A few weeks back, my twitter was a buzz over a new Di Genius produced Mavado track that was set to drop on the HOT 97 Bobby Konders and Jabba show at 10:15pm. Following a new trend in dancehall promotion where tracks and riddims are selectively chosen to be premiered on international radio (eg. Genesis or Money Tree Riddim), for the first time, the hype actually had me curious enough to log in for the live stream. Mavado’s “Nine Life” dropped in right next to “Hold Yuh” (eh if I remember correctly), another tune that’s had international success, and it was quintessential Mavado survival-of-the-fittest epic. This is a “blat blat blat” song.
Vybz Kartel’s “Clarks II” has been blowing up on every street corner of Kingston lately. A track that was primarily launched to greatness through a home-style music video of Popcaan and Vybz chillin in the yard showcasing their (bootleg?) Clarks. The songs success has bridged the watery gap between Jamaica and the international music scene with a small bang, but primarily sticks to home base. It is also a “blat blat blat” song, but with a more standard “pop” style lyricism.
I’m not comparing the two songs to pit Vado vs. Vybz. That is not my intention and I think we’re all trying to move past that right now, including the artists themselves. This question relates more to their popularity and about how songs build (how far they reach, how long they last, how much airplay they get). Right now the biggest song from a Jamaican artist is Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh.” It is everywhere: Jamaica, Australia, South Africa, New York. “Hold Yuh” is not a “blat blat blat” song, it is a “wine” song. [*] VP Records launched it through a network of selectors who, in turn, slipped it in just right and because the song is solid, it nuh gweh.
It’s my understanding that Mavado’s “Nine Life” has the potential to blow up and outlive the popularity of Vybz’ “Clarks II” because of its selective build. Though it hasn’t reached its pinnacle, it is gaining steam. But the only real way of knowing if promoting dancehall through exclusives and premieres extends a song’s shelf life, is to just wait it out. So, in the mean time, listen to “Nine Life” below and get it through ITunes here.
Mavado, “Nine Life”
* [ED NOTE] Much of this credit should also be given to digital distributor Johnny Wonder– a man I speak of often on this blog– who blasted “Hold Yuh” to selectors and helped it gain momentum in the dancehall sphere.