The sound track for the first part of my trip to Jamaica.
Artist Vybz Kartel’s “Love Dem”.
My first task upon landing in Jamaica was figuring out what the hell was “Gaza vs Gully”. Before leaving NY I had been aware that there were supposedly two parts of the island that didn’t quite get along. One was called “Gaza” and the other was “Gully”. For an intellectual break down check here.
The beef seems to revolve around a dispute between current Reggae musicians Mavado and Vybz Kartel. When things got territorial, fans were left to choose sides.
I’m far from an expert on current Dancehall artists or songs but I did come down to Jamaica a big fan of Mavado and had recently picked up the 45 inch single for his smash hit “So Special”. My cousin Smokey had put me on to his music about a year ago.
My “vibes” towards Vybes Kartel were a bit different. Once I heard that he beat up one of my favorite entertainers, (the original front teeth-gold teeth-gun pon teeth-don gorgon Ninja Man) years back at Reggae concert STING, I haven’t really given his music a chance. He also had a recent war of words over his raunchy song “Rampin Shop” with female reggae star Queen Ifrica.
Lo and behold, after landing in Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, I ended up staying in the parish of St. Cathrine, Jamaica in a place called Portmore aka THE GAZA STRIP!
Considering that I had some reservations, I must say that my stay in Portmore was really nice. The people were very relaxed, had tons of jokes, smiled and laughed easily and seemed to get a kick out of my enjoyment of Jamaica. When asked about the violence, I was told that it happens mainly during election times but because of the economy, most of the youths are just trying to get jobs to help with bills and things of that nature.
During my time in Portmore, I heard Vybz Kartel on the radio often and realized that his lashing out at Ninja Man wasn’t a strike at his elders, but more of a bottled up energy exploding as he tried to represent for the youth. STING is held in Portmore and performing in front of the hometown crowd means a lot.
So with this first part of my Jamrock series, I’d like to say thanks to all of the entertainers for creating the music that helps you actually feel the pulse of the island. And thanks to my new found family in Jamaica and especially in St. Catherine. The heat was HOT but the hospitality was wonderful. Thanks for the delicious boiled and fried dumplings, callaloo, breadfruit etc. Thanks for all of the rich history.