Despite the backlash Mr. Lexx has been receiving for the past four days, the dancehall veteran is standing by his contentious comments hurled at We The Best Music chief DJ Khaled. On Monday, August 12, the “Full Hundred” deejay made a tweet that has since developed controversy across Jamaica and its entertainment industry. “Every time Khalid come yah a di same artiste dem him use and di song dem nah hit. Kmt yea I said it,” he tweeted. This comment did not sit well with some members of the public and at least two members of the dancehall industry.
Popular selector Bishop Escobar and veteran producer Gussie Clarke defended the Grammy-winning producer, saying he has the right to work with “whomever he chooses, however often he wants.”
Others accuse Mr. Lexx of being “hateful” and “badmind.” One Instagram user said, “Mr. Lex fi admit seh all he wants issa song wid d man,” another expressed, “Just sounds like jealousy,” and another accused, “Mr. Lexx is a hater.”
But Mr. Lexx, whose real name is Christopher Palmer, is maintaining that he reserves the right to freely express his opinions, even those that are contrary to popular beliefs.
To these comments, Mr. Lexx responded, “Dung yah suh Anybody weh voice dem opinion is either a Hater or Bad Mind… Daam.”
Dung yah suh Anybody weh voice dem opinion is either a Hater or Bad mind… Daam.
Additionally, the deejay also responded to an article posted by The Star titled “Local music players defend DJ Khaled after Mr Lexx rant.” To this, he said, “Mi never did a rant.. but carry on.”
DJ Khaled had been enjoying his stay in Jamaica over the past few days, constantly keeping the public updated with pictures and videos posted on his page. The producer, who had always expressed gratitude to Jamaica for its part in his rise, has been in “album mode” since he arrived on the island, with his latest update on the album being at 98.2 percent completion. Based on pictures DJ Khaled shared on social media, international artists H.E.R and Migos, as well as local artists Buju Banton, Busy Signal, Bounty Killer, Barrington Levy, Capleton, and Koffee, will be featured on his upcoming album, Khaled Khaled, due later this year.
Rich The Kid is turnt from the moment he landed in Jamaica and Skillibeng provided the soundtrack.
Skillibeng‘s hit single “Crocodile Teeth” is still picking up traction as another international celebrity was spotted vibing to the song. The single, released in October last year, has been circulating rapidly, both locally and internationally, since its release. On Friday, April 16, rapper Rich The Kid posted a video, evidently validating his stay in Jamaica. In the video, he is on the top of a building surrounded by beautiful greenery and a pool while vibing to the St. Thomas native’s hit track. The video was captioned, “When that check hit,” finished with a Jamaican flag and tagging the artiste.
Two days ago, Rich The Kid announced that he had signed a new record deal with Rostrum Records but still kept his independence as an artist. Could there be a new collab coming? This is the question fans are asking upon seeing the rapper’s obvious connection with the song. But this is not the first time the question of collaboration between international artists and Skilli had emerged, as just recently, the public shared similar ideas for fellow rapper Bobby Shmurda and the dancehall deejay.
Bobby Shmurda, who is a fan of the dancehall deejay, had posted a video promoting songs from Skillibeng just before announcing that he would be releasing new music for himself soon. Fans had speculated then that Skilli would be featured in the new music to come.
In addition, Shmurda’s alleged girlfriend Lilly had shared a video set to the same soundtrack, “Crocodile teeth.” Shmurda has strong connections to Jamaica as his father is a native of the island.
Other international artists, including Burna Boy and Alexis Skyy, have jammed to “Crocodile Teeth,” and fans have been speculating that both the song and the deejay still have the potential to reach even further.
The EastSyde prodigy was also named in a list of Drake’s favorite Dancehall artists. On April 12, the Canadian rapper posted a picture of his “brother,” Popcaan, and Skillibeng to his IG story. The shot was taken from their cameo appearances in Koffee’s “Lockdown” video.
DJ Khaled is living his best life in Jamaica while promoting the island to his global audience, but some locals are questioning government curfew orders.
International music producer DJ Khaled has always had a serious love affair with Jamaica. So much so that he vacations here on a regular basis and is even now currently on the island working on his latest album slated for release sometime soon. DJ Khaled has always been quite vocal about his love for the island, and once he hits the shores, his fans and followers can expect posts from him detailing his trip. He has certainly become an ‘ambassador” of sorts when it comes to promoting Jamaica.
This trip is no different, as he hangs out at the spot he refers to as “Holy Mountain.” Khaled has been busy posting shots of his time on the island, which many have suspected will be featured in projects for the upcoming album. He has also been meeting up with quite a lot of top Jamaican recording artists, including Buju Banton, Capleton, Barrington Levy, and Bounty Killer. It’s safe to say his new album will definitely have a Jamaican flair to it.
Along with sharing photos of himself and the aforementioned artists, he has also been sharing videos and photos of himself. These have, of course, drawn the attention of the Jamaican populace. Many have praised him for always showing Jamaica in a positive light. Others have pointed out that Khaled seems to have been afforded the privilege of moving freely irrespective of the current curfew measures in place across the island.
He has been spotted with his team taking photos and videos on the beach and other popular areas, including rivers and waterfalls. One user noted: “So police run me a me yard cause me deh river buy nah run….u know what man nvm.”
The “We The Best” mogul also took some time to plug Jamaica soft drink brand Ting.
He is seen hanging out with what looks like lifeguards with a bottle of Ting in hand. In a very Jamaican-sounding voice, he says, “Some man a drink soda man like mi a drink Ting.”
Khaled’s next album will be his 12th studio album and will be titled “Khaled Khaled.” He has already gotten some big names from hip hop on the album, including Post Malone, H.E.R, and Migos. This trip to Jamaica seems to be a further addition to what is expected to be another hit album for him. What are your thoughts on Khaled being given “leeway” to hang out at the beaches and rivers during the all-island curfew?
Spice insists that Jamaica is always her home and assured her local fans that she isn’t going anywhere as she expands Team Spice in Atlanta.
Dancehall artiste Spice has certainly been expanding her craft globally, so much so that the “Needle Eye” singer made the decision to expand her team to the North American market. In March, she announced she would be filling positions on her team for Atlanta. As a result of this move, she hosted a massive job fair that saw quite a large turnout. While she will always call Jamaica home, the deejay says based on her needs in the US market, it became imperative to have a team there also.
She told The Gleaner, “Since I started spending more time in Atlanta, I had to always wait until I go back home to Jamaica to shoot a music video because that is where my team is. But when I am in Atlanta, I don’t want the work to stop for me.”
She went on to explain, “That is the real reason why I am expanding Team Spice in Atlanta and the whole reason I am doing the job fair.” Spice also noted that while she has work to do in the US, Jamaica will always be home as that’s “where my heart is.” She hosted the job fair to find video directors, dancers, make-up artists, and content creators to make up her team in Atlanta.
From the looks of things, the audition was a huge success, so much so that she revealed she did not even get to meet with all who turned up. She also admitted that the persons she did get a chance to see were quite impressive.
Spice is expected to drop another single from her soon-to-be-released album “Ten” on April 30, 2021. She will also use that opportunity to reveal who made the cut for Team Spice in Atlanta.
The Jamaican Prime Minister is doubling down on dancehall music, being a major contributor to the high crime rate in the country.
Crime has long been a growing epidemic in Jamaica that governments are often stumped with. The disturbing outbreak of violence is so outrageous that Jamaica is recognized as a country with one of the highest crime rates in the world. While this is not at all new and historically was spurred on by violent political strategies, the current government is calling for dancehall music to start observing a social responsibility to young listeners.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness was recently criticized by music artists and fans for a statement regarding dancehall being a main cause of violence in Jamaica. Nevertheless, he is doubling down on his stance and is having the discussion yet again in his recent parliamentary meeting. The Most Honorable Andrew Holness, also known as BroGad, seems to be offering a blanket response to the counter-arguments from dancehall artists who have reacted to his previous remarks.
“In as much as you are free to reflect what is happening in the society, you also have a duty to place it in context,” he said. “That is not right, and though you have the protection of the constitution to sing about it, you also have a duty to the children who are listening to you to say ‘man, that is not right,’” he added.
Holness implied that artists are selective of which crimes to lash out on and maintained that all forms of violence are wrong. He went on to say that as a society, we “are not yet serious” if we cannot see that, and our outrage is short-lived. The public has had the opportunity to weigh in on the debate on social media, and while some agree with the negative influence of dancehall music on society. Many do not concur with the implication that it is responsible for the spike in the crime rate.
PM Andrew Holness, Ce’Cile & Agent Sasco
In one retort, an Instagram user commented, “Kmt you can’t control crime an a try turn on the music. Move a gweh. Look pan movies, tv, games, plus a who guh buy dub plates fi promotion. Bredda u did seh we ago can sleep wid wi doors open. Gwaan guh fix crime an low the art form that is providing a way out, U hear nuh artist a seh kidnap woman an kill them?” Another more succinct comment read, “it’s all about the person mindset.”
On the other side of the spectrum, some chimed in to say the PM’s speech was “facts.” Interestingly, it is also a fact that even decades ago, when there were no artists singing about “tek up the AK-47 and dun it inna man head” as Holness puts it, crime was also at a high rate in Jamaica. Fueled by the divide promoted by political parties, even socially conscious singer Bob Marley himself was a target of assassination attempts. Marley sang about unity and love and tried to get opposing parties to reconcile for the goodness of the country. However, crime was still at a significant level because of root causes like poverty, lack of opportunities, and of course, poor leadership (parenting, country leaders, etc.)
Some argue that that was then and this is now but just like traditions are passed down, so is the landscape of a country’s culture and the foundation that has long been set by our ancestors. Oftentimes, we understand our parents so much better after we see how they grew up, what their influences were and how what they were conditioned to believe. The same can be said about the areas where crime is concentrated in Jamaica and why it has remained so. While it is true that dancehall needs not perpetuate the idea of crime further, the positivity that Prime Minister Andrew Holness calls for it to promote is also present in the genre.
Jamaican artists sing about guns and violence but they also sing about love, struggles, hope, dreams, and other realities. Fans decide which songs get popular and which get lost in the sea of the oversaturated music industry. That being said, while a correlation is being drawn to crime and dancehall music, perhaps it is an inherent desire of the listener that drives the song and not the words of the artist that drives the crime. One Instagram user who weighed in on the matter said, “Bro the amount of positive songs out there and nobody paying them any attention, people gravitate towards the hardcore music, that is why the artiste supply the market with that type of music.”
Would Vybz Kartel be the most popular dancehall artist had it not been for the fans? More importantly, did fans gravitate towards him because of his relatability which could only come from him articulating what already exists? Based on the comments that are pouring in on the topic of Andrew Holness’s controversial statement, some believe that dancehall is being used as a scapegoat. “Gun violence and crime was around long before man an man start sing bout it. Politicians always trying to point finger and blame the citizen them,” wrote one user. “If the artist dem stop sing gun tune today crime nah move and that’s a fact,” another added.
Some also accused the PM of being a hypocrite as many dancehall artists remixed similar songs when they were called upon to promote political campaigns during the national election. “Oh but dancehall can promote politics with the same sort of songs for your campaign,” one fan wrote. Others defended Holness and his agenda, saying he is not hating on the music but rather is calling for dancehall artists to discourage violence in their songs. Again, this is done all the time in dancehall as even the biggest artists like Vybz Kartel and Mavado have contradicted previous releases by encouraging unity and the youth to refrain from crime and violence.
Like businesses, artists also have a social responsibility which they often honor with uplifting music that never gets as much attention as they ought to. However, when they sing about “badness,” fans love them for it while the government hates them for it. Music is not the only form of influential media, and dancehall is not the only genre that promotes a gangster lifestyle, so how did it suddenly become the cause of violence in Jamaica? It’s easy to pass the blame onto a large industry that has a major influence on the people, but how thorough was the research that brought politicians to this conclusion? As one commenter said, “Artist sing about the violence and the politicians provide the guns!”
The constant pointing of fingers only ignores the real source of the problem. It is no coincidence that Jamaica not only has a high crime rate but also a high poverty rate. It is no coincidence that the most crime-ridden communities are some of the poorest in the country. Should we ask an inner-city youth who grew up around violence and later adopted the lifestyle why he needs a gun or why he commits crimes? Do we genuinely believe that even one of them would say dancehall music? The widespread discourse on the matter comes from varying perspectives, none of which take into account the plight of the ghetto youth. “Why we nuh talk bout the abuse and parenting and leadership issues… a desso it start,” one citizen questioned.
What’s ironic is that the national outrage stemming from the vast increase in gender-based violence like rape – something dancehall never promotes – is what initiated the discourse on the source of crime in the first place. Perhaps our MPs ought to armor up, visit our troubled communities and hear straight from the horse’s mouth what is actually lacking that would drive them to a life of crime. Here they might uncover the seed of the worsening epidemic.
Migos rapper Quavo and Popcaan have linked up in Jamaica, causing fans to speculate that the two might be up to musical mischief.
As customary these days, almost every overseas artists touching down in Jamaica checks in with the Unruly Boss. A video posted by Quavo showed the two artists hanging out. The Migos rapper is seen shirtless and wearing some three-quarter pants, while Popcaan is stylish with an orange graphic t-shirt and chambray button-down shirt with his jewelry. Offset and Takeoff were not in the clip but were probably somewhere close hanging out.
“What we doing?” Quavo asks in the video, to which Popcaan responds, “Vroom, Outside.”
This might be a good move for the Atlanta rapper to escape some bad press recently regarding his ex-girlfriend Saweetie happening Stateside. Urban Islandz reported on a leaked song snippet of Quavo rapping about taking back the Bentley he gifted Saweetie in December as a Christmas present. The ex-couple was also forced to issue statements addressing a leaked video of an altercation between them from last year in Los Angeles. Despite it triggering a police investigation, both said the incident was unfortunate, and they’ve already moved past it.
In a video he shared of himself driving around the Sandals-owned Villario Chico property, DJ Khaled said, “This is where Im finishing up the album, we’ll get close to finishing it up before I go back home and put the final touches to it.”
Khaled also shared videos on his Instagram story where he is seen drinking water from a coconut while sitting on a raft as the film crew shot scenes. He also shared Stories of his film crew setting up in the world-famous Green Grotto caves, no doubt as part of the music videos he is creating.
The caves are special to Jamaica, having been historically known to be the home of Jamaica’s first inhabitants, the Tainos. It also featured in one of the famous James Bond movies- Dr. No.
In the video, he said it is “a seven day shoot,” as he thanked his film crew for their hard work. “That album coming ‘Khaled Khaled’, it’s a movie,” Khaled said.
Bounty Killer told PM Andrew Holness to listen his new anti-gun anthem “No Gun A Rise,” with Christopher Martin.
The dancehall legend shared a clip from the music video and used the opportunity to call Prime Minister Andrew Holness’s attention to the single. Holness have been under fire for his position on dancehall music being a major factor in the country’s surging crime rate. Bounty Killer and Christopher Martin’s “No Gun A Rise,” was released two months ago, long before the Prime Minister blamed dancehall lyrics for high crimes.
Both men blended their voices to promote peace and happiness, while the Yakub & Amlak music video highlights all that makes one of the most famous islands in the world such a paradise.
Christopher Martin opens the song with the chorus, “Thank God mi see di sun a rise, and the youths dem son a rise, di kids dem life dem nuh fi jeopardize, nuh wah see nuh gun a rise.”
The song continues with Bounty Killer delivering a biting verse, warnings the youths about the pitfalls involved in a life of crime and violence.
“NUH GUN A RISE. Mr. Prime Minister @andrewholness did you heard this one?” Bounty questioned. The Holness-led administration has pledged to take greater control over the country’s creative element as a way to purge the music of its violent nature. Jah Snowcone handled the production on this single.
The post sparked comments from fans who left a trail of fire emojis in the comment section, including a Chris Martin cosign. Bounty Killer, who is often referred to as ‘poor people government,’ has never been one to hide his thoughts about corruption, violence, or any other social issue in Jamaica.
Killer was recently featured on Tommy Lee Sparta’s “Brighter Days” single, which boasts a total of 14 of Jamaica’s biggest entertainers, all joining the forces to promote peace, hope, unity, and love.
The music video released on Jan 25, this year, is a must-watch if one is interested in seeing a violence-free Jamaica.
The voice of the Jamaican people, reggae music, which derived from its predecessors Ska and Mento, has undoubtedly gone on to have a major impact on the international scene. Singer Wesrok has visions of taking the music to another level, as he works to establish a sparse version called “Country Reggae.” During a recent Gleaner interview, Wesrok said, “Country reggae is not a subgenre but a new brand, not quite country, not quite reggae. A brand new flavour for the masses.”
Jamaicans have long had a certain fascination for cowboys and Westerns, a love that transcended into the island’s music. Island-based entertainers have provided their versions of country and western tracks in the past, much to the delight of their fans. The late Toots Hibbert soared with his rendition of “Take Me Home Country Roads” by John Denver. Freddie McGregor’s rendition “King of the Road” by Roger Miller (1964) also became famous, and the Reggae artiste admitted that he was a fan of Miller’s music. How about Busy Signal’s renditions of Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler?”
“Country is one of the biggest art forms. Other artistes have experimented with country reggae and failed because they’ve not sustained the efforts. We at 360 Global want to re-energise those efforts,” the recording artiste said.
The artiste, who has released a number of country reggae songs, is from the rural district of Swamp Lane in Bog Walk, St Catherine. He says he is fully equipped to be the face of this movement and feels that there is a niche market out there for country reggae in Jamaica and overseas, such as in Europe and the rural states of the USA.
Country reggae songs recorded by the artist include “Left Out in the Dark,” “Poor Country Boy,” and his most recent, “Born As a Winner.”
While Wesrok, whose real name is Percival Buddan, aims to globalize this brand, “country reggae” may not be very new after all. He added,
“The proof of Jamaica’s love for country music is all over reggae history. In the US, country music carries a certain racial history and baggage but I love it because country tells stories, tales about breaking up, and getting back together, and overcoming hardship. We love stories as well because this narrative tradition runs deep in folk music across the Caribbean.”
Wesrok will be launching his seven-track album, “Look At Me Now,” on April 23.
The super-producer was met with a warm welcome from his longtime friend, Buju Banton. The warm welcome was not only for the We The Best Music Group chief but was also extended to his family. This meant his wife Nicole Tuck and his two sons Asahd Tuck Kahled and Aalam Khaled, also had their special one-on-one Buju time.
In a video the DJ posted on Instagram, Buju Banton speaks over one-year-old Aalam, “Aalam is the lamb of God, how are you my son, welcome to Jamrock.”
The “Destiny” singer, continued his chant while holding the hand of the toddler. “I just a see you inna di flesh. May God bless you, may God guide you, may God protect you, may God keep you holy. May your life be prosperous and whatever you do may prosper.”
DJ Khaled also posted a video of the Reggae singer embracing Asahd and engaging him in light conversations. This may be the first time Buju is meeting Khaled’s youngest son in person, but he already met Asahd. The veteran DJ, who credited dancehall for giving him his big break, is a frequent visitor to Jamaica and has even classified himself as the original “Yaad Man.”
The producer also shared a photo of himself chilling with Buju, which he captioned, “Holding a firm meditation wit my brother @bujubanton JAH LIV” finished with a Jamaican flag, along with several other pictures and videos of his stay in Jamaica.
Khaled’s love for the island’s culture is well documented, with its music and people holding a special place in his heart. The music mogul began his musical endeavors as a disc jockey, which helped him to form connections with the likes of Bounty Killer, Sizzla, Buju Banton, among others.
Popcaan is living life stress free in his new visual, “Medal.”
Popcaan has certainly been having a great year musically, with each new release packing all the elements to make them sure hits. He is currently riding high off the feedback from the collaboration “God Is Love” with veteran crooner Beres Hammond, and he has also just released the visuals for his track “Medal.” He premiered a black and white clip from the video via his Instagram page to his fans and followers.
The track, which is produced by Young Vibes Production, shows the versatility of Popcaan as an artiste. He is seen delivering some smooth-sounding solid lyrics as he sings about blessings and overcoming struggles during this time. The track is an uplifting one which is just what the nation needs during these times as the country faces the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Yow Jamie Roberts, gi we some medal. Yow St. Thomas gi we some medals. Yuh know di struggles never stop, gi we some medals. But wi out yah same way enuh, doh. Haha,” sings during the opening of the track.
He then sings, “So mi seh gimme di trophy dem. Mi enemy, mi doh see dem. Great like Muhammad Ali and Kobe dem. Believe In yu self. Yeah yuh know seh mi fate different. Wul an wi a pray fi di Covid end.”
The track was released in February and has been getting a lot of airplay since then. The official video that he did a premiere for is now on his official YouTube channel. His fans are certainly appreciating the more positive and uplifting music he has been doing as of late.
In February, when he released “Medal,” he also released another track, “Win,” which carries similar sentiments to “Medal” and tells of persevering despite whatever obstacles or hardships you may be faced with. As of late, the artiste has also voiced his opinion about the social ills affecting Jamaica. He recently did a short video addressing violence against women in Jamaica following the killing of a twenty-year-old.
He has also sought to mend old fences and make amends with old rivals like Beenie Man, with who he even collaborated earlier this year.
G Herbo was successful in having a judge vary the conditions of his release so that he is able to communicate with members of his team and his brother, even as the fraud trial gets underway within a month.
The rapper is facing federal charges laid last December in which he and his fellow associates were accused of stealing identifications and money valuing more than $1 million in luxury purchases that also included a vacation to Jamaica.
G Herbo, who is expecting a baby with his girlfriend Taina, has denied any criminal involvement in the charges. The indictment also shows that some facts appear to say that G Herbo was aware of a named suspect involved in fraud but there is no direct link to him. He has since been released on several conditions of bail which included prohibitions on contact for particular persons. One of those people includes his ex-girlfriend Ari Fletcher who is testifying for the prosecution, as well as some of the members of his team and his half- brother.
However, his legal team filed documents this week for a review of the conditions by the court and was successful in getting six people removed from the list which includes his manager, business partner, tour manager and his half- brother.
According to the documents, part of the conditions of his release requires that he is to maintain employment which is affected his ability to not be in contact with his team, which if he is to continue making music and touring, would need him to be able to speak to his team unhindered.
Aye, that’s that bird call
All these haters got my nerves bad
Writing rhymes in my word pad, feeling like I can’t be touched
Drinking VOSS as a chaser
I got to get this paper for my unborn creations
Promise we gon’ live it up, we ain’t worried about haters
I promise they gon’ give it up, and if not we gon’ take it
I got a temper this short and I barely got patience
He got a dick this long, I think he from Jamaica
These niggas talking like they killers, I just call them pretenders
I’m getting money with my niggas, I don’t want y’all around me
Ain’t drop an album in two years these dummies thinking I lost it
They done buried me alive, I’m bout’ to climb out this coffin
Let me find out that you hating, I’ma f*ck him and suck him
Put a hammer to your head, got some shit that would shock you
Put the plug in your ass, that’s them battery chargers
Heard your plug had a shortage, need a battery charged
I’m looking in the sky like damn they can’t handle your daughter
f*ck they mean I’m trying to pull up in that Phantom or something
Dirty Sprite, Cream Soda, dirty Fanta or something
I couldn’t work no 9 to 5, I wasn’t good taking orders
But I promise with this music I be feeling immortal
I swear she would have been a beast, R.I.P. cousin Portia
And just for you I’m a cop me like two of them Porshes
I was down on my luck I had to use all my sources
No magazine spreads, couple funeral service
Time to clean the hood up, that community service
We ain’t tipping no dancers, y’all bitches be worthless
Might pull up to the club in like two of them suburbans
I touch souls nigga, from the hood to the burbs’
Bitches steady sending shots, they confusing their words
I’m a dog with this shit, I pooper scooper these turds
Diamonds dancing like Omarion in You Got Served
Tell that lame she don’t want it, I been getting money
Stop flashing that little jewelery cause my little homies on it
They’ll snatch it right up off your neck
Flaunt your shit then sell it back
Nicki said "Stop holding back", they sleeping on me, taking naps
It’s time to wake these pussies up, big dog to these cats
All I know is keep it real, all I know is stating facts
All I know when I get home, ain’t gonna’ do no turning back
All y’all know is turning up, don’t know how to get a check
I know it’s my time now, I don’t think they get it yet
Open up your lid and put a symbol on your fitted cap
Think about it, let it sit
Yeah bitch, remember that?
He think that we going far, he should have used this thinking cap
Old flames calling me, they trying to rekindle that
But they know I’m about my money, they know I’m not into that
Sneak dissing twitter shit, I ain’t with the internet
Log off and get smacked, I ain’t with the chitter chat
Million dollar baby, I’m so million dollar wavy
I can’t wait to make a million goin’ million dollar crazy
Millionaire in the making, Benjamins and them Franklins
I’m running right next to greatness, yeah bitch that’s a chaser
Niggas be talking crazy, but they hustle so lazy
I’m out here grinding for a life that could never be basic
Leave you in the street, they gon’ yellow that taper
I’m like free my little brother, f*ck the law trying to take us
Dancehall legend Sean Paul has released a video for his Live N Livin single “Guns of Navarone.”
The song features Ghanaian dancehall singer, Stonebwoy, Jamaican singer Jesse Royal, and Jamaican poet Mutabaruka. The track addresses the gun violence Jamaica has been grappling with, along with the struggles of people who reside in the nation’s ghettos. The video opens with a quote from Mutabaruka, “How can a people be so traumatized that them start to love them traumatic experiences? We are defining we self through the colonizers, still how can we be so blind.”
The video tells a story of the cycle of violence in Jamaica with a young man protecting his sister after their fathers’ death, and continually throughout the video. It is his protectiveness that lands him in prison after he murders a man for violating his sister. Some years earlier, the video shows him receiving a gun from an older man. He returns from prison in 2021 and seeks a job but lands one as a contract killer. He is contracted to kill a man who was dating his sister, as it turns out. He ends killing his sister, whom he loves so much.
Mutabaruka returns with the outro saying, “Yes, di hunter kill the lion and say him was hunting, is a game / But when the lion kill the hunter / You hear seh him is a beast and a savage / A man like Marcus Garvey come tell we.”
Sean Paul is not the first artiste to record a song with this title. The Skatalites in 1965 released a ska instrumental called “Guns of Navarone.” At the introduction of the instrumental, one member said:
“In the winter of nineteen sixty-four this movie came to Jamaica / The Skatalites took the music from the movie and put it into ska / And came up with this song, it’s called / BAP… BAP… BAP..BA..BAP… the Guns of Navarone.”
The music was adapted from the 1961 World War II production with the same title. The movie illustrated the story of a team of Greek soldiers fighting against German artillery units.
Justin Bieber says he is influenced by reggae/dancehall music but failed to meet the low bar in giving Jamaican music its proper credit.
As a world advocate for reggae and dancehall music and Jamaica as a whole, DJ Khaled never fails to give credit to dancehall culture, which is not only a part of his roots but has spawned multiple hits for him. Khaled recently had the opportunity to interview Justin Bieber amidst the release of his latest album, Justice, and the hitmaking producer asked the pop superstar about dancehall’s influence on his own music.
Justin Bieber sparked some controversy back in 2015 with his monstrous comeback hit “Sorry” from his album Purpose. The popular track had that rhythmic dancehall flavor and bassline, and its accompanying music video featured styles and dances from dancehall culture. What most local dancehall artists and fans took issue with was the fact that the genre was never credited at any opportunity for its obvious influence on the record.
The producer behind the No. 1 track regularly dabbles in dancehall and reggae sounds and has often tipped his hat to the culture for influencing his productions. From interviews to award stages, Skrillex laments his fandom of the commonly-sampled genre time and time again. However, as if prohibited to do so, the word “dancehall” has never publicly escaped artists like Justin Bieber’s lips. DJ Khaled asked about “Sorry,” particularly during his recent interview with the pop superstar on his First One with DJ Khaled podcast on Amazon Music.
“The record ‘Sorry,’ it has that dancehall feel. I love Jamaica. I love reggae, I love dancehall music. It wouldn’t be no DJ Khaled if Khaled didn’t break out of dancehall. It’s part of my story and who I am,” Khaled said. “What inspired you to make that record? Are you influenced by reggae music/dancehall music?”
In response, Justin told Khaled, “So the answer is yes. I am inspired by really all music but in particular I love island music. I love the feel of just the percussion, you know, I’m a drummer so that percussion it moves me. It makes me want to dance.”
“I wanna make music for the world,” Bieber continues. “I don’t want to get caught up being too isolated. I want to make music that impacts everybody of all cultures, all ethnicities, all shapes and sizes.”
Justin, who is a self-taught musician, has been playing the drums since he was a toddler. After teaming up with several renowned music producers influenced by reggae and dancehall sounds, he has created a number of similar dancehall flavored records – all of which went unattributed to the originating culture.
One of the major producers that Justin has worked with in the past who has faced similar criticism is Major Lazer, a group that is undoubtedly the product of an amalgamation of genres like dancehall, Afro-beats, EDM, and more. While one of its members is Jamaican, admitting the influence of dancehall on their records has seemed to be as difficult for them as it is for Justin. They too have faced backlash for cultural appropriation in addition to artists like Drake and Kanye West.
The artists who tend to give dancehall the respect it deserves pretty much grew up on it themselves as Caribbean natives. Namely, Rihanna and Nicki Minaj often highlight the undeniable impact of the genre and raise awareness of its prior existence.
Meanwhile, Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” which was one of the biggest records of 2015, broke a number of streaming records in multiple regions, and the visuals currently boast more than 3.5 billion views on YouTube, ranking as the platform’s 13th most viewed video. It unquestionably catalyzed the renewed interest in dancehall-influenced mainstream music and was the start of an onslaught of tracks by various artists that were clearly products of dancehall culture.
As for when dancehall will actually be named by some mainstream artists as a major influence and stop being whitewashed by mainstream music media with empty terms like “Island music,” “Tropical House,” and “Caribbean-flavored,” we will have to wait and see.
There’s an outpouring of condemnation from the dancehall community as yet another gruesome murder of a young Jamaican woman rocks the island. The hopes of many were high that 20-year-old Khanice Jackson would be found alive after the family reported that she had been missing since Tuesday after she left home.
Her mother on a TV news report said the last time she saw her daughter was Tuesday when she left for work. She said she later told that Khanice did not turn up for work, and neither did she call in sick by concerned co-workers who noted her punctual presence.
On Friday, all hopes were dashed as police reported that the body of a young woman later identified as Ms. Jackson’s was found bound at the neck, and she was half-naked, raising suspicions that she was raped before killed. One newspaper reported that the body was in an advanced state of decomposition.
As police comb leads and announced, the arrest of a suspect, many male artists took to social media to condemn the violence against women. Aidonia called for the protection of women. “PROTECT THE WOMEN!!!! Doesn’t have to be someone you’re related to or know JUST PROTECT THEM! ALL OF THM!!!” he said on Twitter.
PROTECT THE WOMEN!!!!!! Doesn't have to be someone you're related to or know JUST PROTECT THEM! ALL OF THEM!!!
Romeich Major, Shenseea’s manager, and friend also expressed his disgust at the manner in which Ms. Jackson was killed. “Violence on a hold [sic] is wrong but to rape a female is so bad and then after that you kill her listen me no matter what is going on this killing and abuse against woman need to stop and stop now!” Major posted on his Instagram page.
He addressed the criminals directly saying, “the don them or friend them for them boy yah weh a do dem things yah uno need fi make them know a nuh badness this a madness!!!! It need to stop,” he said as he posted a crying emoji, “me a beg uno stop!!!!”
Shenseea also expressed anger as she posted, “ SICK SICK SICK smh big fxcry!! We need to find that man!”
Dancehall artiste Teejay also shared his experience in which his father deserted him and his mother because she decided to leave the relationship. He said he was always taught by his mother that “no woman belongs to a man,” even as he was grateful to his father for not reacting to violence and killing his mother.
He added, “aunh fi yuh vagina that bredda, yuh have penis, don’t kill the woman them, stop kill the woman them, it hurt we now, a serious something man, gi the oman dem a bly man,” he said as he noted the struggles women face with childbirth and singlehandedly raising children.
“Just lowe the woman make dem flourisnh, look pan the beautiful woman, if ah no ah no,” he said. The Deejay said he wanted a world where he can have his daughter walk about safely freely from school “where she alright and nobody nah go trouble her. Stop the violence against women,” he said.
I-Octane also added his voice on his platform where he called out men who felt it was ok to abuse and kill women. “uno out deh a murder the ppl dem gal pikney…. who tell yuh say yuh own woman my yute….mi nuh rate no bad boy who say the a bad man and them a kill woman and pickey and grandmother and dem sumtin deh, yuh a gun bad yuh nuh bad man. Some of yuh out deh a kill off the woman…some of you own car, dresser, remote, yuh own watch, yuh own chain, you nuh own human beings….not even the pickney yuh have u own,” the “L.O.V.E Y.O.U” deejay said.
He added, “Bredda stop kill the woman fi them front… yuh no own woman, the man dem a walk around and prey on the woman, yuh ah idiot boy!”
Popcaan also shared his disappointment as he called out therapists who he says feels they like women, but in truth, they hate women. “all ah uno likkle b****hole rapists, mi ah line up mi own squad fi hunt uno. Mi find out say uno nuh love woman enuh,” the OVO superstar said.
He called on the government to re-introduce hanging to deal with gruesome crimes against women. “mi did ask the government previously to heng some a uno on the big clock a Half Way Tree enuh, and set an example outta some a uno stinking boy, uno feel say the pussy weh God birth them wid a fi unu fi hold down and tek,” he said in reference to the entitled mindset that rapists operate with.
The artiste lamented the constant wave of violence against women. “U know how much girl uno tek way bout ya and rape and nothing nuh come outta it. How long this ago go on for,” he asked.
“How much longer it ago go longer for, right now me and my artiste bredda fi call a meeting, yeah man, cah dem ting yah a joke bum****at ting man, who ago protect the women. Who ago protect the woman a Jamaica and across the world weh some man just see and tek what they want for them,” Popcaan angrily said.
He added that the maximum harsh treatment ought to be meted out to rapists – “rapists fi get R.I.P- rest in pieces, a dat dem pu**y deh deserve- chop dem up fine. Ah mi a tell my government respectfully start heng dem bun****at right now.”
Among the others who condemned the rape and killing of Khanice Jackson includes Beenie Man, who said, “We are not ok!!! Our hearts are bleeding, our children & women are not safe! This nuh right Iyah this nuh right We need justice and a that we need #JusticeforKhaniceJackson,” he said on his Twitter account.
Meanwhile, the Minister of National Security of Jamaica, Horace Chang, condemned the killing of Ms. Jackson. In a statement on Friday afternoon, the Minister called her death “vicious” and a tragedy. He said it was disturbing that a young woman is preyed upon and killed. “Recovering the soul of our nation requires that a strong message is sent to those who prey on our citizens, including women and children that they will be met with the full force of the law and will be brought to justice.”
So far, police have arrested one suspect in the murder even as Jamaicans express disgust and sadness at the violence against women.
Vybz Kartel and his fans are today on a high after the dancehall artiste got a shout-out from rapper Young M.A. in her latest release. The song “Ooouuuvie (Whoopty Freestyle)” was released yesterday and is already trending at number 5 on YouTube.
In the portion of the freestyle reposted by Vybz Kartel, Young M.A sings, “Smoking that Zaza, got yack in the mata.. I’m in Jamaica speaking that patois.. Big up to the Gaza.”
The Gaza boss captioned the post saying, “BigUp @Youngma (fist pump emojis) #RealRecReal… 1 Don #GazaBadness.” Vybz Kartel’s fans were excited about the big up from the international performer who has Jamaican heritage by way of her mother. One comment under the World Boss’ post said, “Big up Young M.A (clapping emojis)… She knows the Vibes!”
Another Instagram user said, “She a real one,” “See it deh! Gaza international”, while several left some fire emojis to show their approval.
Not everyone was here for Vybz Kartel’s repost. One user commented, “I remember a time when fire use too bun pan some people. Everybody cool now ehh.” Another disgruntled fan commented, “How unuh against homosexuals but still big dem up… fraud! Gudly a fish unda style to how mi seet.”
The comments were in reference to Young M.A’s sexuality and the fact that she identifies as a part of the LGBTQ community. Such persons are generally met with disdain from those in the Dancehall arena.
Despite the negative comments from a few fans, Jamaicans love the homage to the island and the Gaza in Young M.A’s new freestyle. Many showed out in the comment section of Young M.A’s promotional post, commenting with Jamaican flags and fire emojis.
Some users highlighted that the rapper has always shown love to Jamaica, having visited the island several times and even performing there. Her last visit was in 2017, when she performed at the popular Brit Jam concert.
The rapper has also featured patois in her musical lineup, including on her 2020 song “Tunn Up.” The song features lines such as “Bad gal turn up (Wah gwaan)… Spliff mi ah burn up, pull her skirt up… Toes, dem a kill out… Mi fr**ky, make them girls wet like Fiji.”
Konshens got a new project on the way, a new record deal, and a new video out now.
Dancehall artist Konshens recently signed to Oakland-based Ineffable Records, and fans are now welcoming his brand new video, conceptualized during the current Covid-19 pandemic, for a track that should be featured on his forthcoming third studio album.
Ineffable Records was launched by its parent company Ineffable Music Group in 2019. Since then, the company has gone on to do great things, such as ascending the Billboard Reggae Labels Chart, which it topped in 2019. 2020 saw the label falling back to second place on the aforementioned chart, where it played second fiddle to the major powerhouse, Universal Music Group.
The new label, which has so far represented the likes of Collie Buddz and Stick, has broken away from its previous core target of US-based reggae acts and has firmly planted its feet in the Caribbean. They are now working with Trinidadian group Kes and Jamaica’s very own International sensation Konshens.
A press release from Ineffable Records’ VP outlined the benefits artists can expect to gain from working with their platform.
“We’ve become the top independent label in the reggae space by providing artists with the financial backing they deserve without giving up master ownership; where projects recoup in a reasonable amount of time; and where they get paid every month instead of twice a year,” Adam Gross said.
Konshens knows a thing or two about pulling in those huge numbers. The Jamaican-born dancehall deejay has been doing it big for a number of years with collaborations from the likes of Cardi B, Rick Ross, Nipsey Hussle, Enrique Iglesias, The Chainsmokers, Doja Cat, Major Lazer, Nicky Jam, Pitbull, Clean Bandit, and Jamie xx. His solo efforts such as “Gyal a Bubble,” “Turn Me On,” and “Bruk Off Yuh Back,” which was released by r&b star Chris Brown, proves the deejay knows precisely what his fans and prospective collaborators are looking for and have also raked in millions of audio streams and views on Youtube.
Konshens PR team told Urban Islandz that his forthcoming album should arrive during the third quarter of this year will feature a host of other international collaborations as well as major players from Jamaica, one being Queen of Stage, Spice. Both Konshens and Spice have been teasing clips of their upcoming collaboration via social media, and fans are already looking forward to what he got in store.
For now, Konshens is offering his fans a sneak-peek into how he has been spending his days during the lockdown brought about by Covid-19. He does so through “Can’t Stay Sober,” which is the first release from the album title Red Reign. Kenny Gray spearheads the music video, while Konshens himself features as co-directed of the true to life representation of the reality many like himself are currently facing.
Blurred lines, jagged transitions, and lucid filters, effectively convey the mind of an intoxicated individual. Shots capturing the sheer hopelessness that has currently taken afoot in Jamaica and other parts of the world is a strong reminder of not only the health crisis citizens are battling but also the economic and social challenges that develop along with it.
Konshens chooses his own forms of self-medication to help him weather the storm other entertainers are facing. While speaking at a press conference, he admitted to having a problem.
“Right now, I drink way too much and this song helped me to realize that, and now I’m taking steps to kick it,” he said. “The current climate of the world is forcing you into a state where it’s almost like you can’t stay sober. I’m not encouraging it, I’m just acknowledging the reality. This is a stressful time, and people are searching for an escape.”
Konshens further explained via a social media post that “Can’t stay sober is on 26 official playlists.”
The single was produced by Zum of Good Good Productions, with whom Konshens already has wonderful musical chemistry. Production credits for the impending album also include Rvssian, Jonny Blaze, Track Starr, and Silent Addy.
Even Vybz Kartel gets a taste of the tough Jamaican live music audience.
Vybz Kartel has often been viewed as one of Jamaica’s most prolific and talented songwriters. For years, he has been able to consistently release chart-topping singles, many of which have made their way onto various Billboard charts. Despite the fact that he has been imprisoned since 2011, the artiste known as the “Worl’Boss” continues to outperform his competitors.
On Friday, March 19, Kartel gave his fans a treat when he released a mini-album titled X-Rated. The new album was released under the Short Boss Muzik and Vybz Kartel Muzik labels and features nine tracks, which is an assortment of music and interludes from the dancehall artist.
Vybz Kartel has long regarded himself as the holder of an “alien brain,” solely based on his musical abilities. He has now revealed the specific time and place he was possessed with his celestial abilities on “Solid Boo,” a track from the new album. As the title states, the interlude speaks of a time the deejay’s courage and persistence was put to the test when he was ridiculed while on stage. The “booing” incident took place in the early 1990s when what many now define as one of the best eras of the dancehall was starting to take root.
At the time, a teenage Vybz Kartel, who went by the name Addi Banton, resided in the hot and tormented community of Waterford, Portmore. As Kartel explains in his signature baritone voice mixed with a slight taste of mischief, he and a friend had snuck out of their homes to attend a stage show. Being confident in his deejaying skills, the young Kartel took to the stage and deejayed, “Di gyal bruk out like ah big dutty sore, lawd! She f*** down di whole a Portmore.”
Sadly, the biting lyrics were not well received as he had hoped, and what followed next was a resounding “Boooooooooo.” Vybz Kartel further explained that the MC made matters worse when he implied that he and his lyrical partner had not only made a mockery of himself but the craft on a whole. “Jah know star dem yute yah make the deejay ting look haad.”
It’s not often that one hears about the great Vybz Kartel not owning any stage that he steps onto. This is due to the fact that the man now regarded as Di Teacha became a student of criticism that very night. The argument he got into with his dad upon his return from the event at 4 o’clock in the morning was not enough to deter him from writing ten songs that very same day. Hereby marks the beginning of the Vybz Kartel millions around the world have now come to love, fear, admire, and most of all, respect. The story also brings across a very profound message to a project titled X-Rated.
Vybz Kartel still had a host of hurdles to skip over before he was able to be regarded as the King of Dancehall. His connections with Bounty Killer, one of Jamaica’s greatest musical products, provided Kartel with an outlet for his creativity before his name was known by the masses.
Penning songs for Bounty Killer and other members of the “Warlord” led Alliance was a common practice for the “Unstoppable” singer. In turn, Killer brought that much-coveted spotlight to Vybz Kartel and the other acts under his wing. The relationship between Killer and Kartel would later go sideways, leading the latter to form his own musical outfit, Portmore Empire.
Kartel would go on to also spearhead much of the writing in the camp during the group’s heyday, which resulted in Empire becoming one of the hottest collections of artists in dancehall. The likes of Jah Vinci, Popcaan, NotNice, Lisa Hyper, Rvssian, Spice, and numerous other entertainers and producers have all benefitted from Vybz Kartel’s pen game, and they continue to heap praises onto him to this day.
A look at the best dancehall songs in 2021, so far.
From Yaksta’s “acres over Mark X” to Skillibeng’s “Di plane just crash wid e coke,” it’s safe to say that Jamaica’s musical engine has been pumping out the hits since the start of the new year. The industry giants such as Vybz Kartel continue to provide quality in quantity. However, not on the level that he did in 2020 when he had the airwaves buzzing with tracks from his album, To Tanesha. Nonetheless, 2021 promises to be a very musical year, with numerous entertainers either queuing to release an album, a mixtape, or an EP. Vershon dropped his 6-track EP title Only One a few days ago, while Sean Paul released his feature-laden project Live N Livin, which is one of two albums the superstar will be providing to his fans this year. The wealth of music brewing over the past three months has made us feel super privileged to be able to compile a list of the hottest dancehall/reggae singles we have received so far.
To select the songs for this list, we look at the numbers across DSPs and real world impact to see which singles are playing in dancehall sessions, parties, clubs, and on radio stations locally and overseas. The list also comprised of only songs that are released in 2021, so yes there are music from last year still in heavy rotation now, but so are music from three decades ago.
So which dancehall songs are the top tracks so far this year?
Chronixx – “Safe N Sound”
Ironically, no form of oppression was safe and sound after Chronixx dropped his latest nearly a week ago. The visuals portray a warzone-like atmosphere where smoked skulls and travesty indicate the order of the day. The lyrical stepper acts as the lone vigilante in the warzone, using his words, sounds, and power to hit back at the government, among other controlling subsets. How ironic that just a few months ago, Prime Minister Andrew Holness hailed Chronixx’s catalog as the face of what Jamaica’s music should look like, based on his profanity-less lyrics. Chronixx recently offered a surprise when he chanted a classic Jamaican expletive over the odd but infectious dancehall beat. The “Behind Curtains” singer has been delivering his vocals over beats of this nature for the past couple of years, with many of these cuts reportedly making it to his upcoming album. Excitement galore if you ask us!
Alkaline “Top Prize”
Whether you love him or hate him, it’s pretty hard to deny the fact that Alkaline is one of the world’s hottest entertainers with a Jamaican passport. While fans are still trying to figure out just how the entertainer got his name, they now have other questions, such as when will his new album be hitting shelves. The deejay announced both the release of what will be his sophomore album and its lead single back in February. The lanky figure who is known for flashing his bright smile on national television while participating in Jamaica’s Junior Schools Challenge Quiz has come of age and is promising fans a more mature dose of Alkaline on the new project. The title track was everything his Vendetta fans needed to quench their overactive musical appetite while getting their daily dose of motivation. The smooth cut is best listened to while wiping that mist from your bathroom mirror while getting ready to tackle the day ahead.
Popcaan – “Win”
Basketball is one of the most demanding sporting disciplines in the world, period. While the United States is seen as the Mecca when it comes to hooping, other countries also boast a pretty solid basketball program. Jamaica is slowly upping its ranks as far as b-ball is concerned, and with the help of the Unruly Boss, Popcaan, at least one fictitious team was balling after coming out victors against a Neville Bell coached offensive. The music video shines some light on basketball legend Kobe Bryant, who perished in a helicopter crash last year. Whether purposely or coincidentally, Popcaan dropped the visuals only a few days after the 1 year anniversary of the sportsman’s death. Popcaan’s most comfortable spots are his kitchen, the river, on stage, and next to his mom Miss Rhona. However, in the most ironic of fashions, he seemed pretty comfortable on the sidelines of the court in “Win.”
Popcaan – “Relevant”
Popcaan picks up a double on our list when he teamed up with Droptop Records and kicked started the year with the soulful and inspirational ballad, which is still very much ‘relevant’ three(3) months down the road. The power of the track is compacted in simple but powerful lines which aim to stimulate even the youngest listener.
“Ghetto yutes go fi di goal, wi been ah win (Mhmm)
Failure nuh inna?my?ting,?no (Weh! Weh!?Ting, no)
If yuh?live inna board house, yuh still ah queen
Yuh still ah king (Yeah)
Failure nuh inna my ting, no”
Is failure a part of your daily mantra? We hope not. As for Popcaan, his positive winning streak continues.
Beenie Man Feat. Popcaan, Dre Island – “Fun In The Sun”
Fact check/History lesson: 2006 was the year we lost loved ‘Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin to a stingray. It was also during this year that 12 miners died during the Sago Mine disaster in West Virginia. It was also the year when Google acquired YouTube for US$1.65 billion. Who could forget the Whale who decided to venture into the River Thames? As for music, 2006 saw Daniel Porter ruling Billboard Hot 100 with “Bad Day,” and Sean Paul coming in just behind him with “Temperature.” Another Jamaican who had the place in a frenzy in 2006 was Beenie Man when he released two albums, Concept of Life and Undisputed. The latter was Beenie’s last album in almost 20 years. The dancehall artiste should definitely have the word legendary etched somewhere on his body for his ability to stay relevant all these years without a body of work.
Beenie Man and his one-time enemy Bounty Killer revived beliefs in good entertainment last year when they performed side by side on Verzuz. The two men did the next best thing shortly after they announced they would be releasing albums. After much delay, it seems 2021 is the year fans will be getting both projects. The Zagga Zow pioneer recently had some ‘Fun In The Sun” as he and co-writers and performers Dre Island and Popcaan sent their prayers up to the lord from the grounds of Hope Garden. The song has a special place in the heart of Beenie Man, who expressed that he wrote the song while sitting by the grave of his mom, who passed away in 2020.
“That’s why we must, yeah, yeah
We must live as one (yeah)
Divided we fall
Together we’re strong.”
Masicka, Tarrus Riley, Dunw3ll – “CORNER”
From one triple threat to another! Genasyde, Singy Singy, and Dunw3ll find friendship around the “Corner.” The Masicka, Tarrus Riley, and Dunw3ll collab provides a wonderful brace to everyone who is facing tough times, a commodity that is seemingly in never-ending surplus these days. From Covid-19 to exorbitant food prices and a crime monster that is on the loose, everyone needs a bit of positivity in their corner of the ring. Crank up the music, lace up your boxing gloves and let’s get ready to rumble.
TeeJay, Tommy Lee Sparta – “Power Struggle”
Known for its white sandy beaches, resorts, and once active nightlife, Montego Bay is a haven for many of Jamaica’s visitors. In recent years, the parish of St. James has proved that its musical talents are not only reserved for the walls of fancy resorts. The likes of Teejay, Tommy Lee Sparta, Rygin King, Squash, Daddy1, and a host of other newcomers have kicked the notion that good musical vibrations are only felt in the East of the island.
The Damage Musiq-produced song “Power Struggle” is just one such example of this. The track saw Teejay and Tommy Lee Sparta team up for the first time, causing quite a rumble in the dancehall jungle and since its release in January, bringing over 3,000,000 Youtube views. Free Tommy Lee Sparta is the general chant from adoring fans below the Youtube upload. Lee remains in lockup following an incident in which he was held with an illegal firearm during a police operation during the latter part of last year. “Power Struggle” captures the pain the deejay has faced at the hands of law enforcement.
TeeJay, Vybz Kartel – “Pressure”
Vybz Kartel addressed the hardships being faced by the common man in Jamaican approximately five years ago when he released his track “Pressure.” On the new track, also titled “Pressure,” the deejay is still questioning the constant uphill battle being faced by the people of the land. This time around, he brings Teejay, a man with whom he has found amazing musical chemistry, to tag along for a story that is all too real. Poverty, ruthless murders, and the deaths of the innocent are all topics discussed by both Kartel and Teejay. It’s a familiar topic covers by musicians from the genre known for speaking on the struggles and plights of the people.
Yaksta (Bush Lawd) – “Ambition”
Do you remember that bet you made about not being able to find any sound financial advice in today’s music? Think again, as newcomer Yaksta shows just how it’s done. The deejay is quickly emerging as the one to watch for the title of breakout artiste of the year, and his new track “Ambition” seems set to make that a reality. Bush Lawd is asking those questions that many are simply scare to ask, firmly standing on the pyramid of what’s right and not what’s hype.
“Why own a Farrari (Why why)
With no where to park it? (Wooiie)
Why shop at Louise V when there is a Target?
Now me hype and me feisty (Feisty)
True mines me a save it (Save it)
Dem guh fendy fi Trendy (Trend wah?)
Bank account cyah empty (Bruck!)”
The official video that was released nearly a month ago is nearing 1 million views, making it the entertainer’s biggest song to date.
Check it out and let us know if you caught all of the financial gems he offloaded.
Shaneil Muir, Daddy1 – “Toxic”
“Love a nuh something wha we practice but the two a we together too toxic…” Sings Shaneil Muir. The singer had a phenomenon in 2020, picking up speed in the early part of the year through her track “3D,” before finding her monster breakout hit “Yamabella.” Since then, Muir has worked with Vybz Kartel, among others, blessings tracks with her magnificent vocal range, raw power, and female prowess. No wonder she overpowered her dad when he tried to turn her away from her “Custom” singer boyfriend Daddy1. Daddy1 runs his usual game on Muir and his fans with a pretty familiar flow that is worth a minute or two of your attention. Check it out.
Shenseea – “Upset”
Chimney Record’s Style A Style Riddim forms the base for this bit of gold from Shenseea, which arrived weeks after the official release of the “juggling compilation.” As the saying goes, it’s never too late for some good lyrics hitting out at anyone looking to bring across any bad energy. Interestingly, the track was released around the same time that Spice and Shenseea were allegedly contesting the “Queen of Dancehall” status. Shenseea has been making her presence felts on the international circuit for some time now. She seemingly got a boost in ratings earlier this year as she made numerous appearances on the walls of the popular urban blog, The Shade Room. There have been talks of an album arriving sometime soon, fingers and toes crossed that it works out.
Prince Swanny – “Tell Me”
Did someone say Trinibad? If you are still unsure about one of the fastest rising sub-genres of dancehall, stay tuned. One of the frontrunners for the movement, which was born in Jamaica, shipped to Trinidad, and is now being redistributed around the world, is Prince Swanny. The deejay has managed to amass a huge following on social media, including Youtube, where you can find the music video for “Tell Me.” There were no mistakes in the naming of this track as Swanny shares the intimate details of what he loves to do, which include caressing his ladies and his firearms. Slow and steady wins the race for “Tell Me” as Swanny effortlessly flows over the beat.
“Tell mi if they really want it we mek di
Money when we outside we strap up
With di 45 dawg none a dem nuh bad
Like we yeee yeah an every fat p*ssy
Gyal dem waah we dem waah fi sit”
Vybz Kartel, Likkle Addi – “Popular”
The master tactician Vybz Kartel is already planning his exit from music, leaving the business in the hands of his three boys, Likkle Addi, Likkle Vybz, and Aikodon. Both Likkle Addi and Vybz have conducted interviews with Winford Williams, where they spoke of focusing on the business aspect of music and all that it entails. They have no plans to step from outside of the booth, though, and “Popular” by Vybz Kartel featuring Likkle Addi is proof that the youngsters have a lot to offer musically. The official music video is inching closer to the 2 million views mark on Youtube. Many would desire to take away the stalker element expressed in the following line. However, there is a strange feeling that it’s one that actually contributes to the mystique of the track.
“I wanna meet you so much it hurts”
Sean Paul, Intence – “Real Steel”
Dutty Paul and Dutty Yeng have enough steel to frame a skyscraper but rest assured that every inch will be going to the female(s) they both desire. “Real Steel” is possibly one of the “duttiest” tracks fans have heard from Sean Paul in a while. The rudeboy persona is on full display, something the ladies simply cannot resist. Sexual favors are plenty, with both Intence and Paul sharing the same girl. Wild! The song is from Paul’s brand new album Live N’ Living, which is packed with many other collaborations, fulfilling Paul’s mission to spread dancehall talents far and wide. The track’s Youtube numbers have been a bit stagnant, but the song is picking up heavy rotation on international radio stations such as Hot 97.
Intence – “Pickachu”
“Pickachu” is a solid track from Intence, which is delivered with clarity and at a moderate pace, making it one which his fans should be able to jam to. Yet, the 1,000,000 and more views on Youtube may actually be a result of a clever but out-of-the-box move from the director of the video. “Ashtray Browning” makes a 3 seconds cameo and steals the spotlight from Intence in the visuals. The clip starts out with the deejay beginning his descent down a flight of stairs but stops to ash his cigarette into the properly placed mouth of a browning, who’s sitting close by. The incident caused quite a stir on social media, with pundits giving their approval or disapproval of the move.
Skillibeng – “Coke”
Skillibeng became the plug for hits in 2020, and that followed in 2021 when he released “Coke.” The track proves that the St. Thomas-based deejay is not only able to craft clever bars but is also able to spot an opportunity. His decision to write his track and shoot his video in and around the mysterious plane landing on the South Coast of Jamaica has proved bountiful. Seven million views since its release on February 02 is pretty astounding, even for SKillibeng. “Brik Pon Brik” was released in December 2019 and is also lingering at the 7 million mark on Youtube. “Crocodile Teeth,” is leading the charge with 15 million views and is set to go even further as a result of cosigns from the likes of Drake and Burna Boy. Still, it’s pretty hard not to love the audio extracted from one of Jamaica’s biggest movies, as well as Skilli’s opening lines, “Di plane just crash wid e coke.”
Mavado – “Not Perfect”
Dancehall artiste Mavado is finding 2021 to be one of his worst years yet, after the conviction and subsequent life sentence handed down to his son Dante Brooks and the recent death of his mother, Elizabeth ‘Ms Pinny’ Gordon. Before it all went downhill, Mavado delivered this track that explained his overwhelming feeling, as he called on his son to stay strong during his trial. Mavado’s words may offer you a bit of solace during your difficult time. You can check the track below.
Lila Iké, Skillibeng – “Thy Will”
Skillibeng gets another entry on our list through the positive collaboration with one of reggae’s hottest acts, Lila Ike’. It’s the remix to “Thy Will,” which was released as a part of her debut EP early last year. The video incorporates religion, protest, among other ways, to fight back at the system and stick it to the man.
Urban Islandz honorable mentions.
1. Popcaan, Beres Hammond – “God Is Love”
2. Spice – “Watch My Life”
3. Intence, Govana – “Public Enemy No. 1”
4. Sean Paul, Busy Signal – “Boom”
5. Jahmiel – “Unbroken”
6. Vershon – “Stick By Me”
7. Christopher Martin – “Rent Free”
News has surfaced that Roland Drummond, the road manager for reggae artiste Nesbeth, was shot in the face by an unknown assailant and his licensed firearm stolen on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Nesbeth posted a short video clip of him and his road manager via Instagram with the caption: “They shot my road manager in his face and took away his license firearm. Please keep him in your prayers. Jamaica is out of control be safe everyone.”
No motive has yet been established for the shooting incident. Over the years, Nesbeth has been through his fair share of tragedies. His most recent was the loss of his brother Anthony Brown while he was on tour. He reportedly cut his tour as a result of the untimely death. In six years, the “My Dream” singer has lost six family members. He has also lost his wife, grandmother, mother, sister, and aunt.
Nesbeth is a native of Arnett Gardens in Kingston. His most popular songs include “Victory”, “Abuser,” and “Guns Out.” His first single, “Reflection of Love,” was released in 1993, and he did an EP, Victory, in 2014.
Although he had been involved in music Nesbeth for a number of years, he said his musical career really began in 2007. The singer is known for his calm demeanor and his ability to seemingly bounce back from whatever tragedy has befallen him. Fans and followers have come out to send words of encouragement to him and also his road manager’s family after learning of the shooting which took place in Portmore.
His status was recently confirmed by senior cop Stephanie Lindsay.
“He is alive. Nesbeth’s manager was shot in the face, the senior superintendent in Portmore told me that his attackers took away his licensed firearm. The incident happened two days ago, and he is still alive,” she said.
Chronixx is “Safe N Sound” in his first release of the year as he continues to craft his sophomore album.
Reggae singer Chronixx has just released his brand new song and video, “Safe N Sound.” The video gets direction from Dark X and SAMO and track produced by Soul Circle Music. Dubbed a lyrical master, the “Skankin’ Sweet” artiste does not disappoint with his delivery in this new track and video.
For the most part, the video is set on a deserted inner-city street in Jamaica. Accompanying scenes also show him in a classroom and a market. He chants in the chorus: “We need more love flowing in the streets, Children?a smile an?a skin dem?teeth. More love flowing in the town. Whole community safe and sound. Love flowing in the street. Work affi gwan and food affi eat. More love flowing in the town. People tell me how mi sound.”
Chronixx preaches a message that is reminiscent of what is happening in Jamaican society as it relates to crime and violence. He reminds the youth to get wise and rise against “sufferation” and “poverty.” He encourages the youth of the nation to show more love and togetherness amongst each other. This is Chronixx’s first single for 2021. The artist is still working on his sophomore album that was originally slated for release last year. The new date of release has still not been announced, but fans are eagerly awaiting its release.
Beenie Man joins a growing list of dancehall artists venting about Prime Minister Andrew Holness curfew measures.
The onset of the Covid pandemic has led many Jamaican entertainers to assess the government’s plans to halt the spread of the virus. The measures which have since come under scrutiny by a handful of entertainers include mandatory wearing of masks in public spaces, tightened curfews, a band on large public gatherings, and most recently, the distribution of vaccines.
The likes of Spragga Benz and Buju Banton have publicly blasted both their fellow entertainers who promise to take the vaccine, as well as the government’s instructions to the citizens of Jamaica. Another dancehall veteran is seemingly hitting out at the Andrew Holness-led administration for apparently strong-arming the island’s natives in the name of Covid without placing much emphasis on other social problems such as homelessness and hunger derived from said measures.
Beenie Man decided to have a quick chat with his legion of fans on Instagram while preparing for a day out with his family at the Pegasus Hotel.
During his Instagram LIVE session, he questioned, “None a we no have no Covid and as rasta wa we fi do?” That transitioned into the deejay’s explanation of the various acts from the government and the police, which he disapproves of.
Jamaica PM Andrew Holness
“Me no like how dem a deal with the law a Jamaica. Dem a deal with the law like its a occupation. Because, police dem ketch you pon the road all after 9 or after 10 you affi pay dem money or you go a jail eno brethren,” Beenie explained to his fans. The deejay criticized the government for not providing enough positive options for the citizens to do right.
“The Man dem nah give you no mask, no sanitizer, dem nah give you nothin fi help yuhself, dem a lock yuh up say you breach the Covid law,” Beenie said while questioning the validity of a ‘Covid law’.
“You can’t tell poor people to go in them bed when no bed no de de fi sleep inna my yute, and is ghetto people uno a pressure,” he said while highlighting that he has never yet witnessed the police in the upscale community of Cherry Gardens where he resides.
“The man dem fi deal with the people dem with more respect…stop people and talk to people the right way,” Beenie advised the Police officers enforcing the law. “‘You a tell man say go over de so cause’ a after 1 now and ray ray,’ – Man a come from work. You de pon work you expect man fi lockdown cause uno say it fi lock down. How the money go come in? How my youth dem a go school?”
He added, “Uno stop dem thing de brethren. So is only security and police, and doctors and nurses suppose to de pon the road after 1, it no make no sense. If your money come in 12 o’clock, how you go make your money 8? Police can’t stop your money from come in.”
Beenie Man also cosigned Buju Banton’s recent address to his fans as he continues to rail against the government’s Covid mandate. “Buju do a ting today weh me respect,” he said. The Gargamel recently called at wealthy Jamaican citizens to let their voices be heard instead of hiding behind their masks while the government enacts tyranny and oppression over the nation. The calls from Buju came after numerous recordings of stand-offs between police and citizens who have grown weary of the stringent curfews and confinements.
Beenie Man has had his own issues with the law. Last year he was accused of breaching Disaster Risk Management and Noise Abatement Acts in Jamaica when he hosted a party in St. Elizabeth. He is set to face trial next month for those charges where he could face jail time or a fine. “Bun out government and them system,” he said, as he closed out the LIVE to spending some quality time with his family.
Beenie Man is scheduled to headline Sunclash meets Shutdown show in Ibiza, Spain, later this year alongside Bounty Killer. The Warlord urged fans to take their vaccine in order to experience the performance in person. The move angered Spragga Benz, who seemingly questioned the approach of Bounty and other entertainers who have endorsed the vaccine.
“Mi see some BIG BAD Jamaican artist promoting di vaxi agenda already… either dem get a promise or dem really dunce to the program,” Spragga wrote on social media.
The battle between pro-vaccine and no-vaccine continues to rage on.
A ton of reggae and dancehall artists were featured in the Utopia in Dystopia issue of i-D’s Jamaicazine, and they answered questions about the current music scene in Jamaica and their vision for 2021. Gary Sorrenti wrote an extensive article featuring the top artists in Jamaica right now after he visited the island in late December to interview and get shots of them.
Among the plethora of artists he met were the likes of Koffee, Sean Paul, Buju Banton, Beres Hammond, Shaggy, Ken Boothe, Chronixx, Protoje, Popcaan, Skillibeng, Lila Iké, Sevana, Jaz Elise, Yellowman, King Jammy, Shenseea, Beenie Man and believed it or not, even more. Almost all the artists agreed that the current music landscape in Jamaica is much more diverse than it once was. While some appreciate what the youngsters in music are doing to be more inclusive, others believe they have ventured too far from the roots. One thing that is also prevalent is the evolution has been quick-paced and inspired.
On how the music scene has changed over his lifetime, Shaggy says, “A lot has changed, but you can’t have evolution without change, you can’t achieve greatness if you just stay in your comfort zone. I love the new generation, people like Skillibeng, Koffee, they’re making disruptive music.” Meanwhile, Yellowman believes that “The youngsters, they do music only for themselves and one set of people. Back in the days we did music for everybody. You know? Young. Old. Even now. But I love Chronixx, Proteje, Popcaan, Koffee,” he said.
There seems to be a slight disparity with the view on the way the music has evolved between the veterans and the new school of artists. For example, Shenseea says, “Dancehall’s different – everybody grows, finds new ways, technology changes, but we’re still incorporating our roots into the music.” However, John John, son of the legendary King Jammy, who says he does “hardcore dancehall” music and “never stopped,” believes that “The youths don’t really know the roots.”
Protoje says Jamaican music is cyclical and that just like fashion, some aspects of it seem to resurface over time. “The sound of Jamaican music evolves all the time. But you know it also circles back, so a lot of stuff from the 80s you kind of hear again now, but it’s been updated. Jamaican music is a big cycle we’re always adding to.” On the other hand, Chronixx says the genre has transformed from a soul-reaching one to an intellectual one/ This surely enhances how an artist portrays their perspective of the times.
“Reggae is transitioning from a place where it’s hitting you directly in your soul to hitting you in the intellect,” said Chronixx. “Youths nowadays, we are information junkies. We started to get a better grasp of the concept of English language. So now we can twist it more. We’re making our language now.”
Koffee on the evolution of reggae music
Koffee, who seems to be a favorite among the veterans, tells the mag that “The sound evolves with the times. The message speaks to the times. So even if the sound is nostalgic, or the message is nostalgic, or it resonates with an older era, the vibe is always now.”
Due to the changes that the Jamaican music scene has gone through, people easily identify the new sound as less authentic, and Dre Island says he is a victim of that. “They say I’m not authentic reggae as they know it, but the message is authentic, I just fusion the sound. No divisions, no segregations. Reggae is a message and the music is always evolving. Give thanks for evolution, ’cause that is good and it is necessary.” Protoje seems to be all for it as he describes the music scene in Jamaica right now as “Very vibrant.” “There are so many exciting artists working in different styles of music,” he says. “The scene isn’t really stuck doing one thing. It’s very positive.”
Lila Iké: “I don’t really believe in genre”
What’s interesting is that we see where those “different styles of music” cause these newer artists to refrain from putting themselves in a generic category. While veterans could proudly say they make dancehall and reggae music or, in Yellowman’s case, also “Pop. R’n’B. And… a little opera,” the younger creatives unanimously disagreed with traditional genres. Lila Iké even said, “I don’t really believe in genre. I just make music that my soul wants me to make. Louis Armstrong said there is only two types of music. The good music and bad music. Exactly! Exactly. I guess I make good music then.”
This is a popular take among the new generation of artists who have expanded their scope and creativity to include a variety of non-traditional sounds and styles. Sevana says though it might sound pretentious, she would say she does “honest music.” “I don’t necessarily know how to give it a genre because I don’t follow any of the genre rules,” the “Mango” crooner explained. Similarly, Jaz Elise called the music scene “dynamic” and says she does “every kind of music,” while Shenseea told the publication, “I make everything. You know? I represent music entirely. Give me any track, I can go on it. Soca. Afro. Pop. Rap. Dancehall. Reggae. Just name it. Anything. I represent music. I’m a lover of music.”
Sevana says the evolution and how far the music has come is all “thanks to the likes of Protoje, Chronixx, Beres Hammond.” As a veteran and a very successful Jamaican artist, Beres Hammond is one who has always stayed in tuned with the times and enjoyed the evolution of the music and seeing youngsters rise with their new sounds. He is a lover of music as a whole and the type you can collaborate with no matter what style you dabble in. It came as no surprise that this forward-thinking music icon explained his take on the genre in a way that anyone could easily relate to.
“I’m a Jamaican, so the majority of the world when they hear Jamaican music they think of reggae, but I am not a reggae singer. I am a singer who sings reggae. There is a difference,” the famous singer said, echoing the opinions of young artists like Leno Banton, Rosh Rebel, and more. On how he feels about the current landscape of the music, Beres said, “I never have a problem with any music coming out of Jamaica because the youths are having a grand time doing what they are doing and I am always supportive. We have to let each generation express themselves in the way they know how.”
Sean Paul talks the rise of females in reggae/dancehall
Sean Paul and Sevana spoke to the fact that more women are rising up in Jamaican music than ever before. While the genres were historically dominated by men, it is clear that in a few years, that will be a thing of the past. “I’m very proud of the ladies stepping up. Shenseea, Koffee, Spice is doing her thing as usual. Ishawna. A lot of these young ladies are stepping up,” said Sean Paul. Sevana says the music scene is “the most diverse it’s ever been. More women pushing forward than we’ve ever seen in the history of Jamaica. There’s a lot of unity. Less beef, less rivalries.”
Most artists agreed that 2020 was a struggle, but while it was in a way a setback, it also doubled as an opportunity to better their craft. Shenseea admits that while she hasn’t been writing as much, she has “been reading, watching, learning to dance” and “making improvements.” Meanwhile, Protoje says he spent the year “basically living in the studio. A lot of introspection. A lot of deep thinking. Making a lot of music.” Jaz Elise says the emotional and mental toll that 2020 took is evident in her music. “A lot of pain. A lot of love. A lot of longing as well, due to the curfew. There’s a lot that is missing in our social life, that I’m feeling, that is in my music.”
As they all look on to the future, artists were asked about their hopes for 2021. They are excited about the prospect of performing for live crowds and touring again. “2021, man, I’m trying to get back on that road. I want to get in that tour bus, and I want to see people and watch them enjoy my music, and talk to people and just, you know, have real life interactions,” Lila Iké told i-D. Vanessa Bling is hoping for a “A Covid-19 free world,” she says. “Hit songs, world traveling, performing in front of crowds again.”
Buju Banton’s faith in humanity remains strong
When tackled with the question, Buju Banton delivered a moving speech, as usual, encouraging the masses to use their independent minds and not be swindled into the herd mentality. “I’m not a man of hope, I deal with faith. You know what I mean?” Buju said. “Faith in the people. Faith in humanity. Faith in one true and living God of creation. Faith that each man and each woman will question everything. Faith that the complicity that’s pervasive will one day be no more. Faith that to rule my people with fear, which is the greatest invisible weapon, will be extinguished. Faith that the people will have faith in themselves. Hope? We need faith man. God is good.”
These artists agree that other than the amazing food (and I truly am drooling as I think about it), Music and the unparalleled energy is the best thing about Jamaica. No matter how much reggae and dancehall sounds evolve, they will always be a part of the DNA of the famous island, and these sounds will no doubt continue to impact the rest of the world.
The images were shot by Gray Sorrenti on her iPhone 12 Pro Max when she traveled to Jamaica in the winter of 2020. She views Jamaica as her Utopia.
You can check out the full spread on current reggae and dancehall artists, old and new on i-D’s Jamaicazine: The Utopia in Dystopia Issue. You can pick up a copy here.
The artist, who is in the United States, said his mother had been feeling unwell, but she assured him she was doing fine. “After you told me that your feeling much better and your telling us that your ready to go back to your house I feel so good when you said that to me on the phone,” the “Give it All to Me” singer said.
“Mama still can’t believe it now I’m all alone can’t trust no one but I could always put my life in your hands from I was A kid it was always me and you walking up and down Constant Spring road, them days my little sister was just a baby them days I always said as a kid I’m going to buy you the biggest house and the prettiest car when I grow up. I build you the biggest house I keep my promise mama I did it and the world will remember US me and you,” he added.
What’s even sadder for the singer and his family, his mother cannot be buried immediately as the government has laced a ban on funerals due to the increasing cases of Covid-19 infections on the island. Additionally, Mavado himself might not be able to attend the funeral as he risks being arrested by authorities who had previously named a person of interest in the same murder case involving his son. The last time he was in Jamaica, he was also shot at by unknown assailants, so his life is also at risk by unknown persons.
Mavado also shared a touching photograph of him and his mother as she held him while a small baby. He has always had a close relationship with his mother and has even dedicated a song to her called “Mama.”
“Mama mi never ever ever ever ever ever / Left you out / Mi never left you in a the board house pon the Gully / Mi tek you out / You proud a you son / Seh mi proud a mi self / You teach me fi pray over mi self / Suh mi nuh care who nuh like mi / Dem is not God Almighty,” Mavado sings.
In another video of his mother shared today, Mavado said, “Love you mama I’m so so sorry.”
Wise ghetto youth start wise up now
Rise ghetto youth start rise up now
Bun sufferation and bun poverty
Mek dem know a evolution time
A Babylon invent crime
We need more love flowing in the streets
Children a smile an a skin dem teeth
More love flowing in the town
Whole community safe and sound
Love flowing in the street
Work affi gwan and food affi eat
More love flowing in the town
People tell me how mi sound
Lord a mercy
All of a sudden everybody a gun man
State of emergency and a bag a tension
Politician doh have nuh development plan
That’s why every community need a one don
One order, everybody fi unite
Nyahbinghi order Rastafari
Nuttn nuh precious like di youth dem life
Dat a one thing nuh mount a money cyah buy
Chat dem a chat
A talk bout dem a bad man
A run up dem mouth an gwan
The guns that they gave you
Are tools that they use to break good communities down
A mus the boom and the rum
Fly up in your head my son
Mek yuh figet seh you a king
And start bleach out your skin
And flex like a bloodclaa clown
Children a laugh and a skin dem teeth
More love flowing in the town
Whole community Safe N Sound
Love flowing in the streets
Work affi gwan and food affi eat
More love flowing in the town
Come on Jamaica, tell mi how mi sound
Look how much a wi son dem kill already
Look how much juvenile dem killing again
Future Shellyann Fraisers Usain Bolts
Doctors, wi lawyers and all wi singer dem
African people we lock di world already
A through the powers of Haile I, we a win again
Wi up and wi ready, di natty firm and heavy
Diss Rastafari and everything a dead
Chat dem a chat
And a talk bout dem bad
And a run up dem mouth and gwan
Prostituting wi daughters
Wi son dem get slaughtered
They breaking our families down
A mus the boom and the rum
Weh di Dutty government bring come
Mek you figet seh you a queen
And start bleach out yuh skin
An a flex like a fool Winsome
Or it could be many years of brainwashing
Or the stew peas with the pig tail
It even might be these pills that they poppin
Mek everybody feel like a big devil
Affi face the truth an wi cyaa hide from it
Affi heal wi people, it’s inevitable
Cause the poison food a mek di youth brain damage
Coupled with with the crap they watching on the cable
Pastor nah nuh answer
Di youth dem inna d church sick and dying from cancer
Marijuana is the healing
And a long time church people a laugh after Rasta
Jamaica government invest millions a dollars fi destroy wi landrace sativa
Bring in seeds from California
And then they legalize ganja
Vybz Kartel’s son says he has major plans for Adidjaheim Records starting next month.
Likkle Vybz, who is the eldest son of the incarcerated dancehall artiste, is poised to take over his father’s label, Adidjahiem Records, in April when he turns 18. In a recent interview with Winford Williams via OnStage, the young artiste and burgeoning entrepreneur spoke at length about how he plans to run the label when he takes over.
Likkle Vybz believes artistes need to become more involved in the business side of music as opposed to just voicing a track and then leaving it up to their respective managers to deal with. He told Winford, “Basically in music yuh nuh you can’t just be in the studio doing music and you basically leaving the business part of everything else in managements hand or somebody and you don’t really know what’s going on.” He urged young artistes to be more hands-on with their craft.
As it relates to the artiste signing to the Adidjahiem Records Label, his plan is for them to have a partnership. When quizzed about changes he wants to see in the music business, he mentioned that he does not think there are any solid labels behind artistes in Jamaica. He also expressed that he hopes to not just be signed to major labels such as Interscope, Atlantic, etc. “Instead of being like alright we are signed to them it would be more like a partnership with Adidjahiem records,” he said. The goal is for the artiste to still have creative control over their own music.
“Music is always bigger than Jamaica,” he continued. He emphasized that artistes should constantly be searching for the next step to take their careers which will also positively affect the future of dancehall and reggae music. When questioned about the girls and material things that come with being a dancehall act, he said he was not really into all that now, saying it was just an image.
Much like his father, Vybz Kartel, the 17-year-old announced that he has some upcoming businesses in the pipeline and an initiative for the non-profit arm of the business. He said, “Dancehall Royalty Part 2” was in the making, and fans should look out for it. The music industry is waiting to see exactly what Likkle Vybz will do when he eventually takes over.
It’s quite refreshing to see that a young artiste in the business seems to have a solid idea as to how he wants his brand and dancehall music to improve. One of his younger brothers, Likkle Addi, was also recently interviewed by Winford Williams, and he too seems poised to continue the legacy their father started. What are your thoughts on the interview?
Dancehall entertainer Beenie Man has been steadily promoting the leading track off his much-anticipated album Simma. The new song and video titled “Fun In The Sun” dropped just a few days ago and featured Popcaan and Dre Island.
The dancehall veteran recently joined in on the new audio-based app Clubhouse to discuss the new album. He also explained just how he penned the leading track and where he soaked up the inspiration for the lyrics, which call for unity and love.
While commenting on the song, which according to The Star, was also played during the Clubhouse session, the entertainer lamented on the track’s formation.
“Not so much the lyrics or lines, is which part me write the song, which was by me mother grave. That’s where the idea came to me, right at the graveside,” he explained. Additionally, the deejay has credited his late mom’s teachings as the driving force behind the gospel-themed piece of music and also spoke about unity on display on the album, similar to Sean Paul’s recent campiagn of “collaboration over confrontation.”
The music video was done on the grounds of Jamaica’s Hope Botanical Garden, with additional B-roll cuts coming from the country’s rich landscape.
The legendary Jamaican entertainer who was born and raised in Kingston has now found himself venturing the rural areas to spend more time with his mom. Earlier this year, Beenie Man showed fans the elaborate two-story burial house where his mom was laid to rest. The unit features a sofa, beautiful and modern lighting, among other small items one could find in a space for the living.
“Mi madda is my best fren, enuh, like seriously, that’s why me down a St Elizabeth so regular,” Beenie said.
He continued by explaining he visited her last week Sunday to get her blessing for his upcoming album. It seems Beenie has all the right ingredients to pull off a fantastic album. The availability of a wide mixture of talent due to Covid has resulted in several collaborations.
“It’s a lot more collaborations; nobody nuh have anything to do, everybody deh a Jamaica so we link up in the studio a mek songs,” the dancehall legend said. “Artiste can sit back in them studio, and me can go check a Shaggy or go Sean Paul studio fi check him. Otherwise, they would be on tour or me woulda deh pon tour.”
The entertainer still has not offered a release date for the album, which should arrive later this year, after nearly one full year of delays.
Cruel Santino and Koffee got a collaboration on the way.
There has been much buzz around Jamaica’s youngest Grammy Award-winning artiste Koffee after she stripped down for a sultry Calvin Klein shoot. It turns out that there is much more coming our way from the 21-year-old, this time as it relates to music. The “Rapture” singer and Nigerian rapper Cruel Santino were definitely cooking up in the studio, and by all indications, their impending release will be worth the wait. The brand new track was previewed by Santino during an Instagram LIVE session just a day ago.
The African-based entertainer showcased just why he is thought of as one of the continent’s most inspiring and unique young entertainers, as he blended his Nigerian dialect with that of Jamaica’s patios. Koffee’s unmistakable vocals came through just beyond the end of Santino’s first verse and carried through until the Nigerian stopped the beat dead in its track, leaving his viewers craving more.
This is not the first time that Koffee has been linked with a Nigerian entertainer. Just last year, the singer was seen working it out with African Giant Burner Boy. There hasn’t been any word on that release just yet, but many feel it could be featured on Koffee’s forthcoming album.
There is still no word on the name of Santino’s recently previewed track.
Much like Koffee, Santino emerged on the music scene only a few years ago. His debut album “Mandy & The Jungle” boasted songs such as “Sparky” and “Freaky” that resonated heavily with groups interested in a mixture of indie, alternative, hip hop, and dancehall sound. The Interscope Records talent recently formulated his label known as Monster Boy and is poised to make a big musical impact.
Santino’s talent can also be seen behind the lens, which gives him full creative control over his visuals. It is unclear if his Koffee collab is already being fitted with a music video. However, it would be pretty interesting if that came to pass. Ghanaian entertainer Stonebwoy recently visited Jamaica and expressed just how fun it was to journey to the island to shoot a video for a track he had done with Jahmiel.
The small island territory that has birthed one of the world’s greatest music genres has seen a reconnection of sorts with fellow entertainers from the motherland. Other African stars such as Davido and Wizkid have all tapped into the unique put fruitful relationship. By the sounds of it, Santino has become of the latest to do so, and fans can’t wait to hear the complete song.
Critics of the dancehall legend, who is aptly called ‘Worl’Boss,’ proclaimed in 2014 ahead of his sentencing that if convicted, the life and career of the controversial but highly gifted artist would be effectively over.
Fast forward to 2021, and a lot has changed from 2014 when Kartel was convicted and sentenced to 35 years to life for the murder of a former acquaintance, and now, the world in the throes of a pandemic. While things have changed, it has also remained the same as Vybz Kartel’s dominance spreads from jail and continues to top the charts locally and abroad.
Vybz Kartel continues to enjoy top-of-the-line airplay on local radios. While other artists might be lucky to get one or two of their songs played, there is no other artist who regularly and on-demand enjoys whole sessions of their catalogs played, whether it’s a whole session of girl tunes or wining tunes for his female fans or bad man tunes for his male Gaza fans.
One thing has been missing, though, and that is the stage presence of the artiste, which is a very common factor in the dancehall space in Jamaica. Fans and DJs tend to give more ‘fawud’ to DJs who are present. But that isn’t the case with Vybz Kartel.
According to ZJ Chrome, the producer of Vybz Kartel’s No. 1 track “Clarks,” which also launched the career of Dancehall superstar Popcaan, he feels that Kartel has in some respects faded from the dancehall scene as is natural with artists who are around for a long time but his dominance in untested given his cult-like fan base.
“I would say yes and I would say no. Yes just like any other industry the people move on, and the music changes and evolves and you have new people who are more relevant in dancehall. But he still has one of the biggest fan bases in dancehall and his streaming numbers are definitely one of the top three in dancehall.”
ZJ Chrome / IG @zjchrome
“As it relates to the streets maybe he’s losing a bit of the streets because of a lack of presence but his fans are the die hearted fans that stick around, so he’s fading but that’s the natural fade if you ask me because no artiste stays on top forever, but he’s still even with his fading his numbers says he’s the best out there.”
ZJ Chrome says that even though Kartel is not here, not much will change as long as fans are getting the type of music they expect from their favorite icon.
What is perceived to be a fading might also be something the artiste is aware of. In 2019, he dismissed YouTube trending and views as a mark of relevance and called it a “kid’s game.” At the time, fans and critics reacted to his Rock Pop song “No Ok,” which many said sounded like a Disney movie soundtrack- something that is also almost a compliment as the artiste’s versatility was once more on display as he sought to expand his fan base to a new genre of music previous dancehall artists have not ventured to do.
“Vybz Kartel is bigga dan YouTube trending…lef it fi di kids… Gold n Platinum ai pre,” he said. No doubt his reference was to his streaming numbers, such as his RIAA Gold Certified “Fever.”
In spite of those criticisms, Kartel was the most streamed artist in 2019, and in 2020, he still had the most collective YouTube streams at more than 12.5 million views up to the first part of the year.
Vybz Kartel is now known one as one of the most prolific dancehall artists alive and to have lived.
It all began when a young Adidja Palmer dropped out early from Calabar High School to pursue his musical passions. Palmer came from a strict home where education was a priority, but at the height of that decade was the sweeping popularity of reggae music and the rise of dancehall music, and the lure was too strong for the young Palmer.
Soon he called himself Adi Banton, after his inspiration figure Buju Banton and in 1983, at the young age of 17 years old, he recorded his first single, “Love Fat Woman.” It wasn’t long after he joined the budding “Alliance” group led by the enigmatic and widely controversial artiste Bounty Killer. His rise to stardom started with his skills as a writer for the Grung Gadzilla, and he quickly becomes one to look out for as a promising rising star. This is also where he met his future rival Mavado.
It wasn’t long after he left Alliance, dissatisfied with the way things were going and set out on his own as an independent artiste- something many Alliance members viewed as being ungrateful, and if you are born in the Caribbean, there is no greater sin than to be ungrateful!
Nevertheless, the young Palmer had talent, and fans who had an eye and ear for good lyrics were drawn to him. This was the beginning of the passionate or, as one former Prime Minister of Jamaica called it- his ‘rabid’ fans base called Gaza. Of course, at the time that Palmer was rising, clash culture in dancehall was the greatest way to launch an artiste’s career, and so his beef with Mavado led to one beef after another while their loyal fans drew battle lines as they identified as either Mavado’s Gully or Kartel’s Gaza. The war touched every section of society as Kartels dominance spread- from the ghettos in the inner city to high schools. Police say the feud over Gully vs. Gaza was responsible for several murders and shootings along Mannings Hill Road.
Vybz Kartel 2004 in Brooklyn
By this time, Vybz Kartel was now known and respected as the top dancehall act by fans and critics alike as he formed his own Gaza camp, which included the likes of Jah Vinci, Popcaan, Gaza Kim, Lisa Hyper, Black Rhyno, Meritol, and others. Soon though, they became aware of the dark personality that is Vybz Kartel. His life became characterized by controversy as rumors swirled that he would beat his artists, and deejay Gaza Kim showed photos of her face battered, which she says were as a result of her and her brother being attacked and beaten by men at the direction of Kartel.
Kartel, however, did not accept responsibility for the incident; instead, he condemned violence against women and girls. Gaza Kim was eventually expelled, and not long after, one by one, the other members of the camp were also expelled for one reason or the other.
In the years as Vybz Kartel, the artist, unfolded, he also became a father to three children with his common-law wife Tanesha ‘Shorty’ Johnson, and he also fathered children with a number of other women.
The controversy with Kartel also included the move to bleach his skin, changing from a person with a darker skin tone to someone several shades lighter- at one point, his skin tone was almost white.
In spite of this, support for him did not wane, but he became rather more popular. He also thrived musically as he released dozens of hit songs and toured the world, becoming a global style icon and even appearing in video games.
Up to the time of his arrest, his income is said to have been eye-watering from his many business ventures that included his Street Vybz Rum, condoms, cake soap, and Clarks footwear, along with his music that was also becoming streamed globally.
The years prior to his arrest saw a number of hits released as Kartel dominated the space, making it hard for other dancehall acts to get the level of attention he was enjoying.
With digital music streaming starting to gain traction, he quickly re-arranged his strategies to meet the changing ways fans consumed music. This move would prove to be a lucrative new stream of income for Kartel. It is arguably the most productive and long-lived, which also assists with keeping him relevant behind bars.
Although he previously saw Billboard success in 2009 with “Romping Shop” featuring Spice, his album debut on the chart came in 2011 with Kingston story, a digital album and later an extended version in 2012, debuting at No. 13 on the chart. This was the beginning of Kartel’s streaming dominance.
He also received wide acclaim for his album “Roots and Culture: the Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto, in 2013, and that same year released a number of hits that continue to be fan favorites today, including –”Georgina,” “Punani a mi best friend,” the shocking and controversial song celebrating oral sex “Freaky Gal” part 1,2,3; “Benz Punani,” “Why Pree,” “Summer Time,” “Bike Back,” “Cake soap”- which set off the trend among Jamaicans to bleach their skin, “Touch a Button,” are just a few notable songs among the 50-odd songs he released.
He also received success for Kartel Forever: Trilogy in 2014 and Reggae Love Songs and Other Things also released in 2014. Following his arrest, his hits continued to resound with the release of Viking (Vybz is King) which peaked at No. # on Billboard Hot 100 in 2015 and the widely successful “King of the Dancehall” debuting at No. 2 on the chart in 2016 and he was certified Gold by the RIAA for the song “Fever” released in 2016. He has since released dozens if not hundreds of songs since his pre-incarceration days.
Some critics feel that the artist has been releasing too much music that isn’t having the same impact. However, a check shows that Kartel is among the top five most-streamed artists for dancehall on Audiomack each week.
Additionally, one music producer who requested anonymity says Kartel may be a bigger influence in jail as if he was out of jail. He asserts that many of the new young artists are trying to become the next Vybz Kartel.
“Some [new artistes] look up to him but they will try not to do it intentionally. Some people admit it and some don’t. Some don’t because they have a market strategy and they are using that to create a fake illusion of being anti-Kartel and using that to get a buzz when Gaza fans react,” he said.
The producer says Kartel’s influence can be seen by the way young artists are mimicking aspects of the artiste’s personality and style- his creativity, and selling themselves by starting controversies which Kartel did back in the day but nowadays that is now akin to trending online.
“It’s like the deejays who all want to be like Shabba…whenever an artiste is at the top you always find a string of young artists deejay like him in his era in hopes of getting the kind of success he has and they study and copy him.”
Meanwhile, when asked what he thinks accounts for Kartel’s longevity and if he foresees it to continue into the future- especially in light of Vybz Kartel’s appeal of his murder sentence to the Privy Council in England, he says nothing is likely to change given Kartel’s fan base.
“He’s getting public buzz but also the streaming numbers. He has a loyal fan base that reacts and responds immediately. Just watch if the Teacha’ post nothing…. They instanteously react to his directions to make videos, promote and stream his music. He doesn’t need anyone else.”
Even behind bars for a decade, the dancehall deejay is the strongest artist, something that has never before been seen in the genre’s history. Other artists in jail like Ninja Man have not released any new music since being incarcerated, but Vybz Kartel continues to flood the airwaves.
“If the man is behind the bar and doing so well imagine if he is in the streets! Even before Covid he has been dominating the dancehall space. In real life he is a genius. The impact he brought to dancehall nobody has done that.”
Vybz Kartel & Shawn Storm Leaving Court in 2014
Vybz Kartel and his co-accused, which includes artiste Shawn Campbell aka Shawn Storm, his close friends Kahira Jones and Andre St. John, have been granted leave to appeal their life sentences at the Privy Council. Their hearing is said to be sometime in 2021.
Despite being incarcerated for the past decade, Vybz Kartel remains one of Jamaica’s most influential artists. Though some may argue that his relevance is waning, his streaming numbers tell a different story.
Aside from being a musical genius, his secret to his success is his work ethics and ability to adapt with the changing musical landscape.
Bunny Wailer, the last of The Wailer, died leaving behind a rich musical legacy that will forever etch in the fabric of reggae music and Jamaican culture.
Wailer, whose real name is Neville O’Reilly Livingstone, died at the Medical Associates Hospital in Kingston. Also affectionately called ‘Jah B’ by friends and family, Bunny Wailer was a singer and songwriter and percussionist and the last living member of the renowned Bob Marley and The Wailers group that also included Peter Tosh, another founding father of Reggae Music.
Wailer is a three-time Grammy award winner and was awarded the Order of Merit for his contribution to popular culture, an award given to Jamaican nationals for their lifelong impact and contribution to the development of Jamaica. Among those who have publicly grieved his loss are his family and friends and Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who called his death a “great loss for Jamaica and for reggae.”
Among his most memorable songs is “Electric Boogie” with Marcia Griffiths that has an accompanying dance – “the Electric Slide” that has become a family tradition for many generations at family events, weddings, and birthdays. His voice leads records like “Keep on moving”, and “Riding High.”
Bunny Wailer’s career began as a small boy in the rural St. Ann community of Nine Mile. It was his destiny to meet Bob Marley while they were only children. He was raised by his father, Thaddeus “Toddy” Livingstone, who ran a grocery store, while Marley was being raised by his mother, a single parent.
The two quickly formed a relationship as friends and are said to have made their first music while at Stepney Primary and Junior High School as seven and nine-year-olds.
After Marley’s father passed away in 1955, his mother Cedella and Toddy struck up a relationship, and the two young men became step-brothers. They also shared a half-sister, Pearl, who was born from that union.
As young men, the two wanted to pursue music, and in order to do so, they felt their best chance was to move to Kingston. Here they moved to Trenchtown, and they then met a teenaged Peter Tosh. After his failure to attend his music audition on time, Wailer did not give up, and the three ended up forming the “Wailing Wailers,” which included Marley and Peter Tosh.
According to documented records, the name of the group was chosen because “We started out crying”, Marley said- in reference to the young men’s earnest search for a break into music.
Aside from that, they had no money and lived frugally in Trenchtown- a large tenement yard with communal bathrooms and water facilities. The economic harshness of their reality drove the men into music, and where they first encountered Rastafarianism, although it was still a relatively new religion and shunned in Jamaican society due to its acceptance of marijuana use.
However, that was no bar for their determination and creativity. Bunny Wailer reminisced about their early beginnings and having to make his own guitar – “a bamboo staff, the fine wires from an electric cable and a large sardine can.”
The Bunny Wailer story is overshadowed by the wide popularity of Bob Marley, and according to the manager of Wailer, Maxine Stowe, it was Wailers’ father, Toddy, who was the glue that brought the men together.
The Wailers also included Peter Tosh, Beverley Kelso, Cherry Green, and Junior Braithwaite, who formed the Ska group during the early 1960s. A local musician Joe Higgs helped to refine their harmonies. However, it was the elder Livingstone who was selling marijuana which was then illegal, who funded the group, which began recording music in 1964.
They quickly topped the Jamaican music scene with “Simmer Down,” recorded at Studio One with the rhythm from studio house band “The Skatalites.”
The group went on to become widely successful for a time. By the early 1970s, Marley and Bunny had learnt to play some instruments, and they eventually hired other musicians to play the bass and drum. In 1974, both Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left the band to go solo, and Bunny eventually began operating under his own record label ‘Solomonic.’
According to historians, the reason Wailer and Tosh famously quit The Wailers in 1974 to go solo was because they refused to go on tours and perform at “freak clubs,” as suggested by Chris Blackwell. His reason behind the life-changing decision was because the suggestion went against his strong Rastafari beliefs and his spiritual path that became stronger while a part of The Wailers.
The band also is said to have issues due to the crookedness of Chris Blackwell, who, according to them- was responsible for the band breaking and the ensuing bad blood among the three original members. Bunny Wailer refers to Chris Blackwell as “Chris Whiteworst” and claims that Blackwell recorded, marketed, and released the band’s work under Bob Marley and The Wailers rather than The Wailers- since 1969, something that was akin to their own credit being stolen.
In spite of these differences, each of the men went on to lead successful lives, and Reggae music spread like wildfire during the 1970s-1980s. However, both Marley and Tosh did not live to see old age, with Marley dying from cancer in 1981 and Tosh murdered in 1987. In his later life, he released dozens of albums and compilations and is viewed as one of the founding fathers of Reggae and Roots music.
He is also noted in the history books as an advocate for the legalization of marijuana and has been known as a staunch member of the Rastafarian faith. It wasn’t always that way as a documentary on his life, “Blackheart Man” says he was jailed in the 60s for ganja. He served 14-months in prison at Richmond Farm Prison, and there he wrote the song “Battering Down Sentence.” The case was later dismissed even though he had served time.
A few years ago, Bunny Wailer suffered a minor stroke that affected his speech. He is married with children. However, tragedy struck the family in 202 after his wife of 50 years, Jean Watt, was reported missing, and up to the time of his death, it is unclear whether she had been found.
According to Bunny Wailer’s family, his wife was 70 years old at the time of her disappearance, and she also suffers from a memory loss. She would’ve turned 71 in September 2020. Watt went missing on May 23, 2020, and the police investigation is still open. In the meantime, the Wailer family has continued to search for her and has a $1 million reward for information or her recovery.
Bunny Wailer wasn’t just the last living Wailer, he was also a strong advocate and protector of the band’s musical legacy and reggae music. He will be missed.