Still serious times - Gyptian says his 2004 message remains relevant
When Gyptian recorded his breakout single, Serious Times, in 2004, the country was on the brink of recording more than 1,400 murders per year. This figure increased to 1616 in 2017, and several areas in St James and the Corporate Area have since been placed under a state of public emergency in an effort to lower the crime figures.
It has been 14 years since the song's debut, and the reggae singer says the message is still relevant.
"Mi sing it for a purpose 'cause at that time it was bloody, but it seems now like bare blood a run dung like a river," Gyptian told THE STAR.
"If it continues, we a go be like Haiti, where dem dump the gun dem to the dons and then say the dons a promote badness. No, a smart the dons dem smart and a try mek a money cause dem need the money. But we're here to say 'low dem gun deh, a just destruction that cause. A still serious times, and you see it for yourself."
Gyptian is scheduled to perform at the Magnum STAR Live free concert in Lucea, Hanover, on November 23, alongside Wayne Marshall, Jah Vinci, and Gage.
Despite being a relatively quiet area for years, criminals began popping up in Hanover in more recent times. In August, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that even though there has been an 11 per cent decline in murders in Hanover, there is still need for concern as gangs continue to thrive in the area.
For Gyptian, unity is a key ingredient in quelling the crime crisis.
"It's just we as a people in Jamaica need to really find harmony and try to unite," he said. "We need unity cause nothing progressive a go come out of this weh we a do."
Speaking of unity, the Hold You singer has teamed up with dancehall artiste Maestro Don to host One Way Wednesdays at Bayside in Portmore, St Catherine. While Gyptian was raised in rural St Andrew, it was in Bayside that he won the Star Talent Search competition in 2004 at Ken's Wildflower.
"We started about four or five months now, and it's really about getting the people in Portmore to come out at a central location for a good vibe," said Gyptian.
The Magnum STAR Live series is sponsored by Magnum Xplosion, Konka Energy Drink and Spotlight and Flawless Productions.