Following yesterday’s announcement that the Portmore Empire has officially disbanded, a few of the group’s former members have reacted to the surprising news.
Early Wednesday morning, incarcerated Dancehall superstar and former Portmore Empire leader, Vybz Kartel issued a statement, via his Adidjahiem Records label in which he announced the dissolution of the ‘Gaza’ crew. According to Kartel, the group’s members were more than capable of managing their own careers while conceding that it would be unfair to hold them to such a cause given the burden of his ongoing legal woes.
While some former members such as Tommy Lee and Gaza Slim have already hitched on to a new label, PG13, others in the camp expressed shock at the move. Tasheba Campbell,more popularly known as Sheba had been a member ofPortmore Empire since 2009 when he auditioned for Kartel before being recruited.
Sheba, who recorded hit collaborations alongside Kartel such as Do Me Dat, Like Christmas and You and Him Deh, intimated that she was stunned by the news, only finding out through BlackBerry broadcast messages which made it viral.
“I was not personally informed about this. Mi just wake up and see a broadcast message about it and a wonder if a true, but since THE STAR a call me, it look like a true, den,” she told the Jamaica STAR.
“Him nuh send no message wid him lawyer fi say nutten bout it, but a still music, me say. I want to thank him for a great run – it’s been three years. To be honest, this news kinda shock me – is a sudden surprise. It’s not something that was discussed with me.”
Meanwhile, Lisa Hyper, one of the original members of the Empire insisted that she learned a lot from Kartel while a member of the stable while implying that the more recent affiliates of the group will be able to survive on their own.
“I was there from the beginning, and I got the chance to learn a lot of things while in the Portmore Empire that could help me out with my career today. From they remanded him, some of the others should have been trying to work on their craft so even if he doesn’t come back very soon, they can still manage on their own,” she said.
“Empire taught me to fight fi what yuh believe in and him is a man weh him like fi see yuh a do things. So as a female, yuh haffi think like a man but act like a woman.”
Fellow former member, Doza Medicine, who’s now a part of L.A. Lewis’ Gaza Federation said that he understood Kartel’s reasoning for the decision while also crediting his experiences with the group for molding his career.
“I understand what Vybz Kartel is saying. he is away and can’t really push their careers the way he could have if he was out. Vybz Kartel is a man like this … when it becomes too much for him, he will just let it go. I figure more or less that is what is happening. But still, to be one of the original members, it’s good to know that the whole world was saying Gaza, something I help to build.”