Stepping into the venue nicknamed ‘the ballgrung’ by Transformahz lead Mic man (@Brush1tfz) was like walking into a barren wasteland as tumbleweeds rumbled across the grassy terrain. I was surprised at this frightening visual and was certain the event was postponed. I checked the time, phone illuminated, it was 10:30pm.
The barren wasteland transformed into a bountiful crowded thoroughfare as caravans of patrons wheeled into FREEWAY. I was now excited as the traffic buildup in FREEWAY rivalled the Mandela highway on basically any given day. I checked the time, phone illuminated, it was 12:15am. It was time for the show to begin.
Jamaica boasts a truckload of musical talent and FREEWAY was the vehicle that transported patrons to this musical destination. The show kicked off with the wizardry of Transformahz sound as they maneuvered the early ‘jugglings’ skillfully as any taxi on the Half-way-Tree to Papine route.
They delved into the not so distant past of Dancehall music, revisited tracks such as Vybz Kartel’s ‘Life we living’ and Ding Dong’s “Badman Fawud” among others. These tracks infected the punctual patrons with music fever that could only be cured with classic dance moves and shouts of “bad song selecta”. A female close by me proceeded to do the ‘badman fawud’ dance but forgot to pull up which was quite a tragic sight. The legend Bogle once said “Everybody can dance but anu everybody a danca”.
Following Transformahz set, the patrons of FREEWAY were then chauffeured to their next musical destination as their new driver was DJ MAC. DJ MAC’s set was a mixture of pure musical delight as his selections quenched the patrons’ unstoppable thirst for entertainment. His set started strongly as he called forth the hidden rastas’ within us with Sizzla’s ‘Just one of those days’ and Damian Marley’s ‘Welcome to Jamrock’ among others. He led the congregation in singing one of dancehall’s forever hymns, Vybz Kartel’s ‘Swear to Jah’. This called forth the fire breathing angels as patrons turned the night sky into a fiery painting. His set started to become modern as his selections brought us to the present. Squash’s ‘Ooh la la’ received chants of “six six six six” and I wondered when will numbers stop haunting me. DJ MAC did a solid set and was rewarded with firearms of all sorts firing blanks as patrons sounded their approvals.
Captain Heavy D of Chromatic Airlines carried the FREEWAY patrons international as his set consisted of some of the hottest hip hop tracks. ‘Money’ By Cardi B was a female favourite as shrieks of “Okuuuuuuurt” conveyed their exuberance. Chromatic Airline – Flight FREEWAY876 was suddenly rocked by turbulence due to Drake’s ‘Look Alive’ & Sheck Wes’ ‘Mo Bamba’ as the crowd rocked the ‘grung’ with an energy that JPS (Jamaica Public Service) would envy. Heavy D was an amazing captain as he landed us at Performance International where we were greeted by our voluptuous custom officer Jada Kingdom.
Jada Kingdom did an amazing set, she was clothed in attire that would make a blind man scream for mercy. She matched this eye dropping look with a strong performance, reaching for tracks such as ‘Love Situations’ , ‘ One Time’ , ‘ Better Than That’ and ‘Wasteman’. The women loved every one of these songs while the men were occupied with picking up their jaws off the ground. She finished her set with the fruitful hit ‘Banana’ which she performed with Stalk.Ashley who is an amateur with veteran talent.
THE CHOPPA GAD ! 7 DAYS A WEEEK! MAN CHOP! The man that has the younger generation running for the hills in excitement every time the track ‘Mark X & Axio’ is played, stepped onto the FREEWAY stage with shouts of pure zeal. His arrival unto the stage turned the patrons into physical depictions of adrenaline as sparks of life disrupted the night sky. Tracks such as ‘Head Banga’ and ‘Like We’ created a frenzy as no one could contain themselves. However when the instrumental for his HIT song ‘ Mark X & Axio’ started to play , ‘the ball grung’ was turned into Ace Gawd world as shouts, screams, shrieks even laughs streamed out of FREEWAY. The only word to describe his performance was bliss, just pure, natural bliss.
Ace Gawd’s departure from Performance International signaled the arrival of Unruly Airlines being captained by Quada. We all boarded the plane and was greeted with tracks such as ‘Unruly Camp’ and ‘Reflex’. The crowd was captured by Quada’s raspy voice but direct and clear lyrics as we enjoyed every minute of the Unruly camp’s brightest prospect. His final track was ‘Celebration’ and as everyone in the venue sang along to those iconic words “Nothing like when pocket full a cash …….. It’s a celebration every time we link up, yeah” , I totally meant it. It is indeed a celebration when we as Jamaicans are together in a space supporting our own young talent in a positive manner.
We must all continue on our personal freeway as we aim to reach our true destination.