Women. Vibes. Color.
These are the words that come to mind when you ask Major Lazer to describe the Caribbean. All with their own ties to the robust umbrella culture, Diplo (who hails from Florida), Walshy Fire (who reps Jamaica) and Jillionaire (who is Trinidadian), the group’s intimate relationship with the islands has taken on a form outside of their sound. In their latest venture, Major Lazer has teamed up with historic Cuban brand Bacardi for a deep dive into “The Sound of Rum.” Taking the vibes of the Caribbean from the ears and to the tastebuds, the partnership includes a specially crafted rum by the group as well as an upcoming summer music series. And according to Jillionaire, a Major Lazer/Bacardi partnership is a learning experience for their brand from the veteran rum maker.
"[Bacardi is] from the Caribbean, we're based in Caribbean culture, so it made sense,” he said. “There are so many things we could learn from them, so we're excited to see how we can learn."
To kick off their collaboration, Bacardi and Major Lazer brought a touch of the Caribbean to the Virginia Key in Miami for an installation titled “Bacardi Bay.” The curated event featured flavors and sounds from four select countries: Puerto Rico, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad. Hosted by natives of the respective soils, food, aesthetics and signature Bacardi drinks were the stars of mini-restaurants carved out in the historic park. At Chef Creole’s, Chef “Ken” Sejour Wilkinson whipped up a jambalaya inspired by his Haitian, Bahamian and Miami upbringing.
On the other side of the event was Truck Stop, hosted by Chef Uncle Omar, offered the signature Jamaican dish of jerk chicken and rice and peas. Puerto Rico was represented by an installment of world-class San Juan bar La Factoria, where beef brisket sliders were on the menu along with a large variety of cocktails. And Pearl’s — a Brooklyn Trinidadian eatery where Jillionaire serves as part-owner — was hosted by Fallon Seymour, whose grandmother is the restaurant’s namesake. Here, the island’s signature “bake” dish was infused with shrimp and vegetables. Setting the scene for the main event, the four-stop event took attendees through the seas in minutes, topped off by Major Lazer’s fruit and vanilla-infused special edition Bacardi.
Once the sun made its exit from the lush scene, the stage was where the rest of the magic took place, with Major Lazer cranking the energy levels to their full capacity. "Caribbean artists are some of the most resourceful artists in the world," Diplo noted as a reminder that island vibes also include fierce creativity. "There’s a necessity there. They don't have a lot of time to make things happen, so it's just like, 'Boom, let's do this right now,’” Walshy Fire added.
That inherent need to be dope on the fly was likely the fuel that led to the group’s first live performance of their upcoming single “Know No Better” with former Fifth Harmony star Camila Cabello. Their set also included live renditions of a slew of other hits, including their latest smash “Run Up” sans Nicki Minaj and PARTYNEXTDOOR.
A worthy culmination to a night of rich experiences.
(Photo: BFA via HS PR)