by Jodee Brown
Prominent Dancehall/Reggae disc jock, ZJ Liquid has long been aware of the much speculated politicking that occurs within Jamaican music. However, he refuses to partake in any of it.
The issue of payola or what locally termed ‘money pull up’ has been a major talking point within the Dancehall/Reggae industry in recent years. Groups such as the Jamaica Reggae Industry Association (JARIA) have questioned the highly unusual play rate of certain songs on radio as well as the regular endorsement of particular artistes by selectors during their sets; citing them as evidence of ‘pay for play’ schemes.
During a recent interview on the Lauren O Lauren show on Flow TV, ZJ Liquid addressed the payola concept; insisting that while such politics does exist within Dancehall/Reggae, he won’t abandon his principles in order to make money within the industry.
“Dat natural enuh, people a go offer you cah everybody wah get dem ting out dere. But is fi you fi jus’ kno seh yow, yuh hafffi stay true to music and at di same time, di whole money ting, a program ting dat same way so yuh still nah be true to the music,” he said.
“Wi know DJs dem a come up and everybody wan get dem food and man wah money and ting but at di same time yuh cah mek money rule yuh ting.”
In the last two years, there have some reported instances of disc jocks being assaulted, allegedly for the playing or non-playing of certain songs, most notably prominent Alliance selector, Boom Boom and Darkcide International selector, ZJ Wahwa last year.
According to Liquid, he determines which songs get airplay based on instinct as well as song quality, regardless of the artiste’s status.
“From yuh meet mi and get fi know Liquid, yuh kno seh mi is neva a pushover. Mi nuh tek talk from nobody at all. Mi nuh care how big yuh is or wah, mi play music off a wah mi feel. So if I feel di song deh, yah go get da love deh…If mi nuh feel di song, mi jus’ nuh feel di song,” he said.
“Mi play music just like how if I was going to the record store and buy the song, a so mi rate it…Remember you’re the DJ, you’re in control.”
Meanwhile, ZJ Liquid continues his lengthy suspension from popular Jamaican radio station, ZIP FM after allegedly playing an expletive in a song during a set late last year. This suspension, which has lasted over two months now, hails as his fourth from the station since 2008.
Though no decision has been made regarding a possible return to ZIP FM, the highly regarded producer and occasional deejay believes he’ll be back on the airwaves soon.
“Mi jus a gwaan hol’ the sentence, whatever it is we a hold it. Wi do ting and whatever u know? A jus’ so di ting go.”