Songs and slangs go hand in hand - Selectors say catchy phrases are part of an artiste’s image
From Potential Kidd's 'A yah so nice' to Alkaline's 'Oosh' or Popcaan's 'Whoyoii' or 'Dem dead', dancehall artistes have become well-known for their ability to coin catchy phrases to help them express themselves.
Like an artiste's fashion choice, these phrases often become synonymous with the artiste, making them identifiable and adding to their overall image.
Pointing out that slangs and songs go hand in hand, a few popular selectors told THE STAR that these popular phrases are more than just 'catchy expressions'; they are part of an artiste's entertainment package.
"Slangs a di talks weh people use in the streets and it goes with the music. In music, it is a form of identification, a signature, a stamp of approval," said selector Ikel Marvlus. "If an artiste can show say a dem say 'rae', from yuh hear dem a sing dem, the first thing weh must come to yuh mind a him slang dem. An artiste can nuh have nuh song innu, but him have a slang and ... him still wi run the place how long innu."
The popular selector expressed that artistes with slangs usually make a bigger impact on their fans as the streets become more connected to them.
"When an artiste have a slang, dem make a mark inna di business pan a different level. Him make fi him signature and people a go always talk bout him or remember him when dem a use the phrase a road. It's part of the image and it's a part of keeping the artiste current," he said drawing on Tanto Blacks, now known as Real Rich, as reference.
Marvlus said that even though the entertainer has not been very active on the music scene recently, if he were to grace any stage today, once he utters 'real rich', the crowd would become captivated in an instant.
Selector Boom Boom said slangs play a big role in dancehall as most top artistes have at least "Dem run road wid".
"It goes with the territory of music. When people catch on to a particular expression, it get the people more familiar with an artiste and dem help keep the artiste relevant even when dem music not so hot anymore," he said. "Just like how an artiste carefully put himself together and know say image is everything, slangs are part of that image. When you hear 'trouble deh deh', one person comes to mind, likewise when yuh hear 'bingylingyling' one person comes to mind. It's just another part of the entertainment package."
He added that while an artiste coins the phrases, selectors play a huge role in helping to popularise them.
He explained that with selectors having more interaction with people in the streets, their endorsement is very important.
"We as selectors normally endorse the slang dem and so di people dem automatically start identifying an artiste with a particular slang. A we get the word out in the streets and help push di slang dem," he said.