Pop music bloomed with the bouncing vibe of dancehall. Rihanna’s “Work” and “Drake’s “One Dance,” two of the year’s biggest singles with 19 weeks atop the Billboard Hot 100 between them. Far away in Jamaica, the real cherry on the top, Vybz Kartel’s “Fever,” led the move all summer, topping almost all the local charts. “Western Union,” also enjoys a similar ubiquity at present EVEN WHEN THE DANCEHALL STAR WAS INCARCERATED. What a massive feat!
There is no party in Jamaica without Kartel’s songs being played, unless it’s a retro party – Vybz Kartel must play!
No signal’s 10VS10, a contest that pitted Nigeria’s music sensation Wizkid against Jamaican dancehall hall of fame singer, Vybz Kartel saw the African coming on top. Trust me, Nigerians came out enmasse to cast votes for their favorite thereby flooring the recently acquitted prisoner who has been in jail for a murder case.
The fact that it was almost a career-ending situation turned out to be the only reaffirmation that Kartel sets on dancehall – always influential and prolific. Kartel releases new music weekly. Astonishingly, he released more than 50 tracks in 2016. A large sum of his songs dished out during his incarceration would sum up well into hundreds.
How, exactly, Kartel has maintained such productivity while behind bars remains something of a mystery while Wizkid has done well by staging his craft both offline and online while his loyal fan base and lovers praise his name any place and time his music comes on. Wizkid’s pedigree on Afrobeats travelled all over the continent even in countries tastemakers never predicted – Mayotte, India and Burma. Jamaicans did not come all out to vote for their king and that gave Nigerians and social media users to flood the timeline with disappointing anthics thrown at Vybz Kartel. All I’m saying is that Vybz should never have been drawn against Wizkid. One is a demigod, the other is a movement.
This article was written by Alex Ndace; he tweets via @AlexNdace