Murda She Wrote: Sizzla, Gaza Slim, Alkaline, Vershon
The best real dancehall music out now
As June 2017 winds down to the ground, Dancehall’s season of hotness continues. Ed Sheeran’s “Shape of You” is now certified triple platinum-plus, Major Lazer continues to drop EPs here and there, and of course DJ Khaled has just blessed us up with new joints by Sizzla and Mavado. Nuff love to them all—but you already know, we deal with the raw uncut ’round here. No long talking—let’s get to it.
Sizzla “Your Culture”
There is no lack of controversy within the dancehall industry. Most garrison youths care zero about your sensitive feelings. Still it would be safe to say that Sizzla Kalonji ranks way up near the top of the list of the most controversial acts in the game. This is the same youth from August Town who got hired to perform at a community party thrown by police in Falmouth, Jamaica back in 2015. As soon as he took the stage Sizzla decided to “burn out” law enforcement on the mic—and by then end of the night he was arrested and locked up. Yup, Miguel Orlando Collins is not one to hold back on his opinion, no matter the consequences. That’s why you’ve got to rate Khaled for giving such a big lookto one of the most important reggae and dancehall artists of this generation. Groomed by such legends as Beres Hammond, Bobby Digital, and the late great Fatis Burrell, Sizzla’s catalogue of work is harder than most. Along with the likes of Buju Banton and Capleton Sizzla helped to lead dancehall in a more cultural direction during the 1990s. Up until this day, he continues his mission to remind his fans to cherish black culture. On his latest banger, courtesy of up-and-coming JA producers Samdiggy Music, Kalonji chants, “It’s your culture… and burn Babylon like a vulture.” Blaze it up.
Vanessa Bling “Overcome”
A member of the former Portmore Empire Vanessa Bling aka Gaza Slim knows all too well how to maneuver through the ups and downs of the dancehall world. Getting her big break as the ride-or-die chick in the Gaza crew, Vanessa bling’s mentor was none other than Di Teacha himself Vybz Kartel. During his murder trial she stood by him, and even faced charges of conspiracy and “perversion of justice” herself—although she managed to beat that case. Like other members of the Portmore Empire she has been left to fend or herself now since the disbanding of the group. Gaza Slim has carved out her own lane as one of the stronger female acts in the game. Despite her classic sexy style her latest track “Overcome” speaks to all who need that encouragement when the shit hits the fan. “Yuh know your heart clean so you know you can brag,” she sings on the Troyton production. “I know better days will come.” It’s always been cool to talk about God jn dancehall music—even the hardest shottas call on the Almighty sometimes. And ever since Papa San dropped a dancehall gospel album way back in the day, big names in the industry from Lady Saw to Mr Vegas have followed suit. Vanessa Bling has dabbled with gospel music in the past, “My God never sleep him wake,” Bling chats. Will she go all the way gospel and sacrifice her sexy image? (Come to think of it, God can’t be too mad at sex—otherwise He/She wouldn’t have given us the urge to have it, right?) For now only God and Miss Bling know for sure. In the meantime just know the she has the Almighty by her side.
Alkaline “My Love”
On the subject of sex the Vendetta Boss drops another tune that might definitely make you hot under the collar for some private time with your loved one. His declaration of devotion to the ladies—produced by Jahvy of Tru Ambassador Music—has probably a few female fans into a frenzy as he proclaims his preferences between the sheets. “Woman give me mi pleasure, buss that open like umbrella, yeah,” Alkaline commands, promising to “fuck her like me love her.” Dancehall has no lack of “Jook” tunes where artists speak on the best way to—as Lady Saw once put it—“Stab Up the Meat.” Nothing to be ashamed of here. Rigorous sex is part of a fun healthy relationship. However making love doesn’t have to mean just the missionary position and Alka is right on the money on this tune: “Pussy forever, me protect it like a treasure.” Seems Alka is fully committed to keeping his woman satisfied so there’s no need for her to ever look elsewhere.
Vershon “My Success”
There is a long tradition of dancehall stars coming out of the Cockburn Pen community of West Kingston, from Daddy U Roy to Super Cat the Don Dada. The latest artist to carry on that tradition is Vershon, who blew up in 2015 on the strength of his reality tune “Inna Real Life” and hasn’t taken a day off since. In his latest release, The Real Queffer is back on that same flex. Flowing over the lovely lilting “Island Breeze” riddim, the former ghetto youth revels in his accomplishments, even as he acknowledges the ever-present gaze of badminded haters: “Ah me pay my owna bills them / Take care of me owna children / Me success alone ah kill them.” Big up yourself youth. More life we say.
LockeDaCity Music “Fly Trap Riddim”
Adrian Locke of LockeDacity Music Group has been putting in much work over the past couple of years. He first made a name for himself when he dropped the “21 Shooter Riddim” and “Prayer Water Riddim” within months of each other, displaying the full breadth of his creativity. His latest juggling, the ominous “Fly Trap Riddim,” showcases the voices of young artists like Swashi and Buba Links, while highlighting the talents of slept-on vets like Erup and New Kidz HD—all of whom sound every bit as dope as big names like Gyptian and Tony Curtis. Gotta rate him for that alone. Run the riddim!
New Kidz (HD) “Born and Raised”
Erup “Grimy Life”
Buba Links “Live Dreams”
Swashii “High Grade”
Tony Curtis “Bubble Pon Me”
Nitty Kutchie “Come Fi Me”
Gyptian “Look At Her Lips”