Over the last few years dancehall music has become a global phenomenon, though not as big as reggae, it is now seen as a popular artform (pop) capable of competing with rock, hip-hop and the likes. What this means is that another musical genre, born and raised on the island of Jamaica, is now highly sought after the world over.
Both genres have gotten so big that many countries are now honing their own set of reggae / dancehall stars for the world stage. However, the general consensus among musical insiders is that in order for any reggae or dancehall artist, from countries other than Jamaica, to be recognized as such, they need to collaborate with an established (known) Jamaican artist. It is believed that such a collaboration authenticates the non-Jamaican talent.
This is where the question of selling out comes in. More often than not, the non-Jamaican talents are artists with a lot of financial support who are eager for fame, fortune and all that comes with being a music star in the twenty-first century. However, and this is based entirely on observation, a lot of them don’t seem to have high moral standings. In other words, they seem to desire fame and fortune at any cost. Surprisingly, our own Jamaican artists, most of whom talk a lot about ‘God (Jah) over everything,’ have no problems collaborating with them, even if they appear to be entirely amoral. Please understand that I am not insinuating that our Jamaican artists are righteous leaders; but I am referring to the ones who give the impression that they are. Hence my title; are Jamaican artists selling out for money and fame?
An observation by Maria Jackson