Back off! - Gage warns veteran artistes to give young ones a break
Dancehall artiste Gage has been making the rounds on social media following his television interview on the weekend.
The entertainer is today receiving heavy support from his fellow colleagues, particularly up-and-coming entertainers, for calling out veteran artistes on their lack of support for younger ones.
In that interview, Gage described today's dancehall landscape as a battlefield, where there is constant fighting between the old and the young. Explaining that criticisms from the elders (as it relates to how music is being approached today) isn't necessary, Gage pointed out that some veteran entertainers are perhaps being too hard on young talent.
Expounding on the issue in an interview with The STAR, Gage described the approach taken by some elder entertainers as hypocritical. He said that while they too had their shortcomings, instead of advising young artistes not to make similar mistakes, most veteran artistes would rather break down than build up.
"The thing is this, if yuh nah go help, we nuh wah nuh fight either. If yuh nah go open nuh door fi we, we nuh wah yuh close none. Too much bashing and dat shoulda never be dem job," he said. "Up-and-coming entertainers nuh really demand help from the elders or need the help, when dem shoulda make dancehall go further. Dem never dweet, so dem fi just leave we make we dweet how we know how fi dweet."
Gage went on to say that if the elders had done their jobs and set a precedence in the industry when they had the chance, their views on how to approach music in today's market would perhaps be easier to digest.
"Dem shoulda did take dem work more serious and do what was necessary dem time deh fi expand di thing. There were things dem shoulda do and learn bout the business weh dem slack up pan, and now dem wah tell we how fi do music," he said. "Where the business was concerned, dem never try fi build on our thing and make dancehall more out there. Dem do wah dem do and we respect that, so dem fi leave we make we do wah we a do and respect dat too."
Frankie Campbell to the veterans' defence
However, Frankie Campbell, chairman of the Jamaica Association of Vintage Artistes and Affiliates (JAVAA), disagreed.
Campbell explained that when veteran entertainers point out the shortcomings of younger counterparts, although the approach may sometimes be wrong, the intention most times is to help.
"When we talk most times, it's not to look down on the work of our young people because we have respect for the work most of them do. It's just that sometimes we are disappointed in the lyrical content," he said. "This is not to say that back in our day the music wasn't lewd, but it wasn't like it is today and we just don't want our young people to make some of the same mistakes we did. We want them to take the music further. When you look at music today, our entertainers are not charting like they used to and that means that the current crop of artistes must be doing something wrong. They need to look into themselves and make some adjustments. We are not the ones the world is paying attention to anymore so taking the music further is in their hands."
Campbell, pointing out that there is some truth to Gage's statements, admitted that there aren't enough veteran entertainers willing to help up-and-coming acts. He, however, encouraged young talent to align themselves with the elders who are willing to help advance their careers. He also encouraged them to join organisations set up to teach them how to make smart business decisions, pointing out that the latter was one of the reasons the music, as Gage pointed out, isn't as advanced as it should be. "We had to learn the business by ourselves. There was no one there looking out for us or teaching us what to do. Those who had knowledge of the business kept it to themselves. We had to learn this thing as we went along and we did that so you wouldn't have to."