Forget blondes versus brunettes, or the Yankees versus the Red Sox. On Labor Day weekend, all longstanding rivalries are dwarfed by one: Jamaicans versus Trinidadians. Year-round, Jamaicans have the upper hand, thanks to their vast demographic—and a certain dreadlocked reggae singer who made their island a metonym for "Caribbean." But Labor Day—climaxing in Monday's West Indian Day Parade, which attracts millions of carnival-loving revelers to the Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn each year—is Trinidad's comeuppance: The carnival-loving country is the indubitable lord of all bacchanal. This Labor Day, a pair of concerts, titled Best of Both Worlds, at Manhattan's Roseland Ballroom—featuring the two most lively, long-running acts in reggae and soca—could end the rivalry once and for all. On Saturday, September 5, the ever-entertaining dancehall comedian Beenie Man takes the stage, as does his arch rival Bounty Killer, known as the "warlord"; the two have been lyrically clashing for over a decade. On Sunday, September 6, Trinidadian soca legend Machel Montano will showcase waistline skills that are downright mind-blowing—and doubtless give the non-Yardies reason to wave their flags in victory.
Sat., Sept. 5, 10 p.m., 2009