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I discussed dancehall as the Murder Music earlier and the terrible situation in JA right now.
There are two things I think everyone interested i JA music, culture and economics absolutely should see, and that is the documentary "Life and Debt" and the series "Ross Kemp On Gangs - Jamaica".
"Life and Debt" explains how JA ended up in todays situation. It explains the politics and economics behind it. Might sound dull, but actually it a real thriller. Everyone remotely interested in the background of what JA music and lyricists has talked bout in thousand and thousands of tunes will find this very enlightening. "Life and Debt" could be about any third world country, because the way it has ended up in extreme poverty and with no signs of a better future is the same. That story itself is intriguing, but for us it makes it even more interesting as JA is used as the example.
The story shows the underlying structures that makes part of the world poorer and other parts richer. Also know as the Babylon system. (Ok, that rings a bell...:))
"Ross Kemp On Gangs - Jamaica" provides a snapshot of the situation in the Kingston ghettos, a situation everyone in JA refers to as "the war". It shows a garrison, Crag Town, "not bigger then few football fields" in a full scale war with neighboring garrisons. No one seems to know what the war is about, or who’s is the attacker and who’s the defender. The whole thing is completely absurd and it would be funny if it weren't for the senseless killing going on. If you think there is something romantic and exiting about ghetto sufferas and gangsta lifestyle this is something for you. And by the way... it gets very clear that that, unlike US and other places, "Gangsta lifestyle" is a not a choice. As in any war, the young men are the ones that are going to defend their loved ones and fight the war.
Call it “Gangsta lifestyle” and at least it gets a bit of glamour to it, but this is a war like any war.
Combined, "Life and Debt" and "Ross Kemp On Gangs - Jamaica" will give you and understanding of what Movado is actually talking about.
Or will you? Maybe he’s just entertaining the troops?
Oh, and once you have seen this you will agree with Yellowman and 100 other artists that that claim that their sex focused lyrics isn't slackness compared to what is happening in the Kingston streets. That’s slackness! That is something to get upset about. On the other hand, that kind of slackness is heavily encouraged by the dancehall industry too.
As an illustration to the above, here is Anthony B with a fantastic cut on my absolute favorite riddim of 2008, Stephen McGregors Advocate.
A fantastic tune there from Anthony B, showing that it’s still absolutely possible to write good, solid reality lyrics and perform them over the hottest riddims. The way he breaks down the lyrics and delivery into fragments in the end of the tune to emphasize the message. I’ve never been a huge AB fan, but this is a masterpiece!