by Jodee Brown
After weeks of silence and a plethora of rumors that have infiltrated Dancehall circles, internationally acclaimed Dancehall superstar, Popcaan has finally spoken out; addressing every topic of speculation that his name has been involved in in recent times.
With the Portmore Empire officially disbanding last month and fellow ex-member of the group, Tommy Lee stating during an interview on Friday that Popcaan was not a member of Kartel’s newly formed PG13 stable, the Party Shot deejay has come forward to set the record straight amidst rumors of a falling out between himself and the self-professed Worl’ Boss.
In a statement sent out to the media on Monday, Popcaantalked in detail about various topics, including his thoughts of the Portmore Empire’s dissolution.
“The world already knows that my career was launched from the greatest dancehall school and business entity, The Portmore Empire/Adidjaheim Records led by Vybz Kartel. Since Vybz Kartel’s incarceration in September 2011 I remained a loyal and contributing member of this unit until May 2012 when the Portmore Empire was dissolved,” he said.
“Rumors started as early as September 2011 that I had left the Portmore Empire, this was not so. My actions in October 2011 were to seek booking representation as this very important function was no longer viable for me with the incarceration of the head of my management and booking company. To date I have no formal management or booking agreement and only since June 2012, with the dissolution of the Portmore Empire have I engaged the services of a lawyer to put these agreements in place.”
“From September 2011 to present I have worked hard and stayed focused on my career with my main intention to make sure that the music from the Portmore Empire was being released and the brand remained in the forefront of the dancehall music industry. I feel that I did that to the best of my ability with the release of songs like Party Shot, Fry Yiy, Coolie Gal, Bad Mind, She A Gwaan Good, Nuh Sell Out and Step Like Dead and with performances all over the world.”
Popcaan also talked about the reasoning behind him not being a part of PG13 and even addressed So Unique Records head, Elvis ‘Sounique’ Redwood who he claims has been making several defamatory statements to the press since he declined to voice on one of Redwood’s recent Riddims.
On PG13, “Vybz Kartel has explained that with no negative intentions and with his blessing and the possibilities of working together in the future, he thinks I have shown where I can work with my own career and that he will form a unit named PG13 for upcoming artists and include two former Portmore Empire members.”
Regarding Redwood, Popcaan intimated that, “Elvis Redwood has made it public that he is one of the producers working with PG 13 and he also keeps making defamatory statements about me. I know these are related to his disappointment because I did not voice on his ‘Aurora Skies’ riddim and it did not pass Half Way Tree. Because of his reaction to this and the way he constantly refers negatively to me throughout the music industry and the media my statement here is that I will never voice on any Riddim he produces.”
“My main producers remain TJ Records, UIM Records,Young Vibez, ZJ Chrome, Not Nice Records and MixPak Records. I also record any riddims that I like by other producers.”
Perhaps the most pressing issue that Popcaan addressed was his relationship with long time mentor, Vybz Kartel. For months, several Dancehall fans have queried why the Ravin’deejay has not visited Kartel since his incarceration last September.
Popcaan explained that he made several inquiries to law enforcement officials about visitation but to no avail while also stating that Vybz Kartel himself advised against such communication.
“Since his incarceration I have not visited Vybz Kartel, nor have any members of the Portmore Empire visited him to date. In September 2011 it was explained to us that only family members were allowed to visit at set times once a week. On several occasions when I enquired about visitations I was told that this was not advised. Later Vybz Kartel communicated through letters that I should focus on my career and stay away from the police. All our communication has been focused on updates on my career, my song releases and stage shows and general discussions as one would express in the present situation. Up until May 2012 when the Portmore Empire was dissolved we maintained a business relationship.”
Nevertheless, Popcaan remains grateful to Kartel for creating vast opportuinities that he’s managed to capitalize since joining the Portmore Empire.
“I am grateful and am loyal to Vybz Kartel for the opportunity of working with the Portmore Empire, for everything I learned from him about the music business, life, friendship and family. He is a brother, a father figure, “mi real chargie”. He has influenced and will continue to influence my career as one of my favourite artists and from the day we met at the Chromatic party ‘My Scheme’ in Portmore in 2009 to collaborating on hits like Clarks, Hot Grabba, Never Fear Dem and other songs.”
“I look forward to working again with Vybz Kartel and will be checking with producers to see what previously recorded material they may have that I can include on my album which I will start working on soon.”
Popcaan also addressed rumors that Informer, a track done by Kartel and Tommy Lee was in no way aimed towards him.
The song Informer was recorded by Vybz Kartel in August 2011 and added to by Tommy Lee in May 2012.
“These lyrics in no way pertain to me. To create friction and controversy, some persons have tried to dissect the song line by line but the fact remains that this song was not recorded about or toward me. Every word sang by Tommy Lee in this song could have been sung by me but this is the time for Tommy Lee to get the exposure and recognition from a collaboration with Vybz Kartel.”
As for his status within the Gaza, Popcaan said, “I have never said and will never say I am not a part of Gaza. Gaza is my original home and foundation and I will always remain loyal to the Gaza.”
“As I move forward and progress in the music industry I will use my success to bring forward other artistes like Vybz Kartel did for me and like Bounty Killer did for him.”
“Unscrupulous persons have called me and my family members with threats on my life, my family’s lives and threats to bottle my performances. I will not focus on this as I remain committed to my music, my career and my fans. Thanks to everyone for all the messages of support and encouragement that keep coming to me from fans in the streets, the media, the music industry and all the social networks.”
“I can only be myself and bring my own energy and vibes to the music industry, I remain the same fry yiy, hotskull, peppa skull, boil brain, popskull from 3 West Portmore dat Vybz Kartel buss to di world. Wi born unruly wid baay badness pack up all ova dat so…do remember…a di whole place a say fry yiy and the undisputed best mixtape of 2012, ‘Yiy Change,’ is still available for download at www.popcaanmusic.com. Listen for new music and look out for di fry yiy Ravin King coming to a city near you…big up di fans worldwide.”