In the past week or so, there have been some interesting comments about reggae/dancehall music and why it seems to be struggling to regain its foothold globally. In some quarters, there is the belief that the genres have become too violent, while others blame the gay community.
I am likely to consider the former because gays have nothing to do with reggae or dancehall music being what it is today.
The problem I feel lies within the people who regulate the industry and those producing the songs. Entertainment manager Copeland Forbes said this week that the entertainment industry in Jamaica has lost the war with the gay community. To my mind, it was a war that needn't have been fought, and it only became a war for the wrong reasons.
Gay people control a large block of the world's wealth and they command a significant amount of influence, too. This war which Forbes mentions, was really never a war to begin with because in war, there is a perception that each warring faction, at the outset, has an equal opportunity for victory.
What many of our entertainers have done in singing about 'b...man fi dead' and all that garbage is basically bring knives to a nuclear fight. There is only one outcome.
I don't know if some people in the entertainment industry are slow learners, but they have been doing the same thing year after year and they and their artistes can't buss. Why? Well, for starters, they are catering to an audience that does not buy music, one that has also lost any semblance of understanding of what constitutes good music.
I have said this before and I will say it again. Bob Marley has had an album on the Billboard charts forever. Other local entertainers, the old school ones, still command a significant following across the globe. Last year, Ken Boothe played to a sold-out audience in Mexico. Johnny Osbourne has a huge following in certain parts of Europe.
Come April, Marcy Chin, who nobody knows in Jamaica, is among the headliners on the first ever dancehall show to be held in Chile. Meanwhile, entertainers like Chris Martin, D-Major, Busy Signal, Chronixx and Protoje continue to win over audiences all over the globe.
You will find that those artistes who continue to struggle to make any impact globally are huge on their respective corners. The thing that is their lyrics are designed to win the corner, but international audiences are rejecting them. Here's a tip. What about singing or deejaying about some uplifting topics or stuff that makes people laugh? Stitchie, Professor Nuts and Tiger all did that with great success.
Music provides an escape for people, and not everybody, especially the buying public, wants to buy music that glorifies violence, sexual abuse and basic evil. Speaking personally, I would listen to Chronixx, Duane Stephenson or a Chris Martin whole day, but not to much of the other stuff out there.
What is hurting many of our entertainers is that they are catering to a market that is small and doesn't buy music when what they should actually be doing is finding music that appeals to a more global market. Sean Paul has successfully blazed a trail over the past few years, Shaggy, too, but not many are following their lead.
And that is what is hurting the industry. Giving the people what they want does not mean giving the local community who does not buy music what they want to hear. The world outside of Jamaica has evolved. It has matured. It is time for many of our entertainers to do the same.
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Badness mi profession and mi gun a black white
Talk bout dem a badman, a could a who dem a fool
In a class everyday dem go school
Watch out real gangsters fool
Well level tic a the clock
Extra clip over glock
When wi attack bullet attack
How wi do fool head back
Hey nuh gimmi nuh chat unuh a sprat
When mi a roll wid mi gun led deh under frock
Come a run up yo mouth
Some a gun up you mouth
Bullet fly, blood a run out
Gun a pawn the face
I got my gun always
Bullet in yo head and meck it come through yo ears
Tell dem wi bad like a wa plus real bwoy
Gangster deh fire guns hot and kill bwoy
Tell dem wi mad like a wa plus real bwoy
Gangster deh fire guns hot and kill bwoy
A nuh toy, dem still nuh seh nothing yet
Mi tell you everything dead when the but
You nuh hear bout dem
A copper supn get crock skull
Cut throat, brains fly, nothing less cause we’re the best
Anytime wi step to unuh a dreadful supn
Guns dem go off and him whole head missing
Bwoy dem full a chat and now dem dead like kitten
All over da bullet yah him damn name written
From dem seh war wi ready any day
From yo dis gangster you a go dead anyway
AK seh a the whole a dem a spray
Better yo gwaan a church and go pray
From dem fight against the youths dem blessed and riches
Squelchy pon the turf a buby trap dem praises
Ambush still bwoy
Send dem a hospital meck gangsters full dem up a stitches
Yo bwal when da bullet yah run through yo head
Poison gunshot man pump through yo head
If you test Sizzla Colonji you know you a go dead
Fi mi gun mix up a copper and led
(Repeat Verse 1)