Jamaica’s 20th annual Reggae Sumfest received an injection of R&B starpower when Trey Songz and R. Kelly shared the stage with the reggae notables like Damian Marley, Shabba Ranks, Lady Saw and Tesanna Chin.
This year’s three-night festival, held at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay, also was a celebration of Jamaica’s 50th year as an independent nation. Headlining Saturday’s Sumfest International Night 1, Trey Songz recognized the historical importance of the event.
“I just want to do something special for y’all tonight,” he said to the 12,000 in attendance. “This is my first time performing at Sum Fest and this is a very big year for [Jamaica]—50 years of independence, so I want to ask if it’s alright that I give y’all a little love tonight.”
Trey Songz then gave tribute to reggae’s biggest icon Bob Marley, offering a heartfelt cover of his classic love song “Turn Your Lights Down Low,” which drew cheers from the ecstatic crowd. The Virginia native, who is set to release his newest album Chapter V on August 21, also ran through his own sensual hits that included, “I Need A Girl,” “Already Taken,” and “Say Aah.”
Not to be outdone, R&B legend R. Kelly turned Sumfest International Night into a spirited sing-along, according to the Jamaica Observer.
“Let me get my sound right or I can’t do this f***ing show!” he said, as he kicked off his show with “So Sexy” and “Snake.” The Write Me Back singer then launched into a female scream-inducing set that featured such Kellz classics as “Bump ‘N’ Grind,” “Sex In The Kitchen,” “Strip For You,” “Slow Wine,” “You Remind Me,” and “I Believe I Can Fly.”
Fittingly closing out Sumfest was Bunny Wailer, the legendary member of Marley’s backing band, the Wailers performing such landmark songs as “One Love” and “Simmer Down.”—Keith Murphy, CBS Local