Out with the old, in with the new
When it comes to the year’s end, we’re all looking for a party that feels like it’s 1999.
Sound system King Jyrus aren’t worried about Y2K or the impending apocalypse this New Year’s Eve.
The group have found success in their popular reggae night, Need for Ninetyz, since it started in 2011. This year, it’s Need for Ninetyz Meets 2000z; guest DJs will play songs from the next decade.
“The 2000s was a very popular time in the reggae scene,” said King Jyrus co-founder Jibri Lewis.
“A lot of dancing songs came out — artists like Elephant Man and Beanie Man.”
Music will be spun by King Jyrus Sound, King Star Muzik, Selecta Fray and Mark P, “groups that people would remember as being good sound systems that played in the Nineties”.
His promise is that the Clayhouse regulars will bring back the feel of the legendary venue to the RAA Club on Sunday.
King Jyrus was started in 1996.
“The sound system culture was strong in Bermuda at that time. We were very young and inexperienced, but extremely motivated to achieve our goal,” said co-founder Llewellyn Peniston Jr.
Seeking advice from Troy “Pinks” Lewis, owner of The Embassy Crew, they came together to form one sound system.
“It made sense because we were all friends with the same common goal,” Mr Peniston said.
“We were young but that didn’t stop us. We had a house amp, two belt-driven turntables, a two-channel mixer, and a car speaker. One of the first things [Pinks] taught us was that we needed to know how to play various types of music, because it would help us to display our talent even more.”
From sessions to clubs to parties, to corporate events to parade floats, they’ve hosted events around the island and beyond — New York, Canada and New Jersey.
Mr Peniston, Mr Lewis, and Bakari Smith (DJ iBreeze) were joined by Jason Darrell (Mista Genius) in 2015 and Earshun DeShields (DJ Hershey) the following year.
The DJs are deft at juggling music of all genres, old and new.
Mr Darrell said: “We share the same philosophy. We believe in working hard, not just playing music, but also the behind-the-scene preparations that most people have no idea takes place.
“We all do this for the love of the reggae and sound system culture in Bermuda.
King Jyrus has been contributing to the culture for the past 22 years consistently and keeps going strong.
“We all grew up on this culture, but it is not something that just stands still — it keeps evolving and growing.”
Mr DeShields started playing music in 2006 and got fully involved in the scene in 2008, after the birth of his son.
The DJ said he has “a new school talent” with “an old school mindset”.
“I am loyal, dedicated and hard working,” he said.
“Anytime you hear my name, you hear the King Jyrus Sound effect behind it. Everybody on this team works hard because, in this business, it’s not all playing music.
“There is a lot of work that goes into preparation and most people only see the final result.
“That was one of the things that drew me to King Jyrus. I saw the work that they put in over the years. King Jyrus is a family.”
He believes people are looking for something different this New Year’s Eve.
“That is what they are looking for, not just the regular parties. It’s going to have that Clayhouse feel when you danced and sang all night.”
Mr Smith added: “We play all types of music from old to new, but people love the way we play [the] Ninetiess.
“Our Nineties reggae segments bring back memories for people. It was a strong era for reggae. So many hit songs and artists came out; the reggae industry was strong.”
The DJ held the first Need for Ninetyz to celebrate his birthday in 2011.
“The response was crazy,” he said. “People sang and danced all night.
“They have all been successful. For me, the most memorable Need for Ninetyz was the Clayhouse Edition in 2015. It had over 400 people and the vibes felt like we were all back in Clayhouse.”
He is excited about introducing the next decade to their repertoire.
“The 2000s was also a historical era in dancehall. It was an era of dancing and Gull y and Gaza coming on to the scene. There was a shift when new artists like Mavado and Vibez Kartel came out.”
King Star Muzik, Selecta Fray and Mark P also played at the historical reggae venue Clayhouse. They hope it will give the event an authentic feel.
“People just want to have a good time so we want this to be the people’s party,” said Mr Lewis.
Need for Ninetyz Meets 2000z kicks off at 10pm on Sunday at RAA Club, St George’s. Tickets are $30 at MenCo on Reid Street or through King Jyrus or $40 at the gate Instagram: @kingjyrussoundSoundCloud: djibreeze SoundCloud: mistagenius
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