Last month’s Best of the Best Music Fest at Bayfront Park in Downtown Miami was saturated with excitement, and the massive crowd in attendance—that braved the rainy and damp weather—certainly testified to the festival’s acclaim in being the Largest Caribbean Stage Show in North America. What’s more, this year’s staging marked Best of the Best’s 16-year anniversary, and the all-star line-up consisted top artists in the genres of reggae, dancehall, and soca—including Beres Hammond, Baby Cham, Chris Martin, Mr. Vegas, Yaksta, 10 Tik, Laa Lee Ranks, Patrice Roberts, Lyrikal, Ricardo Drue, and Pressure. Jabba of New York City’s Hot 97 fm radio along with comedian, Majah Hype, handled the MC duties. Other notables in attendance at this year’s Best of the Best concert were highly favored Jamaican dancehall deejay and hip-hop legends, Spragga Benz and Busta Rhymes.
Best of the Best Concert Vibes
Jabba of New York City’s Hot 97 fm radio
Steven Beckford, popularly known as Jabba, was born in New York City and is a legendary resident radio DJ on the city’s Hot 97 fm radio station. More than that, Jabba is an event promoter in Florida and is the co-founder, promoter, and host of the annual Best of the Best Music Festival in Miami.
Papa Keith of Miami’s 103.5 The Beat fm radio
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Papa Keith developed and sharpened his hosting and DJ skills in hip-hop and reggae clubs and, as a result, built up a buzz around his name in the streets. Eventually, that buzz along with stints on Mixx 96 and The Luke Show, led Papa Keith to be hired as host of the very popular Night Show at Miami’s 103.5 The Beat fm radio station. Indeed, Papa Keith is a much sought-after host and event MC in not only South Florida, but also in New York and the Caribbean. Given this, he certainly has proven credibility in the hip-hop, reggae, dancehall, soca, and compas community circles.
Majah Hype – the ‘King of Caribbean Comedy’
A Jamaican comedian, actor, and social media sensation, Majah Hype is very famous for his Caribbean culture-infused comedy and, as such, he is widely regarded as the ‘King of Caribbean Comedy.’
Laa Lee Ranks – the self-proclaimed ‘Tip Inna It Gad’
Hailing from the Kingston inner-city community of Jones Town, Laa Lee Ranks is a young Jamaican dancehall deejay sensation who is behind the big dancing song hits—such as ‘Tip Inna It’, ‘Dirt Bounce’, and ‘Leggo di Bird’—that have become infectious favorites in not only Jamaica, but also well beyond its shores.
Yaksta’s Performance Was Inspiring
Kemaul Martin—better known as Yaksta—is a rising Jamaican reggae and dancehall recording artist and songwriter, who hails from St. Mary, Jamaica. Having been raised by his mother and sisters, life has never been easy for Yaksta, who grew up in a ‘garrison’ community marred by crime and violence. However, Yaksta was determined to rise above and followed his passion for music a way out. ‘Hype and Bruk’, ‘See and Know’, ‘Mirror Mirror’, and ‘Ambition’ are just a few of Yaksta’s notable songs.
Pressure Graced the Best of the Best Stage with Pure ‘Love and Affection’
Pressure performed his big hit ‘Love and Affection’, which was a big moment as almost everyone in the crowd passionately sang along.
Patrice Roberts – One of the Most Sought-After Voices in Soca Music Had the Crowd ‘Bouncing’
There is little to no doubt that Trinidadian soca songstress and performer, Patrice Roberts, is presently one of the most revered artists not only in soca, but also across the Caribbean music landscape. As such, her name is always mentioned among the elite when it comes to soca music. For more almost two decades, Patrice Roberts has established herself as a magnetizing draw at premier Caribbean events and festivals in New York City, Miami, Toronto and London and throughout the Caribbean Diasporas. Most recently, Roberts’ song “Mind My Business” has been enjoying major play on virtually all music and social media platforms.
Christopher Martin’s Performance Was Much-Anticipated and He Delivered
Hailing from St. Catherine, Jamaican reggae and dancehall crooner, Christopher (‘Chris’) Martin has proven to be a golden-voiced, versatile, and gifted musical artist with longevity. In 2005, Martin won Digicel’s Rising Stars in 2005 (the Jamaican rendition of American Idol) and is best known for the songs ‘Cheaters Prayer’, ‘I’m a big deal’, ‘Let her go’, ‘Is it love’, ‘Dreams of brighter days’, ‘Better than the Stars’, and ‘Nah Go Work’—just to name a few.
Living Legend Beres Hammond’s Performance Was Simply Captivating
The energy meter at Bayfront Park arguably reached its highest-level courtesy of living legend, Beres Hammond, who opened his Best of the Best show performance with his signature ear-to-ear grin and playful demeanor. And all for good reason, as Beres Hammond is one of the most loved reggae musicians not only in his home country of Jamaica, but across the globe as well. Arguably, his vault of hits is deep and unrivaled—especially where ‘Lovers Rock’ reggae is concerned. Hammond’s eagerness to unleash his timeless classics was very discernable, and he surely quenched the thirst of his Best of the Best concert fans in quick order by uncorking a number of his gems, including: ‘Tempted to Touch’, ‘Come Back Home’, ‘Rock Away’, ‘Step Aside’, ‘What One Dance Can Do’, ‘Sweet Lies’, ‘Groovy Little Thing’, ‘Full Attention’, ‘She Loves Me Now’, ‘Double Trouble’, ‘I Feel Good’, ‘Putting Up A Resistance’, and ‘Doctor’s Orders’.
Best of the Best 2022 music festival such a huge success
This year’s 16th staging of Best of the Best certainly left a distinct, Caribbean cultural footprint by showcasing such a potent line-up of musical heavyweights whose influence has endured in reggae, dancehall and soca. And it goes without saying, kudos to the Best of the Best’s show organizers, Jabba and Ronnie Tomlinson—who certainly did a marvelous job in making the Best of the Best 2022 music festival such a huge success.
All photos by Nick Ford, who lives and works in South Florida.