Though the EastSyde Camp is turning out Grade A talent these days, it seems there’s trouble brewing in the family. Dancehall stars Skillibeng and Rytikal, who are often compared for their similar musical style and delivery, appear to be at odds after each popped up on IG Live taking subliminal jabs at the other over the weekend.
While it’s unclear what started the beef, and though neither artist has called any names, fans have noted the sequence of events, starting from Rytikal’s prison release video, that may have triggered their “vengeance ways.”
Rytikal celebrated his recent release from prison with pool vibes and a few solid bars late last week. “EastSyde same place, anywhere/ me ah di baddest artist dem eva see, yuh nuh hear?” he spits in the Instagram video while frolicking with some friends.
The gesture seemed innocent enough until his follow-up IG Live, where the King Inna War deejay paused his curfew chill-out to get a few things off his chest.
“Mi love unnu, tell unnu dat straight”, he told those tuned in. “As bad as tings be, ah mi fans dem ah count up numbers and certain tings put mi weh mi deh yere? All di haters dem yuh haffi give thanks fi dem. Mi respec’ every artist weh do dancehall music. Because talent is talent. Weh ah artist put out deh is wah ah artist destined fi do,” Rytikal said.
It sounded a bit personal when the Cookie Jar deejay then addressed comparisons in the industry. “Every artist nah go bad di same, yuh zimmi. So yuh haffi respec di man weh do likkle. Him do wah him can wid pride an ambition an him know seh him haffi do wah him ah do an it mek sense. So if ah ten people like him song, give thanks. Ah one Rytikal man.”
Things may not have escalated so quickly between the EastSyde youngbloods if his cryptic message wasn’t set to an Alkaline soundtrack. Allegiance to Vybz Kartel‘s GAZA Empire among those in the camp is no secret, and it didn’t help matters that Rytikal was singing along to the Vendetta boss’ success toting single, Formula.
Another of Alkaline’s hits he played, Elite Only, contains the lines “Anuh everybody can do wah we do inna wah short space a time mek it look suh easy.” The 25-year-old St. Thomas native’s first song Action Pack, was recorded with Deano Deann Records before he joined the East Syde Records roster in 2017. Since then he’s grabbed attention with songs like Galaxy Brain and My World.
After he was granted bail last Thursday, Rytikal quickly debuted the song and visuals for Living, which shot to the top of YouTube Trending and is still in the Top 5.
Rytikal is also thought to have penned a few of Skilli’s hits, and fans openly ridiculed the content and concepts of his latest efforts, Coke and Yo!, both of which dropped while Rytikal was incarcerated.
He’s already making up for lost time, and according to him, his next move will leave both fans and foes shook. “The game ah change enuh. Di ultimate change is not dere yet, look out fi it, truss me”, Rytikal added on IG Live. “Whole heap a work a fawud, unnu nuh see nutn yet man. The journey just begun.”
Skillibeng Blasts ‘Some Ungrateful Bwoy’
It appears Rytikal’s “baddest artist” comment and nod to GAZA rival Alkaline provoked Skillibeng to fire off a response on Instagram hours later. Linking up with up-and-coming artist Laro Don to promote their RoadMan Trap Remix, Skilibeng lashed out at certain “ungrateful” elements during the lit Instagram Live session.
“Mi hear some bwoy ah talk enuh like dem nuh know ah who ah di real b—t Eastsyde don. No other don fi EastSyde yuh hear? One Skilli, One Beng,” Mr Universe began.
The Crocodile Teeth deejay reminded the unnamed offender that there was no room for anarchy in the camp. “Unnu know ah one EastSyde. P—y unnu love segregation too much go suck unnu mada.”
He left a final warning before he resumed their virtual vibing.
“Laro yuh see some ungrateful b—y bwoy, mi nuh know dem and mi nuh memba dem yere?” Skillibeng said. “P—y unnu ah go gwaan an gwaan till me overshadow unnu, yere, an ah dat unnu waan mi do. Unnu heart nuh clean yute, ah dat mi ah pree.”
Beefing has remained a controversial element of Dancehall, yet very rarely is there an in-house squabble or one that becomes public knowledge. With disses recorded on either side, the situation could turn into a lyrical showdown, not unlike the Jahmiel vs. Chronic Law debacle in 2020 or the Popcaan vs Mavado tiff of 2016.
Still, others are hopeful this is merely a misunderstanding or an elaborate stunt like Spice’s ‘bleaching’ to build buzz for an upcoming project. As more veterans lament the state of the music and the size of the egos among key players, this could be a major blow for the ‘collaboration over confrontation’ campaign.