MURDA SHE WROTE: Spice, Vybz Kartel, Masicka, I-Octane, Blakkman & ZJ Dymond
The best real dancehall music out right now.
Sometimes called “the cruelest month,” April is a great time for sex or war because it raises your temperature. If you’re not having sex you’re blowing a fuse, so it may come as no surprise that this month’s selections—whether by veterans or up-and-comers—offer a little bit of both. It’s all about off-loading your gun—in one way or another.
Spice “Beef Patty”
“Rampin Shop,” Spice’s X-rated duet with Vybz Kartel, busted her out of the pack in 2009 and she never looked back. Since then she’s proven to be really good at cranking out catchy tunes with eye-popping videos involving dance moves that merge into sex positions. But don’t get it twisted: Spice can flip into war mode whenever she feels like. As she recently explained to me just before helping her team win the Red Bull Culture Clash in London, she was born for conflict: “I spit lyrics and kill people.” She made history as the first woman to headline Sting, the infamous holiday stage show where lyrical battle is an annual tradition. Spice is a soldier who will not back down and in a war that’s the difference between life or death. In this new tune on the Whateva Riddim, Spice has a bee in her bonnet “Gun finger rise it up and swear,” Spice chats in her baddest voice. “Your mouth no encounter with no pubic hair.” Oral sex remains remains a big taboo in JA, when Spice talks about men who “hide and eat gal like beef patty.” Some people say she might be throwing words at Alkaline, who’s had issues with Kartel in the past and whose lyrics suggest that he’s particularly open-minded in the bedroom.
Vybz Kartel ft. Massicka “Infrared”
T.J. Records makes history again, releasing the first collaboration between Vybz Kartel and dancehall’s rising young gun Masicka. I’ve always liked Masicka from the first time I interviewed him . He had a promo picture of him holding a baby alligator like it was a Chihuahua, as market forces reshape dancehall culture into “island pop” artists like Masicka continue to keep the music connected to the streets. As a real youth—he’s the type of dancehall artist whose lyrics can make you fret, and the Kartel cosign is only going to raise his ratings to another level. On “Infrared”, the World Boss and the Genahsyde lyricist trade bad-man bars over a nasty riddim built from tortured digital bass tones. “My dog dem haffi live,” Kartel asserts with ill Auto-Tune effects on his voice. “Who nuh like how we ah live / Point infrared pon him forehead.” Masicka—who’s managed by Kartel’s former business partner, Corey Todd—holds up his end of the tune: “We deh ya pon the block / Nutten change, matic in a lap / Spliff wrap, Henny pon the rock / A watch me enemies a flop.”
I-Octane “Ting Dem Land”
I-Octane is one of those rare artists who can credibly perform both roots and danechall songs without seeming out of his element. Within dancehall most artists have one identity and they have to stick to it. But a select few—think Buju Banton or Sizzla—are respected heavily at both extremes of the genre. Not only can Octane deejay and sing, he can tackle diverse subject matter from reality to badness, party tunes to godliness—the Hot Ras does it all. On this Starstuck Records’ hard-driving Gum & Grabba riddim “The Ting Dem Land” Octane chats straight wicked man lyrics: “ah no shirt when the iron dem ah press you.”
Blakkman is a fairly new name on the scene who’s getting big ratings for his clever wordplay and catchy slang. Born in the country parish of Clarendon he relocated to Seaview Gardens, the same place where Shabba Ranks made his name. So it’s safe to say he’s going to come with something real. His first big break was “Miss You So Much,” a collab with fellow Seaview resident Dexta Daps. Since then the “Real Detonator” has been putting in work to build on the success of that song, and “Si Fi” on Jetset Music’s Airstrike Riddim (which also features Black Ryno’s hilarious “Mr. Fucky Fucky”) sounds like another strong addition to Blakkman’s growing catalog. A hard-edged sense of humor pervades every line of this outrageously inventive tune: “Me buss it in yuh chest and dem ah feel chestpain / Buss it in yuh head and mek yuh feel less pain.”
ZJ Dymond “Nympho Riddim”
Full Charge Records was founded by Kerishma Davis aka ZJ Dymond, a radio personality on Jamaica’s popular Zip FM. His latest juggling, the “Nympho Riddim” is a throwback to ’80s dancehall style—a mashup of two classic Jammy’$ riddims, the Duck and the Punany. Although the artist lineup is all new generation artists, they handle their business with authority. Devin Di Dakta’s “Hotness” channels Lady Saw & Spragga’s “Backshot” while Shenseea’s “Rude Gyal” adds another strong selection to the young dancehall diva’s hit list.
- Devin Di Dakta “Hotness Yuh Love”
- D’Koncep “Video Light”
- Garrison Curtis “Rukumba”
- Razor B “Send Out A Different Gal”
- Road Elf “Gyal Wine Up”
- Shenseea “Rude Gyal”
- Posh Morris “Treble & Bass”