by Jodee Brown
After five years in existence and stamping their place as one of Dancehall’s most dominant crews, the Portmore Empirehas officially disbanded.
The shock announcement was made early Wednesday morning by Portmore Empire leader, Vybz Kartel, who issued a statement from jail confirming the group’s split through his Adidjaheim Records label.
According to Kartel, this hails as the best time for Empire artistes to try and achieve success on their own and that it would be unfair to keep them confined to his group given his ongoing legal situations.
“Dancehall fans worldwide it with great regret that I, Adidja Palmer, have decided to disband the Portmore Empire. These artistes have been under the Adidjahiem leadership for years, where they have honed their craft and made their mark, and as such, are well on their way to becoming major forces in Dancehall. They have reached a level where they are more capable to take on their careers by themselves, and it would be unfair to them, based on the limited resources of Adidjahiem Records, and current legal woes of the Adidjahiem C.E.O. and team members,” the statement reads.
“I wish them the best and I am confident that they will live up to my expectations. In the future, Adidjahiem will continue to bring out new acts and groom them for stardom,”
Already a pair of the Empire’s members, Vanessa ‘Gaza Slim’ Saddler and Leroy ‘Tommy Lee’ Russell have committed to a new project as they’ve joined a newly formed label, entitled, PG13.
“Right now, a PG13 di ting deh,” Gaza Slim said.
Tommy Lee added, “Look out for PG13…It soon work in.”
The Portmore Empire became one of Dancehall’s most popular stables since its formation in 2007 by veteran deejay,Deva Bratt and Kartel. Though Deva Bratt left the group after a falling out with the self-proclaimed Worl’ Boss, the group soon flourished as they introduced several acts to the mainstream including Jahvinci, Black Ryno, Lisa Hyper and most notably, Popcaan.
However, between the end of 2009 and last summer, the Empire soon shrunk as Lisa Hype, Black Ryno, Jahvinciand fellow members, Doza Medicine as well as Kym Hamilton (formerly Gaza Kym) all left the group, citing ill-treatment.
But with the emergence of Popcaan as a megastar with hits such as Ravin and Only Man She Want, the group elevated to seemingly higher heights before Kartel was arrested last September and later slapped with murder, drug and obstruction of justice related charges.