Every week resident FADER selector Eddie STATS runs through dancehall riddims and other artifacts from the ghetto archipelago.
A lot done transpired in the world of GHETTO PALMS since the last installment. For one thing, Jamaicans have been cleaning up in the Beijing Olympics, at least the sprinting parts. That’s not really super relevant here except for the fact that it’s inspired a whole flood of 45s dedicated to Usain Bolt, Asafa Powell and Shelly Ann Fraser (from Elephant Man, Mavado, Cocoa Tea and Hopeton Lindo, to name a few) not to mention a much-needed swelling of Jamaican national pride. On the domestic front Daddy Yankee single-handedly ruined the genre of reggaeton for me by endorsing John McCain but at least (?) he is showing some kind of rudimentary political awareness. So for this edition I figured I would set aside all that heady, conscious stuff and focus on clashing. I’m sorry.
Silent River Riddim Blend:
Busy Signal, “Whine Like That”
Serani, “Do You Good”
Demarco, “God Nuh Sleep”
Chris Martin, “Style and Swagger”
Elephant Man, “That You Fi Run”
Munga, “When Me Waan To”
Mavado, “Dem A Pree”
Vybz Kartel, “Rise Di K”
Busy Signal, “Money We Seh”
Download: Silent River Riddim Blend
Self Defense Riddim Blend:
Vybz Kartel, “Send A Hell”
Mavado, “Dem A Fag”
Bugle, “What A Way”
Download: Self Defense Riddim Blend
Maybe the reason I’m so fixated with this is that I just invested a lot of time and energy putting together a FADER magazine cover story on Busy Signal, the meat of which consisted of a long narrative about how he has come back strong after his career was blown off course for more than a year by the feud between Vybz Kartel and his Alliance runnin’s mate Mavado. That feud was itself an aftershock of the forever war between Beenie Man and Bounty Killer—the original Hatfield & Real McKoy of dancehall music—and doubtless it will create some spin-offs and sequels of its own before it’s done.
So it just struck me extra crazy that with the Olympics going on and Busy’s album dropping soon on VP Records—when things were finally taking a positive swing for the Alliance and dancehall generally—these fools decide to go back at it like, Fuck peace. The lyrical shots in question have been fired over Skatta’s Self Defense (spelled Self Defence if you are British and/or nasty) and Shane Brown’s icily beautiful Silent River riddim. This does not appear to be a Nas/Jay-Z type conspiracy to drum up record sales either. If you believe the reports of the last few weeks, physical blows have also been thrown between the camps although at least no guns have been drawn yet. As always with dancehall, the clashing and war war war somehow contributes to some amazing and compelling music but the tunes on the Silent River provide a nice allegory for what’s going on in the upper echelons of dancehall; while Mavado and Kartel are going for each other’s neckparts, Busy Signal is stealing the show.