BY: JODEE BROWN
A day after embattled Dancehall superstar,Vybz Kartel issued a damning statement against his long-time protégés, one of his ‘Gaza’ disciples has responded to claims of disloyalty from the ‘Worl’ Boss.’
Kartel, through former Portmore Empiresingjay, Gaza Slim sent a statement toAnthony Miller of TVJ’s Entertainment Report, subliminally labeling Tommy Lee andPopcaan as ‘opportunists’ while accusing them and others of promoting a ‘Gaza’ movement that he made famous during his rise to superstardom several years ago.
“I just want u to let the people know that all a dem runnin’ aroun’ sayin’ ‘Gaza, Gaza’ are not real. Before I came here we were ‘good.’ No animosity, but within a week of my arrest, they started giving other people managerial and booking positions. But where were these people when I was building their careers? When I was investing time and money to transform them from nobody to somebody? They are opportunists and fake. I’m not surprised because this is Dancehall and I have no problem with them making their money. But I jus’ don’t want them to be all over the place exploiting a movement that I built with blood sweat and tears when they and I know they aren’t real. I want them to stop. The only two loyal people are Slim and Sheba (the girls) and maybe it’s because they haven’t fully realized their potential,” the statement read.
Responding to Kartel’s claims, Tommy Lee appeared on TVJ’s Entertainment Report to explain his side of the story, seemingly taken aback by these accusations.
“Vybz Kartel good, me and him good and me nuh see wah mi cudda do weh him cudda pree mi cah mi nuh do nutten out a di way. Mi loyal to di ting,” Tommy Lee said.
Additionally, reports surfaced on Thursday that one of the main reason behind Kartel’s stance relates to a disagreement regarding bookings fees, with said reports suggesting that ‘Di Teacha’ requested 30% of proceeds from booked shows and events, which Tommy Lee’s camp refused to agree to.
Despite denying that any contract was sent to him by Kartel, Tommy Lee admitted that his long-time mentor receives a sizeable share of his bookings fees.
“Him no approach me fi sign no contract…Him get about 20 percent,” he said.
Tommy Lee also spoke to reported tensions that have grown between Vybz Kartel andPopcaan, admitting that there’s a rift between both artistes.
“U dun kno dem have dem likkle problem and ting but at di end a di day, mi come from Mobay, mi innocent, mi no have no skeletons inna my closet, mi conscience set me free…at di end a di day, all mi do, mi jus’ know my level and how mi keep myself and no bodda lead mi self astray,” he said.
Both Tommy Lee and Popcaan have risen to prominence since Kartel’s arrest last September, keeping the ‘Gaza’ stronghold firm within Dancehall. When asked if he would have been as popular if Kartel wasn’t incarcerated on murder charges, Tommy Lee relented that even though their work wouldn’t have outdone their mentor, they’ve never tried to upstage ‘Di Teacha.’
“Inna life, u cyaah too out shine yuh master, yuh haffi do yuh ting ‘til di people dem accept you…At di end a di day, we a di future same way and wi deh round him. A jus’ no fi feel jealous and feel threatened, jus be yourself so till.”