'Dancehall is not thriving' - Billboard reggae journalist disagrees with public view
Renowned Billboard journalist Pat Meschino refutes the claims that the dancehall genre is thriving, despite many international pop stars collaborating with and sampling music of local recording artistes.
"I would not use the word thriving, it is too strong for where dancehall is right now. The 1990s thrived, the early to mid-2000s thrived, 2018 - not thriving," Meschino told THE STAR.
Meschino had been on the island to participate in the Jamaica Music Conference.
The journalist of 28 years said that she was exposed to reggae as a child and started to explore more into the realm of dancehall in the late 1980s, making mention to music specifically of deejays like Super Cat, Shabba Ranks, Flourgon and Admiral Bailey.
The music of artistes from that era utilised a different style and format.
She said, "Listening to then versus dancehall now, it's called the same genre but the beats now are so much different from what they used back then."
She added that, "Maybe what most persons define as dancehall sounded like one drop in the very beginning, then a synthesised kind of one drop, until it moved into a version a little different from that and a phase where it seems like soca had a bigger influence on it. And now Afrobeat is borrowing from dancehall, and vice versa."
She said that the misconception that dancehall is thriving in mainstream markets like the US may come from that fusion of the genres, which might see some persons identifying Afrobeat as dancehall, and also its popularity among the entertainers' circles whether locally or on the international level.
"I think we have not seen any dancehall artiste come from Jamaica in several years that has had that impact in the international market like a Shaggy, Sean Paul or Shabba back in the day," she said. "I would love to see bigger things happen for the younger generation of dancehall artistes like Popcaan ... and I feel like for whatever reasons unknown to us he cannot travel to the US, and that is an impediment there, the huge US market is needed."
Meschino said that any kind of movement to push dancehall in a direction where it can thrive should be spearheaded in the international arena on a level where the artistes utilise the platform to elevate dancehall's following.
"It's not like the unredeemable state. Time has moved on, people get into different things at different times," she said.