Kartel fans petition Obama administration for retrial, deejay’s mom speaks out

Fans of incarcerated deejay, Vybz Kartel are petitioning the United States government asking for them to look into the deejay's murder conviction in an attempt to overturn it.

Fans of incarcerated deejay, Vybz Kartel are petitioning the United States government asking for them to look into the deejay’s murder conviction in an attempt to overturn it.

by Jodee Brown

Despite Vybz Kartel’s conviction on a murder charge on Thursday, his family and fans are clinging on the smallest bit of hope the deejay can beat his current predicament, as dire as it may be.

His fans in particular are going to the extremes to try and secure and out for the self-professed ‘Worl’ Boss’ as they have petitioned the United States government to help free him. The petitions, started this weekend, claim that Vybz Kartel did not receive a fair trial in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams case, which he and three co-accused were convicted of his August 2011 murder.

One of the petitions claimed evidence tampering by police during their investigation, citing alleged corruption and bias against him throughout, though that petition has seen been stopped. A second petition, started on Sunday, is hoping to secure 100,000 signatures by April 15 so it can be formally presented to U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration.

Meanwhile Kartel’s mother and sister have spoken out for the first time since the Mar. 13 verdict. His mother, Teresa Palmer gave an exclusive interview with the Jamaica Observer on Friday in which she expressed anger and sadness at the situation, suggesting many ‘lies’ have been told on her son.

“I don’t like that. A lot of lies were told. They tampered with the phones,” she said. “Dem man yah no need no sentence. Dem must go a road. Dem haffi let go mi pickney.”

Palmer said she has not eaten since the verdict and is trying to cope with the news. She believes, however, that several people have unfairly judged her son because of his hardcore lyrics and persona he presents.

“They say who God bless, no man curse,” she said. “You can fight against a man like this? You [should] fight against people who come into your community and rob, rape and kill. I don’t know why society is fighting the man and he never took anything from them.”

Kartel’s sister, Morine Nelson even chimed in, challenging an assertion by Jamaica’s security minister, Peter Bunting that her brother’s music has promoted crime over the years, while insisting people should stop hating the deejay without knowing his background.

Vybz Kartel and his co-accused will be sentenced on March 27. However, his legal team has indicated they will file an appeal to overturn the conviction.

Meanwhile a juror in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams case, Livingston Cain has been charged with five counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice and conspiracy to pervert the course of justice after allegedly offering millions of dollars to sway other jurors in the case to render a not guilty verdict for Kartel and company. He will appear in the Half Way Tree Magistrates Court on March 18.

Barrington Levy blasts increased level of hardcore content in Dancehall

Internationally acclaimed Reggae singer, Barrington Levy points to a lack of guidance as the reason for increases 'shock value' methods employed by young Dancehall artists in their musical content.

Internationally acclaimed Reggae singer, Barrington Levy points to a lack of guidance as the reason for increases ‘shock value’ methods employed by young Dancehall artists in their musical content.

by Jodee Brown

Throughout 2014, music lovers have seen a sharp increase in hardcore sexual content and imagery within Dancehall, with the likes of Alkaline, Demarco, Ricky Carty and J Amsterdam pushing boundaries with eyebrow-raising material to gauge interest from fans. One legendary artist is sick of this growing trend.

Barrington Levy, singer of classics such as Broader Than Broadway, Under Mi Sensi and countless others says he is tired of the X-rated nature that the genre has taken on and thinks it has damaged its credibility.

In an interview published in the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday, Levy said, “I see where the music business is taking a turn for the worst. It’s going in a direction where we are losing it.”

These people have no morals anymore. Are we going to do anything for money? I never came into the music business just to sell records. I thought I would just sing for the love of it.”

In another interview with the Jamaica Gleaner, Levy was more solutions-oriented, pointing to a lack of positive influence as the reason why young artists choose to ratchet up the shock value in their musical content.

“They are surrounded by a lot of hotheads that cannot steer them in the right direction,” he said. “People are talking about them and their songs, but not in a good way. As entertainers, we need to always set a good example for the future of music.”

“Surround yourself with good people, people who will lead you in the right direction, people that will help you make good career choices that will ensure longevity and international success.”

Dancehall has long contained specks of raunchiness and hardcore sexual content throughout its near four decades of existence, with artists such as Lady Saw and Vybz Kartel bringing said content to the forefront and becoming all-time greats as a result.

In 2014, however, X-rated content has reached another level and sparked much conversation within the Jamaican music industry, with Alkaline and J Amsterdam boldly speaking on topics of anal stimulation and giving oral sex respectively, to Ricky Carty’s infamous music video for his song, Gyal Tek It in which he had sex with a woman on camera while performing the song.

Meanwhile, Levy is set to release a new acoustic album with variations of his biggest hits. He is currently promoting his new hit single, Rosie.

Tommy Lee Sparta charged in lottery scam probe

Dancehall deejay, Tommy Lee Sparta has been charged with breaching Jamaica's anti-lottery scam act.

Dancehall deejay, Tommy Lee Sparta has been charged with breaching Jamaica’s anti-lottery scam act.

by Jodee Brown

Popular Dancehall artist, Tommy Lee Sparta has been charged with breaching the anti-lottery act in connection with an alleged lottery scam he has engaged in.

The deejay, whose real name is Leroy Russell was charged Friday afternoon along with four other individuals in relation to the alleged scam. He was granted JA$400,000 bail and is expected to appear in the Half-Way-Tree Court to answer the charge, according to his attorney, Bert Samuels.

Tommy Lee Sparta was taken into police custodyFeb. 3rd. In a report, the Jamaica Constabulary Force stated the investigation was triggered following a routine traffic stop that day in New Kingston after a driver had violated the Road Traffic Act and gave fake identification after not possessing a driver’s license.

Subsequent reports say police then raided a St. Andrew residence occupied by the deejay, where they seized documents that included lists of American citizens and other material allegedly used in the scam. Lee and six others were taken into custody as well as the vehicle stopped earlier that day.

Lottery scams have become a topic of contention in Jamaica in recent years, with regular citizens as well as politicians implicated in investigations pertaining to scamming. In 2013, American lawmakers demanded that Jamaicans implicated in lottery scamming defrauding U.S. citizens be extradited to their country to stand trial, calling out Jamaican law makers in the process for not acting quickly enough to dissuade alleged scams.

Once a prized protégé of Dancehall superstar, Vybz Kartel, Tommy Lee Sparta burst on the scene since the turn of the decade with hits such as Warn Dem, Psycho, Uncle Demon and Some Bwoy. He is still recovering from a near-fatal car accident he was involved in last November as he was traveling to his 26th birthday party.

2013 Year in Review: The best songs, artists and stories in Jamaican music

by Jodee Brown

After a 2012 which saw Jamaica return to the roots of its music during its 50th anniversary year, the majority of 2013 proved to be a major letdown and appeared to be heading for irrelevancy within the pantheon on memorable Jamaican periods. That is, until a certain sparkly 28-year-old singer reminded everyone that our music still has a very long shelf-life, if attention is focused on the right channels.

Tessanne Chin added a much needed boost to what was a mostly ordinary year within Jamaican music and entertainment. From a downsizing of hit songs, to increasingly poor album sales in the United States, to undying scrutiny regarding lyrical content and party regulations, these were trying times for artists and music lovers alike in 2013.

Nevertheless, we try to look on the brighter side of things in our music. With that said, check out the slideshow in the middle of this article, showing slides looking at the songs, artists and news makers that made Jamaican music interesting in 2013.  Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree with these picks.

Best New Artist – Jah Bouks

Best New Artist – Jah Bouks

Honorable Mentions – Keznamdi, Kelissa, Alkaline, Samantha J

This year was a strong year for debutantes on the local scene. Keznamdi has music lovers re-thinking how they would spend each Weekend, Alkaline inked his eye and his name on the Dancehall scene, Kelissa continued a recent run of impressive, upcoming female singers coming out, while teenage sensation, Samantha J bragged about being the girl in the Tight Up SkirtBut, in this writer’s opinion, there is only one winner.

As an ardent listener of Portmore’s Sun City 104.9FM, there is a strong amount of good, featured music by artists with potential, but little to no mainstream assurance. One such artist was a St. Thomas native by the name of Jah Bouks whose vocals and concepts were unique and smooth.

After hearing songs like Angola and Don’t Cry play so many times on radio, there was no doubt in this writer’s mind 2013 would be Jah Bouks would be a breakout act, if he got the right push. Sai push came in the form of competing on season six of Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall, where his singing ability and stage presence instantly made him a hit with music lovers. He failed to emerge with the million-dollar grand prize, but his star had shone too brightly for him to fade in the limelight soon thereafter.

Angola has been a big hit in mainstream media and on Jamaican streets, landing him several shows locally and overseas in the last six months. Going Home, Vital and others proved that this was not just any ordinary, fly-by-night tinker in his music, but someone whose vision is more wide-ranging than some veteran acts in today’s business, if you listen to his content. 2014 will be a year in which music lovers will look on him Highly! As he would say.

Male Deejay of the Year – I-Octane

Male Deejay of the Year – I-Octane

Honorable Mentions – Aidonia, Vybz Kartel

There was a huge struggle with this pick, nearly a temptation to leave this award vacant in all honesty, as no Dancehall artist really made his mark on the scene all year-round, struggling for a string of hits.

Konshens, who asserted his authority in Dancehall throughout 2012 with a slew of number ones, was mostly an afterthought this year, with Pull Up To Mi Bumper (feat. J Capri) really being his only standout song, with well over six million YouTube views.

Vybz Kartel, still awaiting word on his freedom from a long-standing murder charge, produced his share of noteworthy songs such as School, Business and Georgina. But, as often the case with the ‘Worl’ Boss’ in recent years, he follows up one big song with five low quality ones.

Aidonia certainly looked like the frontrunner in the first half of the year, driving female audiences mad with songs like Fi Di Jockey, Bruki and Tip Pon Yuh Toe, but his work released since the summer drastically failed to replicate that early success.

So, in the end, this honour goes to I-Octane. His hit at the start of the year, Gyal A Gimme Bunwas a hit with music lovers, adding a mix of old-school vibes with new school humor, as evidenced by the accompanying video. Happy Time and Wine and Jiggle have also been strong on local charts and, despite some skepticism going in, Octane validated the faith shown in him by Reggae Sumfest organizers to close their Dancehall Night with one of his better performances.

Mind you, this was not as solid a year for him as 2010 was, but in a year where many Dancehall acts flattered to deceive, he managed to topple them all.

Female Deejay of the Year – Lady Saw

 Female Deejay of the Year – Lady Saw

Female Deejay of the Year – Lady Sawjamaica-gleaner.com

Honorable Mentions – Macka Diamond, Spice

Unlike the male version of this category, the female one took much less thought, because frankly, content from female deejays was very limited.

Macka Diamond certainly had the biggest song amongst her compatriots with the chart-topping single, Dye Dyebut could not duplicate that form with her follow-up efforts, no matter how raunchy or edgy her promotional or lyrical content gotSpice also had a pair of modest hits, Twerk and Dun Wife which were catchy and thought-provoking, but she was mostly anonymous otherwise, with her beefs with Macka Diamond and the winner of this category mainly keeping her talked about in the press.

For all intent and purposes, Lady Saw was supposed to be done with Dancehall – moving on to a calmer, more spiritual lifestyle after growing tired of the stress and obstacles within a genre she dominated for decades. But the inner ‘bad gyal’ in her just could not resist staying away for good. Her video for Heels On, and the remix (featuring Flo-Rida) put her back on the international map again.

Her solo set at STING 2013, and, moments later, lyrical decapitation of the aforementionedMacka Diamond during their heated clash at the show really summed up how much Dancehall still needs its queen. She still has the edge and lyrical quality left to be a force in the business, as Heels On proved. Time will tell if she follows up on her decision on walk away for good, but her fans will certainly try their best to keep her around.

Reggae Artist of the Year – Chronixx

Reggae Artist of the Year – Chronixx

Reggae Artist of the Year – Chronixx reggaesumfest.com

Honorable Mentions – Sizzla, Beres Hammond, Etana

After a year which saw him rise to instant super stardom with one international hit after the next, one could forgive Chronixx if he relented and moseyed along 2013 while trying to find firm footing within this new-found status. Nope, he is a Warrior, and he continues to fight his way to the top with alarming ease.

Conceptually, he is well beyond his years, showcased through his chart-topping hit,Smile Jamaica, a song reminiscent of Bob Marley’s classic, with a spin on it comparing Jamaica to a beautiful woman. After dropping one of the best songs of 2013, he could again be forgiven for taking his foot off the gas pedal. Of course, again, he refused.

Access Granted, Rain Music, Most I and Here Comes Trouble went over with Jamaicans far and wide, earning rotation in markets such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. Billboard has already identified him as potentially Reggae music’s next big superstar, and who would blame them for jumping to that conclusion this early, given his catalogue.

In fairness, Sizzla, Beres Hammond and Etana put out solid hits which did not received nearly the same airplay or approval, but were solid throughout the year, both in studio and on stage. The former two received nods for the 2014 Best Reggae Album Grammy, whileEtana, in this writer’s opinion, should have earned a similar nod.

Given the trajectory Chronixx is on, such recognition will be coming his way much sooner than later, and deservedly so.

Song of the Year – Bumaye (Major Lazer feat. Busy Signal)

 Song of the Year – Bumaye (Major Lazer feat. Busy Signal)

Song of the Year – Bumaye (Major Lazer feat. Busy Signal)twelvefresh.com

Honorable Mentions – Smile Jamaica (Chronixx), Gyal a Gimme Bun (I-Octane), Nuh Compatible (Bugle)

There were a few gems that sparkled song-wise within the seemingly rusting jewel that was Jamaican music in 2013; all of them dominating for a long stretch of time.

Gyal a Gimme Bun was Dancehall’s biggest, most noteworthy hit between January and March, racking up number ones and giving pop culture a new term to exhaust with ‘Mi chest plate a bun mi.’

Nuh Compatible was one of the spring’s most talked about songs, composed by journeyman artist, Bugle, who finally earned his first real mainstream hit since his debut single, What We Gonna Do five years earlier. The acclaim it received was deserved and gave those going through untenable relationships a song to hang their hat on.

As mentioned in the previous slide, Smile Jamaica was a stroke of genius by Chronixx, and was easily the best Reggae song for 2013. But, the winner of this category had his song play in the background of a Pepsi commercial featuring world footballing great, Lionel Messi.Enough said.

Busy Signal, seeking that next, big mainstream hit since being released from prison in November of last year, teamed with Major Lazer for the single, Bumaye, which in English, means kill them (a phrase shouted during Muhammad Ali’s legendary fight with George Foreman).

This top-of-the-line, collaboration was, to use another boxing reference, an instant knockout, earning over 40 million YouTube hits, platinum status in Denmark and that aforementioned commercial with Messi. It was a throwback-themed song – using old-time Dancehall sounds and terms – that morphed into a commercial success and made Busy a major international player once again.

Story of the Year – Tessanne is ‘The Voice’

Story of the Year – Tessanne is ‘The Voice’

Story of the Year – Tessanne is ‘The Voice’ File photo

There could only be one winner or nominee for this honor; a no-brainer really.

Some four or five months ago, Tessanne Chin was a relative afterthought struggling to find a major breakthrough that would launch a once promising career that mostly stalled since making her mainstream debut as a teenager in 2004. Thanks to smart advice from Shaggy and one-chair-turning audition in Los Angeles, she went from Hideaway to being one of the most sought after musicians in the world right now.

Chin long possessed the vocal range, clarity and stage presence necessary to become a superstar, and after successfully auditioning for season five of NBC’s The Voice, those qualities were finally there for a much bigger audience than ours to witness. Song by song, she hit every high note with ease, and round-by-round, more American viewers were warming up to a woman whose personality and talent were too irresistible a combination to overlook.

Her last two solo performances – of Simon and Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Waterand Whitney Houston’s I Have Nothing – were two of the most memorable performances ever displayed by a Jamaican artist, or on any talent show worldwide for that matter. With every well-sung word, she had her own coach, Adam Levine, and really everyone else speechless, leaving one to wonder how high her ceiling really is.

Winning The Voice and an American recording contract were mere formalities really. It was the way the she galvanized her entire country to the point bars and Half-Way-Tree square were filled to Bolt-like proportions that was the real story. Jamaican music, and Jamaica in general, now had something to smile broadly about in a year filled with economic and social mishaps and drug controversy surrounding the island’s main source of unbridled joy in recent years, its track and field team.

Chin brought a badly-needed light on the island in dark times and has given every local musician to believe that a break is coming, with just a little persistence and attention to detail required. She now has the opportunity to become the island’s next musical icon and open doors for Jamaican in an American market which has not been kind to them since the days ofDamian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, Shaggy and Sean Paul.

Here is to hoping in 2014, she lays the foundation for Jamaica building a much stronger home musically.

Supercat, Saw, Sizzla and ‘Di Stinga’ highlight intriguing STING 30

by Jodee Brown

After a night filled with clashes, eye-raising moments and the return of a legend, STING 2013the 30th anniversary of the ‘Greatest Dancehall show on Earth’ on Dec. 26 certainly entertained and provoked thoughts throughout, leaving music lovers with lots of talking points to dissect for a long time coming.

The show, organized by Supreme Promotions and Downsound Records was, in this writer’s opinion, the most intriguing one since 2008 when the rivalry between Vybz Kartel and Mavado came to a head. Highlights were prevalent and lowlights were evident; here’s a look at some of those performances and moments in this STING 30 review.

Early Segments

Early Segments

Early Segments: STING, perhaps given the amount of entertainers on the bill, started shortly after 8 a.m. Amongst the emerging artists that performed within the first two hours of STING were Kalado and Toronto based deejay Touchless, who gave short, yet effective sets, going into songs like You Make Me Feel and Summer Body respectively. However, it was fast-rising Reggae sensation, Jah Bouks that was a hit with the smaller crowd inside the Portmore-based Jamworld, performing his big hit, Angola as well as newer material such as Going Home. His performance savvy, seen at a slew of show this year, makes him a must-watch act in 2014 and beyond.

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?)

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?)

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?) File photo

Though STING draws a hardcore Dancehall following, pure Reggae acts always find strong favor with the crowd, and this year was no exception. As per usual, Etana andI-Wayne drew some of the best responses from the typically judgmental audience, with the former bringing out Alborosie for a strong rendition of their collaborative hit,Blessings while the latter connected with his female following with, Girl I Love You.

While the likes of Nature and Iba Mahr also presented high energy sets, the stand out performance came from one Romain Virgo, who repeatedly hinted that this year might be the last year he performs at the show. It was a surprising admission from the 23-year-old phenom, who went into hits such as Who Feels It Knows It, Rain Is Falling, Mi Prefer Wait and Serious Times while decked out in all-white. Whatever the reasoning was behind those utterances is unknown, but after giving one of the best sets throughout the night, no one will be hoping he actually lives up to his proclamation.

Wyclef props and 2 Chainz flops

Wyclef props and 2 Chainz flops

STING 30 went out of its element by inviting international artists to the show to provide a different flavor to its fans. Unlike the more mixed crowd for Reggae Sumfest, however, it was always going to take a lot more effort to appease this crowd and in the case of 2 Chainz, he learned that the hard way.

The American rap star’s set started off on the wrong foot with technical issues dominating the first five minutes. Once his mic was finally fixed, his set just failed to get off the ground. In a performance littered with unapologetic cursing, he did songs like Birthday Suit, No Lie and others to an unmoved, silent crowd who did not seem to know exactly how to react. No matter how much he tried to warm up to them, it just was not connecting; frankly looking like a mismatch between artist and fan base. He incessantly complained about his stage time late in his performance, but perhaps this flop of a set should have ended sooner given the circumstances.

On the other hand, Wyclef Jean went over with the Portmore-based crowd by doing something that will always get you in their good graces, shouting out incarcerated Dancehall superstar and Portmore native, Vybz Kartel. After renditions of classics such as Gone Till November and911, as well as a smattering of poetry, Wyclef went into the crowd before unleashing a pair of Kartel hits for the crowd to savor. Also shouting out Buju Banton and convicted drug baron,Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke during his set, Wyclef endeared himself to the crowd the best way he could, by indulging in the culture.

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Now at age 50 and 11 years removed from his last performance in Jamaica, the return of the ‘Don Dada,’ Supercat to the STING stage was filled with as much mystery as there was anticipation, considering how scarce he has been on the music stage in recent years.

However, the legendary Dancehall/Reggae star showed why he is still one of the most feared and respected performers in the game, recovering from a somewhat slow opening to launch into full gear with hits like Si Boops Deh, Unda Pressure and Dolly My Baby.

The crowd loved it and there was a flow to his set, the longest of the night. Supercat also showcased some new material, including talking about his ‘doggie leg,’ but his mere presence in a white suit, sporting a beard and curls was a pleasure to witness. Hopefully, there will be more sightings of this Jamaican music great in the years to come.

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash urbanislandz.com

Truth be told, to call this highly anticipated showdown between the ‘Queen of Dancehall’ Lady Saw and Macka Diamonda clash may be overstating it a bit. This was more of a shouting match than anything else; providing more moments of entertainment than quality lyrical content.

Saw was in no joking mood throughout the night, giving a X-rated performance that kept eyes fixated throughout, particularly during her performance of Heels On, when she called out model, Tyson Beckford and simulated a sexual position on stage while singing. Following her standout performance, she called out Macka to the stageMacka, donning all-black and face paint, did a clash-friendly rendition of her hit, Dye Dye before all hell broke loose. The two nearly butted heads before Lady Saw went out in full attack mode, alleging several sexual relationships Macka had in the music business before letting her lyrics do the talking.

Though said lyrics were not up to the standard we’re usually accustomed to from the legendary deejay, she was never pushed to go into second gear with a seemingly intimidated Macka pushed to the brink of admitting defeat near the end, saying ‘Mi will die trying.’ That line alone proved how one-way this ‘clash’ was. Saw was ruthless as she saw her prey and wouldn’t let up once she had it in her clutches, making Macka ‘die die’ lyrically as she unleashed her vocal bullets.

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Man

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Man

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Manyardhype.com/kingstonstyle.com

Ninja Man has faced his share of tough opponents in the clash arena – Supercat, Mad Cobra, Merciless and Kiprich – but this year’s clash rival was relatively new in that area of music. After winning a celebrity clash against Ishawna in November,D’Angel decided to respond to a lyric the ‘Don Gorgon’ sang about her during his set. She used her retort to address a fresh controversy about a picture exposing her privates that circulated on the internet shortly before Christmas. Not only did she use it as material in her answer to Ninja Man, she even ‘skinned out,’ in front of the audience while wearing a short blouse, adding a raunchiness to her set that she is not typically known for. She was unafraid of the repercussions and certainly prompted bulged eyes to be made throughout this short-lived clash.

Performance of the night – Sizzla

Performance of the night – Sizzla

Performance of the night – Sizzlayardhype.com

Otherwise, Aidonia and Beenie Man were relatively solid throughout their sets, Tommy Lee seemed reflective as he talked about his car accident and expressed his desire for a United States visa during his performance and Mavado put to rest any recent speculation about his relationship with mentor, Bounty Killer by shouting him out during his performance – a combination of old school gangsta hits mixed with a few newer songs.

But the single best performance of the night had to be Sizzla Kalonji, who was in a militant mood, performing classics like Thank You Mama, Trod Mount Zion, Be Strong and many more. Often free styling and even throwing a couple of barbs in the direction of STING’s lead promoter, Isaiah LaingSizzla made several points addressing homosexuality, Africa and many more topics to overwhelming approval from the crowd. He did not miss a beat, and should be given serious consideration to close the show in the near future.

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

After disposing of General B, Mercilessand even the clash king himself, Ninja Man, Kiprich was hoping for some competition for the clash title and a US$30,000 on the line to close the show. On stage stepped a surprise opponent in Black Ryno, who at the same show last year was pushed off stage by Popcaan during a heated exchange between ex Portmore Empireteammates.

Donning a very unusual costume, Kiprich looked to have underrated Ryno’s ability from the jump, but was quickly put in line by ‘Ryno Di Stinger’ with a quick, devastating flurry of lyrics which included mostly freestyles. After ‘Kippo’ made a reference to last year’s incident involving Ryno, however, the Facebook singer did not garner many likes as the clash went on as impatient, bipartisan crowd booed him as they rooted for their hometown artist. This was a unanimous decision in the end, leaving Kiprich with too much to overcome and Black Ryno with US$30,000 more in his pocket. Hopefully, this will be the start of a renaissance in the career of an artist still looking for his first big hit since severing ties with Vybz Kartel.

Mr. Vegas challenges Bounty Killer to clash at STING

Vegas-Bounty clash at STING? The two superstar deejays could be heading for a lyrical confrontation at Dancehall's largest showpiece.

Vegas-Bounty clash at STING? The two superstar deejays could be heading for a lyrical confrontation at Dancehall’s largest showpiece.

by Jodee Brown

Not known for entertaining lyrical confrontations throughout his illustrious career, Dancehall/Reggae superstar, Mr. Vegas now seeks to break this mold by challenging one of the genre’s clash kings and long-time rival, Bounty Killer at STING 2013.

On Thursday, Vegas made his intention to clash the ‘War Lord’ public and insists he will not back down from Bounty at Dancehall’s most hyped showcase.

“I just put it out there to let it be known that mi a big man now and mi nah mek nuhbody feel like dem can cow mi down,” Vegas told the Jamaica STAR.

Vegas and Bounty’s years of verbal exchanges came to a head in September after a recent performance in which Vegas donned 70s plaid clothes and a fake afro, with the ‘Grung Gaad’ and his fans ridiculing the outfit. The seemingly petty argument turned into a flat out war of words with everything being questioned, from Vegas’ sexuality to Bounty’s status within the music.

Vegas later claimed that his relationship with an ex-girlfriend of Bounty’s was the reason behind this deep-seeded dislike his fellow deejay showed towards him.

Despite having no clashing experience, Mr. Vegas says he has studied enough about the history of Dancehall and the art of lyrical warfare that gives him the confidence to clash Bounty Killer and said he would even turn down his show in Dubai, scheduled for the same day as STING, just to confront the Allianceleader.

“Clash is to entertain people with lyrics, not bag a noise and nasty mouth,” he said “So, if a man come wid some fresh new lyrics, then mi wi cancel my show a Dubai and mek Laing run back the promoter food, just to show people sey mi can tek on Goliath.”

Mr. Vegas has even gone as far as to record a diss song against Bounty dubbed Bury Him Fuss, suggesting he is ready for a clash at STING.

Bounty Killer has yet to respond to Vegas’ challenge.

Last year, Bounty Killer was at the centre of another major feud, that time with former Vybz Kartel protégé,Tommy Lee Sparta, with many rumors swirling of a clash between those two at STING. However, Bounty ended that speculation by insisting he would not be at STING and that Tommy Lee Sparta was no established enough for him to take seriously in that setting.

STING 2013, the 30th anniversary of the show, will take place at Jamworld in St. Catherine on Dec., 26.

Prominent Jamaican author, Belle Angel releases new book about Michael Jackson

Jamaican author, Dorcas Bennett aka Belle Angel has revealed a fascinating new book dedicated to former mentor, the late great Michael Jackson, dubbed 'Michael Jackson Seven Even'.

Jamaican author, Dorcas Bennett aka Belle Angel has revealed a fascinating new book dedicated to former mentor, the late great Michael Jackson, dubbed ‘Michael Jackson Seven Even’.

by Jodee Brown

Wholesomely proud and humbled to be under the tutelage of legendary singer, the late, great Michael Jackson,accomplished Jamaican author and actress Dorcas M. Bennett aka Belle Angel is dedicated to properly honoring the King of Pop by releasing an illustrated book documenting his spoken words in a letter and quotes.

Michael Jackson Seven Even is a book created to honor the iconic musician’s life, illustrated by Brazilian illustrator Queila De Aguiar, with the cover designed byChristina Meckel. The concept of this book came to Belle in a dream where Michael told her that she was not alone and he will guide her to compile this book from his personal voice to the world. While Jackson was alive, he had encouraged her to be bold and creative in her written art. He explained that bravery is needed as a creator and told her to never write about a perfect world but instead to speak of life as is and always tell the truth regardless.

In the book, Belle Angel shares a love letter, Michael Jackson wrote a few months before his untimely passing. However, she will never reveal whom the love letter was written nor its purpose as to protect the privacy of the recipient. According to Belle, this personal letter that is sentimental and truthful and doesn’t want the book to lead to a ‘media frenzy’ and sensationalism. “The inclusion is only being published as a part of Mr. Jackson’s legacy to be preserved and uphold respectfully,” she states. “MJ was a great man and father, he loved and cherished his fans, and he was extremely nice to all of us.”

Each illustration in Michael Jackson Seven Even tells a HIS and HER story. It reads like a Romeo and Juliet or a modern day version of Adam and Eve. The drawings and dialogue convey Love~Lives~Forever, which depicts Boy meets Girl, how they separate by time and distance, priorities and orders, highs and lows, then his “woe” that drives her to suicide.

Jackson was aware of Belle’s natural gift as a medium, where she possesses the innate spiritual ability to receive pertinent messages from the dead. In a way Michael Jackson: Seven Even allows people to see this gift play out as MJ’s passion and love for all plays out through her writings. She insists the storyline behind this book is not embedded with morbidity, intimating that it is, “actually a book about true love and devotion.”

This newly-released book is a must read for open-minded people who value love and self-worth at all costs and will surely do justice to a man who’s life’s work was based on such values. It’s sure to stir minds and gauge strong reaction.

Meanwhile, Belle continues to act and recently did a cameo on the TV Show, The Neighbors alongsidecelebrity talk show host,Wendy Williams. She also appeared on Criminal Minds as a Baltimore FBI Agent, The new TV show, Intelligence as an agent and will be seen on the ABC series, Pretty Little Liars as a police officer.

She also is starring in the commercial for Tecate, a Mexican beer, which will air in México and on the internet. She will also make a cameos in the 2014 flick, A Many Splintered Things with Chris Evans from the Avengers and is working on a cameo in the upcoming, Reese Witherspoon produced movie, Gone Girl featuring Ben Affleck and Tyler Perry.

She hopes to star in her own TV show and movie soon and will put her abilities as a medium to the test on the Psychic Phenomenal episode of The History Channel’s Numbers Game show.

Additionally, she will pilot a new beauty contest, The Miss Belle Angel Contest, which searches for a ‘Goddess’ possession a pretty face, strong work ethic, sparkling personality and a body to match. This contest is a makeup for the postponement of her Miss Caribbean USA beauty pageant due to the sudden passing of her grandmother, Doris Moody.

For more details or to purchase Michael Jackson Seven Even, please visit the author’s website atwww.sacrodbooks.com

Samantha J premieres ‘Tight Skirt’ video on BET (Video Included)

16-year-old singing sensation, Samantha J has premiered the official video for his hit single, 'Tight Skirt' on MTV and BET in the last month

16-year-old singing sensation, Samantha J has premiered the official video for his hit single, ‘Tight Skirt’ on MTV and BET in the last month

by Jodee Brown

Still within the midst of her teenage years, Jamaican music’s fast-rising young sensation, Samantha J has already accomplished more feats at the age of 16 than many established acts, the latest of which earned her a premiere on BET’s 106 & Park.

The artist and part-time model, whose real name isSamantha Goncalves was on the popular American countdown show on Friday night to premiere the official video for her hit single, Tight Skirt. Her rendition of Red Rat’s classic track has made her an overnight sensation in Jamaica since its debut this past summer.

Her popularity has skyrocketed as such that the video forTight Skirt landed her on MTV Buzzworthy earlier this month and she capitalized on her growing fanfare in the United States by unveiling Tight Up Skirt as 106 and Park’s ‘New Joint of the Day.’

This later success overwhelmed the Washroom Entertainment recording artiste, telling the Jamaica Observer“It was an overwhelming experience to see my video being premiered on BET. This is something I always dreamed of happening.”

According to Samantha J, she aims to bring a new sound to the music industry and admits her new found fame has been something to adjust to while pursuing her studies at the Heinz Simonitsch School in Rose Hall, Montego Bay.

“I am definitely surprised and very happy that it has been well received,” she told the Observer. Due to the overwhelming feedback, I have had to improve on my time management as it relates to my schoolwork.”

Samantha J will continue to promote the single, produced by Washroom Entertainment producer,Conroy Forte as well as Florida based recording label,Oceanic Tradewinds. The official video has already racked up close to 300,000 views on YouTube.

She plans to release a number of follow-ups to Tight Skirt, including singles such as Lollipop and Angel.

WATCH THE “TIGHT SKIRT” MUSIC VIDEO HERE:

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Elephant Man rape case pushed back until late November

Dancehall star, Oneil 'Elephant Man' Bryan will return to court in November to begin his pending rape trial..

Dancehall star, Oneil ‘Elephant Man’ Bryan will return to court in November to begin his pending rape trial..

by Jodee Brown

Internationally-acclaimed Dancehall superstar, Elephant Man faces another delay in his ongoing rape case as the case file in relation to the matter is reportedly missing.

The ‘Energy God’ appeared in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrates Court in Kingston Friday morning when the trial was expected to begin. However, the judge extended Elephant Man’s bail, ordering that he return to court on Nov. 29 after the prosecution conceded that the case fail against the deejay was nowhere to be found.

The matter has been postponed several times since it was originally due to commence in May of last year.

The charges of rape and grievous sexual assault againstElephant Man stems from an alleged incident at a St. Andrew residence in January 2012 involving a woman in her 30s.

The artist, whose real name is Oneil Bryan was arrested by detectives from the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA) shortly after the woman reportedly filed a police report.

Tessanne seals spot in knockout round of ‘The Voice’ with stellar performance

Tessanne Chin has every reason to smile after advancing to the knockout round of 'The Voice' after edging out Donna Allen during their performance on Monday night.

Tessanne Chin has every reason to smile after advancing to the knockout round of ‘The Voice’ after edging out Donna Allen during their performance on Monday night.

by Jodee Brown

Versatile Jamaican songstress, Tessanne Chin is through to the knockout round of the popular American talent show, The Voice after winning a tightly-contested battle round against veteran American pop singer, Donna Allen Monday night.

Chin and Allen, both standouts on the show mentored by elite singers, Adam Levine and Ryan Tedder were surprisingly paired together during the battle round, in which they had to perform a rendition of Emeli Sande’s hit song, Next To Me together. As expected, they gave a rousing, emotional rendition of the song and made it extremely tough for Levine and fellow judges, Christina Aguilera, Cee’Lo Green and Blake Shelton to choose between them.

Allen’s powerful, raspy voice immediately stomped her authority on the song while Tessanne’s smooth, sultry vocals effectively added the balance and extra charisma necessary to make the rendition come off flawlessly. Following their two-minute rendition, tension arose as the judges lauded them on their performance.

While Shelton gave the edge to Allen, Aguilera and Green both cited Tessanne’s clarity in their decision to give her in the edge. Ultimately, it was the coaches’ decision, and Levine ended up choosing Tessanne to move on to the knockout round, where she will compete against another member or her team for the right to move on to the highly-anticipated live performance stage.

Despite Allen’s exceptional performance in a losing effort, none of Levine’s rival coaches opted to use one of their two steals to take her on board to the next round, to the surprise of many. For his part, Green cited patches in Allen’s voice during her performance as a reason for not opting to take her on.

Battle Night 2 on The Voice will air live Tuesday night at 8 p.m. on NBC and 7 p.m. (local time) on RETV in Jamaica, with TVJ showing a delayed broadcast at 9 p.m. local time.