Beenie Man and Bounty Killer’s Verzuz battle was a fan favourite of the Instagram ‘chune for chune’ series started by producers Timbaland and Swizz Beatz, amassing more than half a million views on Instagram alone. So after Billboard completely snubbed the dancehall heavyweights by omitting them from their Verzuz Effect cover, the anger and confusion were quick, and in response, the hashtag #TimeNow was created.
It’s being used by dancehall artiste to demand respect from digital streaming platforms, international media, and award shows.
The message, signed by “the Jamaican Music Industry” has been reposted many times by artistes and entertainers like Bounty Killer, Beenie Man, Jada Kingdom, and Noami Cowan.
“Prominence and priority is given to derivatives of our music, yet we are mostly excluded from premium pages of the major streaming services. Two pillars of our music – Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, raised and set the bar for Verzuz (an idea based on our sound system culture.) Their streams went up 216% (2nd highest of all Verzuz battle participants). You continue to make the argument that our music doesn’t sell or stream well but who is going to listen to what they can’t find?”
The message extols the influence of dancehall music.
“#Reggae and #Dancehall have been beating the drum and bass loudly for decades and had you all nodding heads and whining waists. We birthed Hip Hop, Reggaeton, spawned Dance music genres and influenced countless sub-cultures that all went through gates that remain closed to us. You continue to ignore the source.”
However, because the genres are not available on some streaming platforms, Jamaican artistes are at a disadvantage.
“Without major label backing we have zero chance of being on New Music Friday or Feelin’ Myself or Mood Booster, the post continues. “Our #s will not reflect our popularity if the consumers cannot find us. #TimeNow you let the consumers discover our new music too”.
“Jamaican artistes also stand to lose out on opportunities and endorsements because the streaming numbers don’t reflect their popularity, reach or impact.” According to the post, “Potential partners (labels, endorsements) love our vibe but look at our #s on your platforms and think that nothing is happening for us.”