STAR of the Month: Agent Sasco wants balance in dancehall
There is a view that dancehall music is only touching the topics of sex and dance in recent times, and in effect is influencing the growth or death of the genre.
Agent Sasco is a Jamaican artiste who has been applauded for his efforts in presenting socially conscious topics within lyrics in tracks such as Idiot Ting Dat, Talk How Mi Feel, and Same Thing Again, among others.
When the 34-year-old lyricist was asked if he believes that dancehall has become its own enemy he responded, "There is some truth to that, but in so many years the defence was that it is art reflecting life. And there is also some irresponsibility in that way of thinking, just persons finding a position where you can excuse your responsibility."
The recording artiste has been contributing to the music industry for nearly half his life but still does not think he can be the person to say what dancehall should or shouldn't be.
"You have 17-year-olds now that have an idea of what dancehall should look and sound like. I am not going to be one of the man dem who dictate how fi dem (young artistes) world should look because it is for dem to use how dem see it to come up with material," Agent Sasco told THE STAR.
Nonetheless, he agrees that there is space in dancehall for everything that needs to be discussed. The topics explored could range from food to a man's life story.
"The issue is when there is no balance to it or when it is one-dimensional," he added.
The STAR of the Month emerged in an era when the music was not readily available; you could only listen to various tracks that were played on the radio or juggled for a brief moment by a selector.
He argued that aspiring young artistes and musicians have greater opportunities and accessibility to music from all mediums.
Convinced that both the consumption and the contribution to the genre have resulted in the status it has acquired in society, Agent Sasco encourages the spectators and commentators to look at the business of it as well.
"When you think about the business of it and the influence it has, when a yute who want get into the game tun on him radio and a hear X, X, X, well a dat him a go waan do fi get a likkle radio play too," Agent Sasco said.
"But when you have influence and artistes have influence, then you have to take responsibility for it and understand that you saying something, is not merely you repeating it. And if you present things a certain way, then you are a part of the influence," he continued.
He said that in terms of chastising dancehall, "it is a repeating cycle because Yellowman and Shabba Ranks were (considered) slack for the people before them as well," said Agent Sasco.
"For the sake of Jamaica and future we can only hope that the formation given to them (upcoming artistes) that they can make the right decision," he added.