Supreme Promotions chairman and founder of Sting Isaiah Laing says Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Sizzla, and Capleton are among his “10 giants of Dancehall,” who he wants to grace the show on Boxing Day this year.
The annual event, dubbed the Greatest One Night Show on Earth, is set for its home base Jamworld, in Portmore, St. Catherine, on Tuesday, December 26, and, according to Laing, although the Dancehall legends have not formally signed off on their appearances, he is confident they will be there in all their glory, as he would personally be “going for my veterans.”
“We talking about 10 of the big names in Dancehall… you don’t expect to see a likkle baby out there and call him a giant… Once wi seh veterans, you know Beenie-Bounty, an yuh woulda know seh Sizzla- Capleton. Alright, mi done. Naw guh nuh furda,” he added, when pressed to name some of the ten giants.
“Ten giants at Sting…and guess what? I’m gonna be doing the five columns too yes – the younger ones,” he added a while later.
The famed “bad bwoy police” gave the explanation during an interview with The Jamaica Star, after he was asked whether or not Supreme Promotions had changed the format used last year, where only “current artists”, were booked, and veterans “ditched.”
According to him, it was not his idea to shelve veterans in 2022, but was a decision made by other members of his team. This time, he said, he had taken command and would go for his “10 giants”.
“We never ditched veterans: at least I never ditched veterans. I, Isaiah Laing never did that. But, if the team seh wi going a particular way, I work with it. But I say ‘changes have to be made’… I am going for my veterans,” Laing stated.
When asked whether the quartet he named had been signed as yet, the promoter replied in the negative, but gave assurances that their appearance at Sting 2023 will come to fruition.
“No, they have not been signed. But this is Sting; this is their culture. So we are going to be talking very soon,” he said.
“They knew it wasn’t me who made that decision, last year,” he added laughing, whilst admitting that he was “passing the buck”.
In the aftermath of Sting 2022, an aggrieved Bounty Killer had lamented that the quality of the show, which he described as sub-par, and a “puppy-show”, was “the last nail in Sting coffin”.
The Warlord had contended that Sting had “flopped”, and that Dancehall was “stuck in a barrel and losing its appeal to the world”. He had also cautioned that if Jamaica does not take heed “and try to fix the problem right now Soca would be bigger than Dancehall”.
However, the Living Dangerously artist’s comments did not go down well with veteran music selector Foota Hype, who described the Coppershot deejay as being “ungrateful” to the show that catapulted him to stardom in 1993.
In dismissing Bounty’s statements, Foota had rebuked the deejay for making negative utterances about Sting, describing his comments as a show of ingratitude, while declaring that: “Bounty Killa mus neva throw shade at Sting!”
Foota, who was Bounty Killer’s DJ in the 1990s and part of his Alliance outfit, had declared fiercely, that no disrespect of Sting ought to be tolerated as, throughout its existence, the show had brought more positives to Dancehall artistes, as opposed to negatives, and had enrichened them in the process.
“Oonu fi measure weh Sting has done fi oonu career. Sting propel oonu inna billions a dalla…,” he had stated. “Di whole a dem become diva. Now, choo Laing weak, everybaddy ongle rememba whatever bad Laing do fi dem. Dem naw rememba what good Laing or Sting eva do fi dem!”
“Yes, Sting create some bad energy to, an some bad vibe, but all thorough the bad vibes oonu still do it di next year dem. Suh it benefit oonu more dan how it hurt oonu!” the Cassava Piece native had added.
In furtherance of his rebuke of Bounty, Foota pointed out that the Gun Ready artiste ought to be one of the biggest supporters of Sting, whether or not he is booked to perform, and that his compatriots Beenie Man, Mavado, Vybz Kartel, Ninja Man, Shabba Ranks, Super Cat, Capleton and Sizzla, were among those who ought to never, ever, be disrespectful of Sting.
Foota also went on to point out that the VERZUS battle in which Beenie and Bounty participated in 2020, was predicated on the clashes started by Sting, and therefore Sting’s place in Jamaican history ought not to be discounted.
However, the Calabar High School old boy had revealed that a proposal regarding a showdown between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, akin to VERZUZ was also shunned by both deejays.
Foota had also disclosed that Sting promoters’ efforts to have a more robust line-up for the 2022 show, were crippled by greedy veteran deejays, who demanded they be paid exorbitant performance fees, with one artiste wanting close to J$10 million (US$60,000) to perform.
According to him, being caught between a rock and a hard place, Laing and co-promoter Heavy D, were forced to draw for mainly the Millennial generation of newbies, as they did not have the budgetary support to meet the demands of the veterans, many of whom owe much of their popularity and wealth to Sting.
Foota described the wayward veterans as the real agents of destruction of Dancehall music, as in sticking to their hefty fees, they had kept grumbling and whining about Supreme Promoters’ supposed misdeeds of the past.
He argued as well, that Laing and Heavy D must not be faulted for contracting Queenie and Amari to clash at the show, as they acted out of desperation as veteran artistes had in some cases shunned the event, or proved unwilling to reduce the fees they demanded, despite knowing Sting was in rebuilding mode, and Supreme Promotions could not afford it.
Foota said that all the veteran deejays knew that it was a lack of sponsorship which had kept Supreme Promotions from staging Sting over the last seven years, and as a consequence, should have provided the support to the show which, in its heydays, propelled them to stardom.
In upbraiding those he considered Dancehall’s most influential artists, Foota said that Sting’s success was not about Laing, but was about the furtherance of the Dancehall culture, as the show is considered an institution in the genre.
Nevertheless, the Dark Knight producer said that the fact that Sting was still held, in spite of the lack of support from the veterans, was a great triumph for Supreme Promotions.