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THE ‘KINGS’ HAVE SPOKEN: Let the party begin

The Bahamas carnival fete continues; expect a hard celebration with Machel Montano and DJ Khaled
‘King’ of soca Machel Montano, left, and ‘king’ of hip hop DJ Khaled say they and all the other performers will bring it at this weekend’s Bahamas carnival events. ROSSANO DEAL

The kings of soca and hip hop have spoken: Machel Montano says this weekend will be a hard celebration; DJ Khaled says they will light the whole place up as the fete continues.

It’s a fusion of two different worlds — soca and hip hop for the fete that will be the Bahamas carnival that kicks off tonight with Destra Garcia, Farmer Nappy, D-Mac, Ultimate Rejects, Sketch and more taking to the Insomnia stage at Clifford Park.

Then it’s Machel, who has returned for his third Bahamas carnival showing, with Mr. Vegas, Dyson Knight, Ricardo Drue, Wendi, Rick Carey and more on the Amnesia stage on Saturday at Clifford Park, hosted by DJ Khaled. Skinny Fabulous and more will take to the Unleash stage on Sunday, May 6 at Arawak Cay.

“Last year rain stopped my band from having to perform, and my band had to leave. I stayed and I did it with the deejay. [This year] we gone make it rain in a way that will reverberate around the whole world,” promised Machel. “We’re going to celebrate hard.”

DJ Khaled promises a lot of surprises.

“We ready,” said DJ Khaled. “Saturday it’s going to be incredible, and I can’t wait to touch the stage. Anytime I perform — anywhere, any stage, any stadium, any arena, any club, anywhere I go — I always let them know, expect the unexpected, expect surprises and expect a lot of great energy, positive vibes, and a lot of great music. My show, I call it special, because I already know I’m coming to rip it down. I got the mentality, and I got my music, and I got a lot of hits, and people will give me energy. And I love [The] Bahamas. I love the people and I can’t wait to see all the families out there having a great time, and I’m going to make sure they have an amazing time watching me on stage.”

And for Bahamians who have taken in Machel at the Trinidad and Jamaica carnivals earlier this year, he says his performance will still be special because it’s about the music. He’s also brought in a new crew of dancers that will bring the energy to the music.

“When you hear ‘Soca Kingdom’ in Trinidad and Jamaica, you want to know what it will feel like in The Bahamas, because we haven’t come here yet. I have a whole new crew of dancers. When we’re on stage, we carry an energy… it’s something that’s not tangible. I can’t tell you what we’re bringing, but on that night… So for me I’m bringing my best, and every year I always bring my best, and the rest is the magic that will happen in the moment.”

If you don’t have your ticket, Machel, who will be performing at his third Bahamas carnival, says to go out and get a ticket, because he wants to perform for a wall-to-wall audience. He says you really don’t want to miss this show because he and DJ Khaled will bring the energy.

“Last night was the signal for me. I came in, the customs officer was a lady probably in her 50s — she didn’t know who I was until she saw my passport. She said, ‘Aye aye’. She say, ‘Man my daughters want to come to this show. They harassing me; one is 18 and one is 11,’ and she say the 11-year-old only talking about DJ Ka, Ka, Ka… some Ka Ka. This is the level of the magic. You have a person 50, somebody 18 and somebody 11 and everybody interested in some level. Saturday night, Machel bu’n de place down.”

Machel said he thinks it’s going to be the best year ever.

“You have the Junkanoo, the carnival coming together right now, and of course you have hip hop and what Khaled represents right now coming into view. I think it’s going to be the best year ever. It’s like going to college — freshman year, sophomore year, but then this is your senior year. Big up all the local acts who will be on there like Dyson Knight, who has been reaching out to me to collaborate with some soca music, Wendi will be with him, Rick Carey; and of course coming out of Antigua, Ricardo Drue, so I feel this is a good moment, it’s a good time for The Bahamas and we’re going to celebrate hard.”

Sebas Bastian, spokesman for Polantra Media, which is in talks with the government to privatize carnival and is staging this weekend’s concert series, said this year would be the beginning of a new era in carnival.

Machel gave credit to the promoters (Kenny Mackey and Trevor Davis, along with Bastian) for bringing the group of musicians — local and foreign, and of different genres) together.

“I think this is what the new spirit of carnival is. It doesn’t belong to any one race, any one country. This is about coming together and unity, and making people have a good time,” said the Trinidadian soca singer. “And it’s a big weekend.”

He also said he felt fortunate to perform at Bahamas carnival with DJ Khaled.

“We had one of the best moments last year putting soca on display in Barclay Center with Tidal. That was a good feeling for all the people in the Caribbean to see us being embraced by a mainstream producer, mainstream icon like Khaled. He’s a positive individual, and our music is positive.”

The soca king said his Bahamas carnival experiences have opened his eyes to Junkanoo and Bahamian music.

“I’ve learned a lot about Junkanoo coming here the first year and seeing the bands, and seeing how they dress, what they play, and it sparked my interest.”

He’s also made friends with Dyson Knight, Julien Believe, and he said they “link up” and have talks about wanting to work together.

“Real friendships make people want to work together. My dream is to make my next record with DJ Khaled,” said Mr. Fete.

As for Khaled, a Miami native, The Bahamas is not new to him, he’s been coming to New Providence for 20 years and says it feels like home.

“It’s where I recharge, embrace the blessings, but at the same time, I just have a special feeling out here. I like to celebrate all the hard work in The Bahamas, and I just like to get away and chill. Right now I came to get away and chill at carnival, but also to perform. To bring my son Asahd and my queen, just for us to chill, because I’ve got a busy year, more touring and working on my new album “Father of Asahd”, so this is where I get a vibe — the water, the food, the people, the island is beautiful, but also the air is beautiful too. I’m from Miami, so it’s like we family.”

But after Saturday, DJ Khaled says he wants people to leave with a feeling of unity, love, happiness and joy.

“God is always great. People to have a good time. That’s what it’s about. I’m going to uplift people, inspire people, motivate people, and hopefully they have a great time together and let’s win together, win more.”

As Bahamas carnival moves forward, DJ Khaled had a few words for Bastian: “Sebas, if you bring Rihanna, you bring me too. Everywhere Rihanna’s at, I want to be there.” Machel chimed in: “Wherever she is we at.”


The fete continues

Insomnia — Friday, May 4 (at Clifford Park)

Destra Garcia

Farmer Nappy


Ultimate Rejects


Amnesia — Saturday, May 5 (at Clifford Park)

Machel Montano

Mr. Vegas

Dyson Knight

Ricardo Drue


Rik Carey

Unleash — Sunday, May 6 (at Arawak Cay)

Skinny Fabulous and more

Tickets: $25 day pass, $35 VIP day pass, $60 weekend pass, $100 VIP weekend pass

Outlets: Suncash, Airbrush Junkies, Outback Steakhouse, Quality Home Centre, Club One Fitness, Mario’s Bowling



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