Over the next few days VybzKartel.com is going to post some blogs we found from around the internet about Vybz Kartel. Here’s the first one, suggesting that Vybz Kartel is the greatest Jamaican DJ ever, with sound reasoning. Please add your comments and let us and World Boss know your thoughts.
I didn’t want my first ever blog post to be about anything really serious. The range of material that will eventually show up here will hopefully range from music, current events, pumpum, food (not that pumpum is food), technology and global youth culture. However, because of the glaring lack of real discussion on Adidjah Palmer’s incarceration and it’s relevance to Jamaica and our current demise as a culture, I decided to opine.
I am not a Kartel apologist or groupie. Various UWI academic personas have already done a great job fulfilling those roles. Neither am I an avid Gully fan who has determined that Kartel’s demise is merely God’s triumph over the forces of Gaza darkness. What I will say though, is that pound for pound, Vybz Kartel is the best dancehall dj to have ever come out of the idiom. I say this by tallying all the criteria which people who have a little sense use to assess a dancehall artist’s strength. In all of these, Kartel ranks between A and A+.
Variety of Themes/Content—-A
Overall Dominance of Genre—A+
Don’t get me wrong, there are numerous other acts that have at varying times been rated exceptionally well in all these categories. However Buju and Bounty are to me the two other acts that have been closest and in some of the same categories (ie. voice) gotten better grades than Kartel. But, Kartel’s complete dominance in the DJ category, for as long as he has had it without any close rival, has to some extent sealed his number one place.
The fact that there was no DJ even able to attempt a serious challenge to Kartel’s dominance of the last 4 years is indicative. Mavado is a singer/singjay that because of loyalty to Bounty Killer was forced to attempt to handle war business which traditionally was left to DJs. The criteria for evaluating singers has, and always will be, different from the standards used to rate MCs/DJ’s. Asking Usher to clash with Jay-Z is futile and breaks down into a fan popularity contest. Jigga is supposed to be a lyricist by definition, Usher is supposed to make great, catchy sing-along anthems. Making them clash comes down to whether or not you prefer incredible wordplay or emotive anthemic hooks. It’s a redundant comparison. Apples and Oranges. Apples for apples: Adidjah wins.
And, inspite of his complete dominance of the artform(yea..it is an art form), he is now bleached white, visa-less, hitless and in jail facing possibly multiple life sentences and leaving an empire crumbling.
Why?…. How? ……Is deyso it really reach?
Well….yes. That is where it really really reach. Adi fuck himself . He worked arduously to put himself in a situation which may see him forgotten, disgraced and singing romantic, accapella versions of Ramping Shop into the receptive ears of Kid Ralph. The G.O.A.T (greatest of all time, di werl boss), may soon have man a use him like remote.
And I am saddened, as all of us who love Jamaican culture should be. Kartel is a reflection of our society’s best and worst. An individual of amazing talent, intelligence and potential that because of the low expectations and standards of current Jamaican society, fell victim to his basest needs and desires. He is not the exception, rather he has become the rule. Yet, perhaps because of his stature as a public figure and his becoming a lighting rod for all bad things Jamaican, we have ignored that it is we : “well meaning” Jamaican society that have allowed for the creation of this aspect of Kartel.
Kartel’s evolution was helped along by us, who determined that the marginalization and objectification of women made for good campaign rhetoric. Remember that lovely campaign soundbite, “Man have more Gyal“? Yes, gyal like my mother, my sister, my woman. And I occasional style women as “Gyal” too, Barry ain’t no fucking saint. But for a political representative to overtly use that as part of a campaign to state his party’s accomplishments, even in jest, is indicative of just how low we have fallen. It is also why Adijah was not ostracized as a result of releasing pictures of his “gyal” dem sucking his dick. It was merely public verification of him having “more gyal” like the politician claimed. The beating of Gaza Kym? Was this any more shocking or worthy of criticism than the story of the prominent politician who used to beat his former wife like it was a sport a few years ago? Kartel’s a dirty perv and guess what, that is fine in a free society between consenting adults. However, the outright explicit nature and subsequent public consumption of his lyrics were preempted by the introduction of unfiltered American cable channels years ago. Kids now are aware of acts that always existed but that were historically filtered by our local media. The Werl Boss saw all of this and knew that we were quite primed, ready and able to accept this into our ears.
Kartel’s agnostic approach, his use of “Lodge” and deliberate Illuminati references were a strategic move to play into what the vast majority of Jamaican citizens see as the failure of formal religious institutions to hold true to their own moral compasses. The hypocrisy of the homosexual priests, the consistent tales of financial impropriety of all denominations, the fact that Rastafarianism has, for the most part lost its way, all were noted by Adijah. But most importantly, the use of God by institutions as a means of social control, with Prime Ministers being “ordained and annointed” was not lost on Kartel. Hence as the intelligent being he is, why not create his own church, with its own mores and norms? The cult of Gaza, with the all-powerful Teacha at the helm, telling people that it was ok to “…do what yu feel like.” It made sense, because the religious and political hypocrites were telling us to maintain moral high grounds while they were stealing, fucking children, issuing firearms and then appearing smiling in front of us on television. All O.K. We just can gwaan attend the parties and keep smiling, pretending ignorance while knowing full well that we are drinking the “wine of violence and eating the bread of sorrow“. Kartel observed and understood every bit of it and decided to use our inaction to his advantage.
Which leads us to where we are now. Kartel is in jail having been charged with two murders and with credible rumours that a couple more charges will be pressed in the near future. So the immediate question is why? He had it all…why get mixed up?…it must be a set up. Well, while I don’t want to speculate on his guilt or innocence let me say clearly that talk of his involvement with high level criminality did not just start two months ago. Also, given the leadership void left open by parents, politicians, religious leaders, the private sector and most importantly us and whatever group we may fall in, Jamaican ghetto youth have found their own set of leaders. Nature abhors vacuums. People need leadership, so there is a ting mi hear bout name “Don”. Maybe some of my Jamaican readers know of that ting. So there are now people who are influential in dictating the course of innercity Jamaica and are calling shots in ways that may go against our civilized sensibilities.
But these same civilized sensibilities have allowed for the head of public sector organizations to steal electricity for their businesses. These civilized values were/are so muted that over 100 people were murdered by the state on May 26 2010 without one of the perpetrators being charged or even an inquiry held. These civilized sensibilities facilitate for people who have raped public coffers to run free without as much as a light bulb of decorum going off in our oh so civilized minds.
But, we look at Adidjah Palmer and call him an anomaly, a deviant, a dutty criminal. Perhaps we need to take a closer look at what we ourselves create and more importantly what we allow to be created. Kartel is a very painful reflection in our social mirror. Perhaps we are not like him. We have unbleached skin, no public sextapes, no murder charges, but honestly we are not very different in our complicity.
Adidjah Palmer is guilty of knowing better but allowing his future to be dictated by the same system which he tried to manipulate. We are guilty of allowing the system to get to a point where it is all one big grey area. It’s never right or wrong.It’s all about who is doing it, their connection to us and if they can get away with it. Time will tell whether Kartel is able to get away with it. Whatever itis.