Sunday, December 27, 2009

Local Academics Blamed for Falling Standards

Daraine Luton
Several local academics who daily sing the praises of dancehall, as well as its main practitioners, are being blamed for the falling standards of Jamaica's music.
In fact, at least one veteran player in the music industry believes these dancehall apologists are only seeking ways to promote themselves.

Mikey Barnett, veteran producer, told a Gleaner Editors' Forum last week that the strong defence of dancehall being mounted by academics is "self-promotion and not about the music".
"These are persons who left Jamaica, came back to Jamaica, and wanted to find a way to get known in a hurry, and so they jumped on the dancehall bandwagon," Bennett charged.
He added: "The quickest way to get known in the society and to make a name in the society was to support a cause that the grass-roots people in Jamaica, which are the majority, are associated with, and that was dancehall music."

The music producer, who told the editors' forum that he was not a fan of dancehall music, is the second person in recent weeks to articulate such views.
Dr St Aubyn Bartlett, member of parliament for Eastern St Andrew, told a parliamentary committee recently that the "new PhDs" are responsible for the continuation of the foul lyrics being spewed from the dancehall.

Bartlett was responding to Cordel Green, executive director of the Broadcasting Commission, who told the Human Resources and Social Development Committee of Parliament that a teacher-education programme on media literacy was being developed.
Green said the aim was to help schools to protect students from poisonous music.
But Bartlett said he was concerned because the "educators of these trainers - and I am speaking about some of the new PhD and the new master of science in dancehall and in you know, all kinds of things - sometimes the defence that they put up for these dancehall artistes, you wonder whether these persons are supposed to be training the trainers to deal with children at the primary level."

Added Bartlett: "... When a professor from the university backs the Gaza and Gully and the dancehall tradition in some of the wickedest lyrics that come out of it, you know, you hear at the corner from the professor or from the university man, dem like it, so a must something good."
However, at least one academic has taken issue with the criticisms of persons who study dancehall.

Dr Donna Hope-Marquis, a lecturer in Reggae Studies at the University of the West Indies, said it is not ignorance that motivates people to hold such antagonistic views of students of the art.
"It could be selective amnesia and selective reading," Hope-Marquis.
"It would be good if individuals who talk about something that is an important part of Jamaican dancehall culture would read some of the works that have been done on dancehall," Hope-Marquis said.

She argued that history demonstrates that music forms, such as reggae and mento ,have been subjected to similar criticisms in the past and time has vindicated them.
"I found it very interesting that almost 50 years ago, we were having very similar discussions about a part of our popular music, which was seen as having the propensity to damage the psyche of our children," she reasoned.

The Reggae Studies lecturer and dancehall expert said that an unfortunate aspect of public discourse was a propensity to dismiss aspects of Jamaican culture as bad.
"It would be very good if we try to move away from painting our cultural output as one thing only and look at it as a whole, which has many facets," Hope-Marquis said.
Notwithstanding the criticisms, Hope-Marquis has pledged not to back away from studying and documenting the music form called dancehall.

"If I am not a part of the documentation of Jamaican culture, what happened with reggae where 90 per cent of what is written is written by people who are not Jamaicans, the same thing will happen with dancehall. I live here and I consider myself a student of Jamaican culture and I will continue to do the work, even when I have to do it at odd hours," Hope-Marquis said.

SHUT 'EM UP! 'Too much freedom in the name of creative expression'

Daraine Luton, Senior Staff Reporter

Declaring that Jamaica's music has died, producer Mikey Barnett says the Government needs to restrict freedom of expression if the society is to survive. "The Government has failed in its role to protect the society from itself - meaning artistes of today. There is too much freedom in the name of creative expression," Barnett told a recent Gleaner Editors' Forum.

Barnett argued that the Govern-ment had allowed a small societal sore to turn into gangrene before trying to fix it. He said the decline in Jamaica's music is going to be impossible to address because the State allows everyone to freely express what he or she wants through areas such as music. However, the director of public prosecutions has said freedom of expression is not the problem.

Paula Llewellyn told stated that it is inertia and lethargy on the part of many citizens which is the root cause of the problem. "Everybody is guaranteed - under our Constitution and by virtue of being a human being in a civilised society where principles of democracy hold - freedom of expression," Llewellyn said.

"Too many of us are afraid to rock the boat, in that we do not wish to be singled out as pointing out that the content of a song like Informer Fi Dead can undermine the moral fibre of the society and help to inculcate fear in respect of doing your duty if you have witnessed wrongdoing or a breach of criminal law," Llewellyn.
Last week, Barnett told a Gleaner Editors' Forum that he did not support dancehall music because of what it stood for. He charged that the music bred violence and spewed profanity throughout the society and should be controlled through legislation."It is a lack of political will that has caused this, because whenever they (legislators) attempt to put in laws, people say you are stifling their creative expression, and so they back off," Barnett said.

In defence of his stance, the music producer said persons should not "defend creative expression at the risk of destroying the society". "We have to make up our minds whether we want freedom of expression for everybody, or a controlled situation to protect our children," Barnett said.

However, Llewellyn argued that people should be more cognisant of lyrics and be willing to speak up against transgressions. She said Jamaicans should respect each other's right to freedom of expression but "be prepared to indicate that the particular lyrical content of a song is not appreciated".

Llewellyn's position has the backing of Senator Warren Newby, parliamentary secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports.
He argued that the State should not infringe on a person's freedom. "If an adult decides that slackness is his or her form of entertainment, I don't think the State should get involved to say 'You can't listen to that'. If he pays to go into a venue that is sanitised from the general public and wants to listen to slackness in that venue, then the Government has no role to play in that matter," Newby said.

He added: "What needs to be emphasised in today's Jamaica is the role of parenting. People must take personal and social responsibility.

"We must empower communities and the parents to take greater care of the socialisation of the children so in the event that they hear music that is not wholesome, they know not to gravitate towards it," Newby said.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sting 09 Face Off or Unification

It all started with Sting 08 so all year in the back of my mind I felt a little obligated to go to Sting and do a review every year. To be honest I’m really not feeling a Greatest One Night Show vibe. Forever Sting has been associated with great and sadly sometimes lukewarm clashes. This year was supposed to be the Gully/Gaza clash, Posters strewn all over Kingston with Mavado, Bounti Killa, Kartel and Merciless with the heading ‘Face Off’. Regardless whether you chose to be Gully Gangster or like the Most Honorable who says “Gaza who nuh like it go chuck off inna gully!”
Or you like most didn’t really care what them ol niggahs were doing cause they making money either way no one could escape being inundated with the feud.

Unfortunately for the Sting promotion team the President was getting tired of all the foolishness, and at West Kingston Jamboree the Gully/Gaza Lords put away their differences (for now anyway). So Dudus did what the Broadcasting commission (Radio Nazi), Bruce and all his kings’ men and every other morally upright group in Jamaica couldn’t do, which is to put the music together again. Well loosely anyway, why again them want to extradite him when he gets the important things done? Clash done, Kartel and Mavado go to Jamaica house and agree to a five point initiative which includes a Paint out day, Happy gully/gaza t-shirt day to replace the buttons the future taxi men and bus conductors presently wear depicting Kartel and Mavado as real killers.

There is talk that this peace is not one that the Warlord has sanctioned. Hence the Warlord is still on the Warpath for the “Ungrateful Hell Boy.” Unfortunately Vybz Kartel says No Mas. What’s left for Sting this year, LA Lewis Vs Goofy and Sky Juice Vs Tony Matterhorn?

So now it’s the 26th don’t expect a Sting review cause I’m not going. Ill be at Flash brought to you by the Utopia people. Where I am certain at no point in any conversations I will have there will include the phrase “Gaza Mi Say!” nor will I use Goodaz as noun, pronoun, verb and adjective for the entire night.

Nowadays Boopsie

I'm loving the Assassin on this, heard it this morning and couldn’t stop laughing cause Super Dee was the dance I use to get my ass beat for when my mother found out I snuck out on Sunday nights.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Stacious vs. Lisa Hype

Sometime last week … I don’t care when Stacious drops this song Head which although she says it has nothing to do with Lisa Hype and her secure position at the Head of the Gaza class it does draw reference to a certain picture circulating the internet. However to the Gaza First Lady them’s fighting words. Thus the sweet stinking garbage you have been blessed with below, to be honest one can think of a million different ways to waste time than to listen these songs. But if you insist on said assault to your ears and what remaining brain cells left below are all four songs released by these lovely young women. Enjoy ^_^

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Buju Banton Officially Indicted

Reggae artist Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie, has been officially indicted by the US District Court in Tampa, Florida. The indictment filed Wednesday, alleges that Banton as well as co-accused Ian Thomas and James Jackson Mack knowingly and willfully conspired to possess with intent to distribute over five kilograms of cocaine. The document also states that the artiste and the other two men knowingly and intentionally possessed a firearm during the course of committing a drug trafficking crime.

The US government also appears to be going after any assets owned by the men, as the indictment states that the defendants shall forfeit to the US any property obtained as a result of the violations or any property which was used to commit the offences.
Good thing Lorna got her share before all of this started.

In a surprise move, Gargamel decided to waive his bail hearing which was scheduled for Wednesday morning, in a Miami federal court. He decided to fight the drug charge against him in Tampa, where he will be transferred. It is not yet certain why the artiste changed his mind about the bail hearing.

U.S. Magistrate Judge William Turnoff issued a temporary order of detention. Attorney representing the reggae star, Herbert Walker had earlier declared he intended to push for Banton's release Wednesday on the grounds that he is not a threat to the community.

Buju has been behind bars in a Florida jail for the past seven days. He was arrested on Thursday during a sting operation involving personnel from the US Drug Enforcement Administration. The artiste and the two men charged along with him face up to 20 years in prison if convicted.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Buju Held for Cocaine Possession in the United States

On December 10, 2009 the most unlikely sentence was assembled and that is; Dancehall artist Mark ‘Buju Banton’ Myrie was arrested on a charge of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than five kilograms of cocaine. The Banton is presently held up at the Federal Detention Centre in downtown Miami his release date still unknown.

It is a bit unsettling to know that the Gargamel who is now Inmate 86700-004, should be arrested for coke and not weed this little detail has many a conspiracy theory sprouting all over the internet. Buju was coming off a very successful and equally controversial North American tour to promote his Rasta Got Soul album, his ninth which is also nominated for a Grammy. Massive protests by gay and lesbian groups plagued the tour as Banton was accused of promoting violence against gays through the lyrics of his songs (more specifically Boom Bye Bye). This subsequently lead to a meeting of the involved parties in San Francisco however not much if anything was achieved.

To date Buju’s record label Gargamel Music has kept quiet about the incident, even as authorities alleged that Buju and another man were caught on surveillance camera. Details of the arrest and subsequent charges will be released the morning of 14th December.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

King and Queen: Richie Spice and Alison Hinds

Bob Join Grammy Hall of Fame

By Daniel Kreps
Rolling Stone

Recordings by the Beach Boys, Bob Marley, the Doors, James Brown and Janis Joplin have been named as 2010 inductees to the Grammy Hall of Fame. Twenty-five recordings from a variety of genres will be added to the Grammy Hall, which currently includes 851 titles altogether (songs are eligible 25 years after release and the picks are approved by Recording Academy Trustees). The Doors’ L.A. Woman closer “Riders on the Storm,” Joplin’s final album Pearl and the Beach Boys’ classic “California Girls” will be among the recordings added to the collection.

“This year’s Grammy Hall Of Fame inductees highlight a diverse array of masterpiece recordings that have had a profound impact on our musical history,” Recording Academy President/CEO Neil Portnow said in a statement. “The selections are timeless staples that span six decades and represent a wide range of genres from comedy to rock, reggae, jazz and R&B. They all greatly deserve to be memorialized.”

Check out the complete list of the 25 recordings entering the Grammy Hall of Fame below:

Dooley Wilson – “As Time Goes By”
Weather Report – “Birdland”
The Beach Boys – “California Girls”
Bob Marley & The Wailers – Catch A Fire
George Carlin – Class Clown
Billie Holiday – “Crazy He Calls Me”
King Oliver & His Jazz Band – “Dipper Mouth Blues”
Duke Ellington & His Famous Orchestra – “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore (Never No Lament)”
Ella Fitzgerald/Count Basie – Ella and Basie!
Jose Feliciano – “Feliz Navidad”
Judy Garland & Gene Kelly – “For Me and My Gal”
Mahalia Jackson – “His Eye on the Sparrow”
Muddy Waters – “I Feel Like Going Home”
James Brown – “It’s A Man’s Man’s Man’s World”
Stan Getz/Charlie Byrd – Jazz Samba
Jelly Roll Morton – “Kansas City Stomps”
Louis Armstrong – “Lazy River”
Louis Armstrong & His All-Stars – Louis Armstrong Plays W.C. Handy
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – “Mr. Bojangles”
Janis Joplin – Pearl
The Doors – “Riders on the Storm”
The Isley Brothers – “Twist and Shout”