Bounty Killer is one of many Dancehall/Reggae acts to pay homage to their mothers, as he did with his Mom, ‘Miss Ivy’ following her death in February
by Jodee Brown
As a show of respect to mothers and the struggles they had to bare, many artistes across various genres have dedicated songs to them in an effort to show their appreciation for all they sacrificed. Several Dancehall and Reggae superstars have similarly poured their hearts out to pay homage to the concept of motherhood and the burdens that came along with that responsibility.
In honor of Mother’s Day, check out this list of ten songs done by current Jamaican artistes that were dedicated to Moms or the evolving concept of motherhood.
1. Jahvinci – Mama Don’t Worry: FormerPortmore Empire singjay, Jahvinci had showcased some of his potential as a hybrid artiste with songs like Money andChristmas Story. However, his prospects first shone in the summer of 2009 withMama Don’t Worry, a song wholly dedicated towards those who promise better days for their mothers, even during the worst of times. Additionally, the songreflects on the struggles his mother went through to care for him and the emotional toll motherhood can take.
2. Jahvinci – Mama Love: Just months before his departure from the Empire, Jahvinci scored another hit while a member of the ‘Gaza’ group with Mama Love in March 2011 on the Eternal Riddim. This song was seemingly more personal for Jahvinci as he spoke to growing up in the ghetto but managing to overcome the daily struggles and dangers of the inner city thanks to the love and support of his mother. It gaveJahvinci noteworthy acclaim on the local music scene and helped build the singjay’s reputation as a promising prospect, even after leaving Vybz Kartel’s crew in May 2011.
3. Bounty Killer – Mama’s Love: Originally done in early 2011, Bounty Killer spoke highly of his love for his mother Ivy ‘Miss Ivy’ Williams, as he often did on previous singles like Mama Ivy Last Son and Mama U Know. Mama’s Love gave credence once again to the dedication and determination that mothers show while also speaking of how his mother raised him and encouraged him throughout his childhood and rise to superstardom.
The single was re-released in February of last year after Miss Ivy passed away following a long illness while the Dancehall fraternity showed strong support for Bounty Killer when holding a wake in honor of his mother.
4. Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers – Mama: During his hay day in the late 80s and early 90s, a young Ziggy Marleyshowed his love for mothers in song as he and the Melody Makers released the sizzling Reggae single, Mama. Not only did this song honor the strength and persistence that his mother showed, but Marley also described the essence of motherhood and how well they spread their love.
5. Lady Saw – Infertility: For every mother able to bare the joy of carrying a child in their womb, there are some women who’re unfortunately unable to bare children of their own. One of those women is the ‘Queen of Dancehall, Lady Saw who surprised her hardcore Dancehall following in 2007 with the release of No Less Than a Woman (Infertility), speaking candidly about her past miscarriages and sadness of not being able to have her own children.
With three adopted children of her own,Lady Saw used No Less Than a Woman as a way to inspire women who endured similar fates to keep their heads up while suggesting that there are many Jamaican children without parents, looking for mothers to love and take care of them. The song received high praise within local music circles as she spoke up for women in similar circumstances.
6. Gyptian – Mama Don’t Cry: In 2006, Gyptianbecame a household name when he released his debut album, I Am Gyptian, featuring smash hits like Serious Timesand Beautiful Lady. Another single from that album, Mama Don’t Cry painted an eloquent picture of a man who strives to make it on his own while attempting to make life better for himself and his mother.
The visuals for Mama Don’t Cry followed suit, showing how life in the inner city was a major struggle for him and his mother to the point where his mother feared the worst. However, Gyptian’s lyrics of encouragement resonated with many who were in similar situations as his scintillating voice won the hearts and support of fans across the world. Check it out here:
7. Garnett Silk – Hello Mama Africa: The concept of motherhood isn’t just limited to people. Sometimes, it can be a place which one calls a ‘mother’, as shown by late great Reggae singer, Garnett Silk in Hello Mama Africa. Paying homage to the proverbial Motherland while showing his devout beliefs in Rastafari, Silk flourished as one of Reggae’s most promising acts of the 90s with Hello Mama Africa as he speaks of one day returning to the Motherland while speaking of the joy that the continent brought to him.
A remix of the single was later done with fellow Reggae superstars and friends, Buju Banton and Anthony B and since Silk’s untimely death in December 1994, Hello Mama Africa remains one of Reggae music’s biggest hits.
8. Sizzla – Black Woman and Child: Again dealing with a greater concept of motherhood, Reggae singer, Sizzla Kalonjiascended to superstar status after the release of Black Woman and Child in 1997. Speaking of his admiration for black women raising their children through the toughest of times, Sizzla spoke to the long road that black women had to overcome dating back to the days of slavery. Additionally, he put the emphasis on one natural love and support instead of a reliance on material things.
Black Woman and Child was the title track of Sizzla’s 1997 album which was later named as a top 50 Reggae album of all time by MOJO Magazine in 2002 and is regarded by many fans as Kalonji’s best compilation to date.
9. Vybz Kartel – Mama: Easily Dancehall’s most controversial artiste, Kartel once again showed his trait of unpredictability withMama; a conscious effort dedicated towards honoring all the achievements and efforts his mother made in order to provide a better life for him and their family.
Kartel also called out those men who fail to take care of their mothers; instead spending their money on random women while leaving the main women in their lives to suffer. A chart-topping single added to his already rich résumé, Kartel referred to his mother and others as queens who should be given their rightful respect as they gave up so much just to make their children happy.
10. Sizzla – Thank You Mama: It was the first single that Sizzla ever put to visuals and still is most impactful single to date. With a simple message relaying all the pain and pressure mothers have to bear when having children, Sizzla reflected on his own days a child with his mother and the belief that he and his mother would one day overcome.
Thank You Mama dominated Reggae charts, won over fans from all corners of the world and made Sizzla a global phenomenon. The single remains a universal anthem for celebrating motherhood and will surely be played a plethora of times this Mother’s Day.