As driving rhythms pumped revelers at Gray's Inn Sports Complex, St Mary in the wee hours of Jamaica’s independence morning, angry words were spewed in chants, blows were thrown and a barrage of fighting men took over the stage for about 15 minutes. The overarching problem seemed to be that neither Sizzla nor Norris Man ever heard about putting their mind in gear before putting their mouth in action.
While a few DJs were on stage taking turns at riding the rhythms, Norris Man came out on stage and took a turn himself – with a chant that included: "Yow – no man can't tell me notin, many artists are backstage… man like Jah Cure, Capleton and dem man deh…" This motivated the crowd to roar in a frenzy and it also set off the fracas that started after Sizzla's response.
Taking his turn on the mike, Sizzla said to Norris Man, "Behave your Blood****t self and come off of the stage!"
Norris Man's response was, "Go s**k yu mother," then he started to walk off the stage when a bunch of men descended onto the stage. A fist fight developed. One patron said that this staged mini mayhem was an unfortunate display of immaturity from 2 of Jamaica’s biggest "public attitude problems."
Capleton came on stage and was understandably upset at his professional colleagues’ thoughtlessness for not only the audience members but also the reputation of "A St Mary Mi Come From." Last month, the show's organizers spoke proudly at a launch, about their violence free track record. He chastised those responsible for the fracas asking if their intent was to destroy 'Rasta Ting.'
Sizzla and Norris Man then returned to the stage and believe it or not, they were still hurling verbal insults at each other in turn. Finally Norris Man left the stage and Sizzla pulled out songs from his gangsta oriented repertoire. The last song he performed had the punch line, "bullets don't turn back."
For those few moments it was a bit like "Scary St. Mary," as a few people started to run around in a panic. Finally the ruckus stopped after police took to the stage and physically put the confusion to an end. During the entire thing, neither Sizzla nor Norris Man laid a hand on each other.
The problem was out of the way and the stage continued to shine with the brilliant musicianship of reggae's finest. Capleton, Munga, Jose Wales, Anthony B, Macka Diamond and others, each took their turn to speak out against the unfortunate incident. Ninja Man had the most poignant statement. He said the entertainers vying for image must remember that new top crime fighter, Mark Shields, said - before he leaves Jamaica, the only Don will be Clarendon.