I would like to use your widely read editorial to air my views on two of the biggest Jamaican Dancehall artistes. First of all, I would like to advise fellow readers that this is not a Gully vs Gaza entry, it is merely a post meant to highlight, acknowledge and celebrate the achievements of some of our best entertainers. Some of you might take my post out of context and descend into a barrage of insults before fully digesting the contents of this article.
I would like to bring to your attention that one artiste, namely Mavado, has immensely changed Dancehall music over the past two years and has brought about the birth of a new generation of Singjays. Mavado who entered the Dancehall scene in 2005 with a huge catalogue of gangster hymns managed to captivate admirers and critics alike. He diverted the focus of Dancehall fans from hardcore deejaying artistes to his unusually crafted invention which entailed catchy choruses and mild deejay verses which anyone, from my Grandmother in Portmore to a kindergarten child in Kingston, could sing along to. This explains his breakthrough to the international scene in 2008 and 2009. In 2008 Mavado ended up finding some of his hit songs being featured on Grand Theft Auto 4 and one making the trailer, He won a UK MOBO award, was invited by Nike to make a song for one of Jamaica's leading Athletes, in 2009 he landed a spot on BET's 'Rip The Runway' and made it into billboard Hip Hop top 100. His unwavering dominance left his competitors with no choice but to try and imitate his style in one way or another. Some deejays turned to auto-tune in order to include melody into their tunes. A testament of Mavado's influence is in one such deejay turned singjay Vybz Kartel. A profound artiste whose strong presence on the Dancehall scene looked like it had become kind of obscured by that of Mavado. Vybz went on a warpath against Mavado and it culminated into an onstage clash at Sting 2008. This brought Vybz back into the limelight as he seized upon Mavado's then ongoing international flare and capped it all up by beginning a new career as a singjay with a melodious 'self proclaimed' victory anthem entitled 'Last man standing'. Kartel's singing career catapulted since that day. To this date, he has released a chain of melodious tunes that have smashed the charts each month, since the beginning of 2009. So I say. A number of other singjays have also emerged and Mavado faces his biggest challenge ever since he stopped on the scene in 2005. All I can say is that, this is good for Dancehall, It resembles the 1998-2000 era of another breed of singjays Vegas, Sean Paul, General Degree et al.
Prior to Mavado's emergence on the scene, another pioneer had made similar achievements with a style of his own. Vybz Kartel invented a style of deejaying which was both intelligent in words and in style. His impact was witnessed by his grasp of the helm of Dancehall King between 2002 and 2004. He developed a huge following thus earning himself the title 'Addi di Teacher'. Every young deejay wanted to sound like him and many 'Students' adopted his style albeit some in their own fashion. As Vybz always likes to proclaim 'I wrote 5 songs fi di barbwerbwoy', It should always be acknowledged that Mavado also brought some following to those songs with his melodies and hence gave Kartel more following, further to that he helped revamp Kartel's career through Sting and bringing up this new melodious style which Kartel also ended up adopting. .....And, as Bounty Killer is in the habit of remarking 'Kartel is ungrateful, Ah mi buss Kartel', It should also be acknowledged that Kartel wrote some songs for him with his new style in 2002 and even Kartel's lyrical genius helped Killer get a following. ....And as Kartel is in the habit of insulting Bounty Killer, it must be highlighted that Bounty Killer is one of Jamaica's greatest and achieved a lot with massive combinations with the likes of heavyweights such as Busta Rhymes, Gwen Stefani, The Fugees, Coco Brovaz and many more. Bounty Killer's career is what many current big Dancehall artistes such as Elephant Man, Harry Toddler and others have rode to fame on. So everyone has contributed something to everyone's career.
Although last year Kartel scorned a TV correspondent's comparison to him and Mavado saying that 'comparing a singer to a deejay is like comparing a Jay-Z to and R. Kelly' it wasn’t long before Kartel (the deejay) himself decided to go head to head and clash with the guy he termed an R.Kelly (Mavado, the singer) and claiming victory afterwards. Before another long interval, he also became an R.Kelly. All this said, I believe Kartel is both JA artiste of the year and singjay of the year because 2009 is the year Kartel got his rhythm back
Why I am addressing this is because Dancehall fans need to know where their music is coming from because in some cases, history is distorted and some huge fans are under privileged and do not have access to certain forms of media but cling to every word that one artist may say for himself or against the other. I am surprised that some people don’t even know what Shabba Ranks has achieved, Bounty Killer, Super Cat and many other legends. Fans of any of the above mentioned artistes should not be offended because these are just facts. Vybz Kartel has said it himself on a TV interview 'I come and change Dancehall but Mavado come and change it again'. Also as Mavado has said 'I listen to Kartel songs'. Some of Dancehall's rivalries cause one artiste to distort the record of the other, depending on how strong an influential he is.