Written By Yuval Peretz
"Bua, Bua, Bua!" The hyped up yelling of gunshot sounds and shouts of "Pull-Up" all freeze to a roaring “YOOOOOOOOOO” in the commanding voice that Sizzla posses. He follows up with what seemed like a calling; "New York, Brooklyn, Queens, Bedstuy, Yonkers, Philly, New Jersey, Long Island, di whole entire place, di whole America North and South.” He makes sure everybody is feeling his words, power and sound.
After eight long years Miguel Collins’ U.S. work visa was reinstated in order for Sizzla Kalonji to take the stage for the first time ever at B.B. King's in Times Square. The iconic club was filled from wall to wall with an eager crowd (that has seen their share of Jamaican artists cancel shows over the years), ready to erupt for the long awaited legend to preform in the Big Apple. Long awaited seemed to be the theme of the night… “I’ve got so many songs you know”, Sizzla kept mentioning as he rattled off another hit tune. It seemed he was trying to make up for lost time and give the NYC crowd as much as he could out of his long repertoire of hit songs.
DJ Norie started the night, getting the crowd to give it up for foundation tunes and calling up younger artists making sure to set the vibes for what would be a real Jamaican stage show. The amount of "pull-ups" once Sizzla was up is no surprise considering he showcased Da Real Thing and Black Woman & Child. He started off with a Ganja themed medley that got everyone hyped and the place filled with a large cloud of white smoke. With phones non-stop flashing and recording, Sizzla took a few moments to talk about current U.S. affairs like the elections and Black Lives Matter movement. He quickly changed it up going into a love-medley getting some extra cheers from his large female presence in the audience.
As the special night continued we reached the calling and crowd freezing moment mentioned earlier and the place went on an epic sing along to Dem A Wonder. In true Jamaican fashion, out of nowhere comes Ras Shiloh to the surprise and cheers of the Conscious-Reggae faithful crowd. Staying on the same riddim, Shiloh performed 3 hooks capped by Unto Zion, walking off and leaving everyone begging for more. And more was soon to come when Sizzla said he’d like to bring his friend out - Ky-Mani Marley. Everyone was going mad at this point and the whole place chanted along to Marley singing a couple of his father's’ classic songs.
Throughout the night, neither the crowd nor Sizzla seemed to let the energy levels drop for even a moment. It turned out to be a great welcome to NYC for Sizzla and a great welcome to Jamaica for the crowd. In a city where artists seem to adjust their performance style to the crowd, this night made the crowd adjust to the Jamaican performance style and stage-show.