenie Man was reportedly boxed by a group of men. There were reportedly death threats issued to a number of Rastafarian artistes after the incident, and the tension between the two artistes grew.
Even though Capleton had vowed not to perform on the same stage with Beenie Man there were a few instances that the artistes did so.
In 2002 they performed on the same stage at Sting. In an interview with THE STAR after the show 'The Prophet' explained that he performed because the fans wanted him to do so. However, this was after they had performed on the same stage in 2001 at Chuck Fender's Birthday Bash.
In 2001 Capleton had refused to perform at Reggae Sumfest when he was informed that Beenie Man was billed alongside himself for dancehall night. To get both artistes on the show the promoters moved Beenie to international night.
But 'The Prophet' was meaner in one of their encounter. At the staging of 'A St. Mary Mi Come From` in 2001 `The Doctor', who was a part of the audience was called on stage by deejay Elephant Man to join the entertainers on stage but alas - an irate Capleton decided that he would not allow Beenie Man to perform, whilst in the background a 'flag waving' follower of The Prophet waved a flag at Beenie Man's head while calling down fire on him.
The newly found peace is being enjoyed by both artistes who pointed out that the unity was necessary for the music to move forward.
Capleton explained to THE STAR how the peace process began. "Well, I was on Teenfest this year, and he walked on, we hold a vibe, and chant, and after that, he came to see me, and invite me to his stage show in Waterhouse, and we go, and mash it up, and I invite him to my show, and him come," Capleton explained during a phone interview on Wednesday.
Beenie Man at the press launch of Summer Sizzle, which took place on Wednesday at Jamaica Pegasus Hotel spoke about the success of 'A St. Mary Mi Come From' and the time he shared with Capleton on stage.
"Capleton show was a success. Di Fireman decide fi work onstage with mi. Who woulda believe that one time?" Beenie could not be reached for further comments.
Capleton is seemingly pleased with the way things have transpired over the last week and even went on to discuss how he has aided in building other artistes.
"Right now, the whole ah dem look up to Capleton, ah just the power of the music right now, it is not about confrontation. I said the music is a mission not a competition and the fans defend we. A lot of them use my energy to put out dem first efforts. Ask Ninjaman, ah my energy buss most of them, so right now, ah just power, love and the message. The yutes dem too easily led astray, and it hard to blot out the bad tings, so we ah try mek a difference to what going on now," he said.
There seems to be some truth to Capleton's claims of being the mentor/inspiration of many dancehall artistes. Beenie Man himself acknowledged the deejay's influence in `Heaven vs. Hell,` which appeared on the `Blessed` album for Island Records:
"Heaven vs. Hell/Yu gwine hear lyrics until yu head top swell.../Mi haffi big up de yute Capleton/Who inspire de deejay fi write dis one," he said on the track.
"Capleton has matured and so has Beenie Man. I remember both of them were on a flight together coming from a VP Records show in Miami, and they were in the airport talking to each other, and walking together, and Patrick said, 'bowy, I can't tell you how happy I am to see them talking to each other'. This just shows that the business has reached a level of maturity that we should try to maintain," Capleton's manager, Claudette Kemp said.