The lyrical ammunition that feeds dancehall’s infinite archive of deejay conflict is fascinating for the dramatic posturing but also important because an angry deejay can be a lyrical murder if they have the capabilities. In some ways it’s what proves a deejay has reached status in the patriarchy (because dancehall is a patriarchy) or is trying to inoculate themselves into the circle. And if you’re young and poor in Jamaica, there is plenty to be angry about.
Since the beginning of the year, we haven’t been feeling the heat from many of dancehall’s “top” deejays, and call me nuts but a bout of anger is sometimes the best medicine for a) purging of societal corruption b) challenging the unchallenged c) invigorating a watered down career. The Anger Management column celebrates every thing about the angry deejay that we love to hate and hate to love. Check it out after the jump. Continue reading →
Last year Kiss my Teeth/Imagelala did a much more straightforward run down of the top ten riddims and singles of 2009, but this 2010 round-up goes a little deeper into the shifty geology that makes up this year’s successes and failures in dancehall. In 2010 we saw the sometimes successful, sometimes brash shuffle dancehall took into new sounds, the systematic revoking of visas, catastrophic failures in album sales, the incredible personal branding successes and some serious bleaching. Read it all after the jump.
Thought it was curious to see a tweet from DJ Karim today that Busy Signal was releasing a mixtape with DJ Khaled. Especially after the release of D.O.B. in June through VP was met with low record sales. Then I popped over to the Rhona Fox site and signed up to get the mixtape, listened to all thirty tracks and realized it’s a complete pop mixtape. Check it out:
Last week, as conflict increased in the Tivoli Gardens garrison and the Jamaican Police Force pressured residents to lower barricades blocking main arteries into the neighborhood as they pursued their hunt for “kingpin,” Christopher “Dudas” Coke, a fitting and somewhat ironic Juke Boxx riddim entitled “Damage Control” was released on the Dancehall.mobi digital music site. The riddim features tracks from a fiery Bounty Killer in suit with a pleading Busy Signal, a Buju Banton track that eerily foreshadows his recent incarceration, a guttural Elephant Man track with paranoid tendencies, amongst tracks from Spragga Benz, Wayne Marshall, Romain Virgo and Bunji Garlin. The three aforementioned tracks are the ones that particularly stuck with me as they seemed to have an obvious allegorical relationship to Jamaica’s current events.
As the events leading up to the holiday weekend seemed dire, it was wishful thinking for many of us that the situation would not escalate as quickly as it did Sunday afternoon, when Tivoli strongholds attacked numerous police stations in the area and police officers fired back. As a “State of Emergency” was called in the Kingston/St. Andrew area, Jamaicans held on to as many sources of information as possible as the media coverage seemed slow in yielding results and Twitter, newsradio and Facebook became the quickest way to obtain information. Sunday evening Prime Minister Bruce Golding addressed the nation in a four minute delivery that revealed very little and left the nation with no understanding as to what their current civil rights were under the “State of Emergency”– which subsequently would be revealed as close to null.
Bounty Killer & Busy Signal, “Summn a Guh Gwan”
As night turned over, a rumour spread that Dudas’ lawyer, Don Foote, had a scheduled meeting with the US Embassy at 10:00 AM Monday morning to discuss a possible negotiation that would bypass Coke’s Jamaican rights and carry him straight to the US for trial. To some this seemed like a very clever agreement as Coke’s father, the notorious and well-loved Kingston Shower Posse leader, Jim Brown (aka Lester Lloyd Coke), was burnt alive in a Jamaican prison cell in 1992 after his US extradition-provoked capture. By noon Monday afternoon the US embassy was denying any meeting with Coke’s lawyer, Foote, by 12:30 PM I had received a courtesy phone call from the US embassy, and by 1:00 PM army forces had entered the Tivoli neighborhood in search for “Dudas.”
Buju Banton, “Let Dem Know”
As the infiltration and takeover of Tivoli Gardens by forces proved true, the reported dead varied, due mostly to the fact that government officials only revealed details on those military officers and police force members that had been shot, injured or killed. Meanwhile reports were being made from inside Tivoli Gardens by residents that people were being shot, killed, burnt and bombed as one woman cried out on Nationwide News 90.3 from her land line in Tivoli, “Please help us!” By Tuesday, the numbers of civilians killed in the operation was rising from a possible mid-twenties mark to a more likely mid-forties mark with many more being held with no lights, food, or communication from outside. As news went international, speculation was made by some US and British correspondents that Prime Minister Bruce Golding had linkages to Christopher “Dudas” Coke that were much stronger then any previously had suspected (or wanted to acknowledge). Today one media outlet in the UK, Channel 4 News, questioned Jamaica’s High Commissioner to London, Jon Snow, if the allegations against Bruce Golding were true, but failed to receive any straight forward response.
Elephant Man, “Don’t Trust Dem”
While the policy framework of Jamaica has been jostled by this weeks events, the people are experiencing an overwhelming depression as they sit and watch the news with anxiety about what will happen next. Today, political forces are asking that heads roll, petitioning a most wanted list for some of Jamaica’s most well-known garrison and gang leaders. Meanwhile, Christopher “Dudas” Coke is still unaccounted for and Tivoli Gardens is in shambles. Allegations against the legitimacy of Prime Minister Bruce Golding’s political office are being made by international media and tomorrow, I head back to work. The Damage Control riddim was likely not intentionally clocked, however it is an example of the consistent expression of the issues that Jamaicans face. Even more so it’s a dark narrative on the underlying conversation of today’s current situation: extreme poverty and lack of jobs, neglect from government aid, a push towards violence for survival and a mistrust of the protective forces. A conversation that should be listened to closely and with gravity.
And sadly today another unfortunate death occurred in the midst of chaos. R.I.P. Oneil Edwards from Voicemail who was taken down by senseless violence early May.
What is it about the approach of summer that makes Pop music so enticing? Everyone seems to disconnect from their troubles and submerge themselves in the candy sweet liquor of synthy beats, simple lyricism and anecdotes about getting the girl. This track is from the forthcoming “Di Genius” produced Akane album. Her saccharine sweet voice plays off Busy’s bubbling intonation perfectly in “Hold Me”, making for a light-hearted sound that is one-part dancehall, one-part NY Z100. Between this track and his latest Soca hits, it seems Busy is on a serious mission to master multiple genres this year. (via Alliance Fi Life)
I love the dub feeling from this Kirkledove produced Jump Drive riddim. Kirkledove aka Kirk Bennett’s expertise as a drummer– including work as the house drummer for Beres Hammond–materializes best in the bouncy bass notes overlaid with the tight tap taps of the high hat. I included two of the tracks off the riddim. One from three of Busy’s renditions, and also Konshen’s “Tek Yuh Time.” Not included here, but equally as good, are tracks from Mr. Vegas, Elephant Man and Degree. Get the full riddim here.
So… *half smiles, stretches fingers*… back to hybrid sounds, bastardized tracks, dancehall soundsystems and the depths of Adele’s despair. The Heatwave crew has been stirring their summer coals over there in farin ‘ol merry England, dropping a refix on the remix of the soul lounge sound of Adele’s “Rolling in the Deep”. Heatwave calls it […]
Despite Max Glazer’s exclamation that if all dancehall sounded like Spragga Benz’s ‘Duppy Nuh Frighten Vampire’ he’d “be a happy man”, he also understands the importance of the dapper snap of a good dancehall riddim. Glazer’s newest Flatlands riddim is being featured over on the Federation Sound blog and mingles with a few of Glazer’s […]
When a riddim gets dropped with big dancehall names like Demarco, Mr. Lexx, Vybz Kartel and Beenie Man, such as the Exit 21 riddim, it usually gets at least an extended rotation from local Selectors. These days turn over seems quicker then ever. Watching this riddim be pushed to the sidelines has invoked the dancehall […]