Special to the AmNews

The event began two hours later than promised, and members of the press scrambled furiously for space to cover the event, but once DJ Killer Boo, from Irie Jam Radio, stepped onstage and there was something to see other than the crew setting up, and amid intermittent jeering from the agitated crowd, there was much to forgive and possibly much to forget.

A sense of ease came over the jam-packed Roy Wilkins Park attendees who came to help celebrate the 23rd anniversary of Irie Jam Radio, and also the return of Sizzler Kalonji to the stage after a forced eight-year absence. Irie Jam Radio gave the people the music they wanted and in two segments, more than 30 artists made a devoted crowd very happy. New, and up and coming artists were given a rare opportunity to warm up the audience and test their skills. Of a very impressive list, Cement Kidd, Ky-enie (possibly a “present-day Bob Marley”) and Bella Blair, straight off the plane from Jamaica singing her hit single, “I’m lucky ‘Cause I live in Jamaica,” shined.

Irie Jam’s Dubmaster Chris introduced the second segment, or what he called the “Fire Segment,” with live music by Titanium Band and what followed was star artists after star artists with hit after hit. The crowd went wild when I-Wayne, who told them that he wasn’t worried about the Grammys or Billboard, but instead wants them to “…hear what Rasta say[s]…” Eight-year-old Samari sang and danced to Bugle, and flags and “blank shots” lit the air when Richie Spice and Anthony B took the stage. Irie Jam’s DJ, Jabba, kept the crowd hyped when he brought “some of his friends” to the stage for a quick hello. Jamaica’s dancehall sensation, Shaggy, and the recently discovered Gully Bop and are just two of Jabba’s many friends. The event came to a close with headliner Sizzler. (Unlike the Sizzler from before, who always wore African garb, he was curiously dressed in a suit!) He gave the crowd what they wanted: some old hits, some newer ones and a sense of contentment.