"I did nothing fi offend bounty" - Baby Cham Staying True to His Rude Boy Pledge

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By: Claude Mills

I cannot forget where I come from/No 'mount of money can change man/Still blaze the skunk/But some leave the ghetto, get rich and tun punk. - Rude Boy Pledge

babycham_Ghetto_Story.jpgIn this poker game that we call the music industry, music insiders feel that artistes like Baby Cham is playing with a loaded hand. He is supremely talented, he's got arguably the greatest producer of his generation, Dave Kelly in his corner, he only puts out one great project a year, and he has the devilish the good looks to relax the thighs of any young girl he looks on.

Man, who wouldn't want to be Damian 'Baby Cham' Beckett?

"Some people may think that it is easy, not doing a lot of songs every year like other dancehall artistes but it is hard, I only have one shot to fire so I cannot miss, while another deejay might do 35 songs, he has plenty of back up in case he misses, so my thing requires tremendous precision," the 6'2 star told YardFlex.com.

Baby Cham is currently on a Summer-long local promotional tour, which is titled 'Giving Back'. He will be making islandwide appearances at various community events during the tour. He has cleared his schedule until early October to give himself enough time to get back in touch with his fans.

"I am giving back to my fans, donating things here and there to the people, a two pounds of cornmeal, two pound of floor, rice, two tin of beef, two mackerel, and CDs," he said.

Some people may say this act is merely an astute bit of 'guerilla marketing' to win over the hearts and pocketbooks of dancehall lovers. But Cham truly seems to enjoy his philanthropic role.
babycham_Bounty_Killer_Reggae_Photos_Beenie_Man_Rihanna_Sean_Paul_Sexy_Girls.jpg"Just the look on the faces of the mothers is worth it, they can leave the dance and know that they have something to go home with...if you need it, you take it," he said.

Cham knows a thing or two about poverty growing up as he did in Waterhouse, a notorious part of the Corporate Area. In fact, Cham's seminal dancehall hit "Ghetto Story" explicitly describes the poverty raging through Jamaica. Cham's gritty video for the track features him rhyming into a cell phone and children enacting his verses of knocking off corner stores and sleeping on wafer-thin foam. The video showed up on MTV, airing on "Direct Effect" and "MTV Jams." Cham also tapped Akon for the "Ghetto Story" remix, which recently went to radio.

But while the "Ghetto Story" single, a ubiquitous mixtape-to-mainstream success, may be old news in Jamaica debuting as it did in November 2005, an album of the same name is slated for an August release on Atlantic. The song will be the lead-off hitter on his album. Other songs include hi pro collabos with US heavy hitters such as 'Boom Boom' with Rihanna, 'Bad Boys' with Thea, and 'Bring it On' with Magic. The second single off the album for his dancehall fan base will be 'Rude Boy Pledge', a hard hitting song that decries people who 'get rich and switch' from their roots.

"It is always good to remember where you're coming from," he said.

PERSONAL LIFE

Things are definitely looking up for 'Baby Cham'. Even though he has been booked solid for the past few months, he cleared his schedule for the next eight weeks to accommodate his Jamaican tour, a move that might anger his accountant and money managers, but shows that he must be making 'major moolah', but his heart is still in the right place.

A few years ago, Cham bought a house in Miami, Florida where he spends a lot of time, but periodically comes to Jamaica for long stretches of time.

He denied rumours that he had tied the knot in an official ceremony with the mother of his two boys.

"I am married, yes, but not by a pastor, married, with children. Both of my sons are with one woman, who I call Mommy...yu dun know, the money stay inna one house," he said, laughing.

Known for such hits as 'Joyride', 'Many Many', 'Que Serra' and 'Gallang Yah Gal', Baby Cham graduated to star status after a smash hit, 'Another Level' with former friend Bounty Killer. But the two had a much-publicised falling out, and have not spoken since 2000.

"Mi no think about it personally. As long as mi know my heart clean, I did nothing to offend Bounty...I respect friendship, but when the person have something bigger and badder wrong wid dem, what can you do?" he said, shrugging his shoulders.

Cham has gone on with his life, reaping major international success. His 2003 crossover hit, 'Vitamin S' piqued the attention of Atlantic Records, and his international appeal was further heightened with the release of the controversial Ghetto Story which has been progressively clambering up the US and European charts. It is currently at #43 on the R & B Hip Hop Singles chart and #23 on the Hot Rap tracks chart.

He revealed that he was also thinking about doing a collaboration with female deejay Spice who he said "is saying some things no other female in the biz is saying right now'.

"I am not thinking about doing my own production yet, that is down the line, right now, I am just trying to focus on Madhouse, we got to keep the money in one house, and build it. I am not even working with any other producers right now, your songs have to be selective, not working with too many outside beats right now," he said.

What was your first job?

Raising sheep in Sherlock Crescent, 'crazy mutton we eat'

Who would he want to sit down and have lunch with, and why?

I would like to siddown with the Father, and ask Him if I can buy him lunch. He has blessed me over the years, and this would be my day to give back something to God, and ask Him a couple of important questions.

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