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Serious sqabbling - Producers claim ownership of Spiritual War rhythm

Gyptian performing Serious Times at Bling Dawg summer Jam at Folly Oval in Port Antonio, Portland recently. - ian allen staff/photographer

THERE IS CONTROVERSY brewing over who owns the reggae rhythm that has spawned the monster hit, Serious Times by hot new artiste, Gyptian.

"We own the copyright, all they did was make one change, Bongo played the drums, the only change is that they took out the guitar, and get a sax to play in it. We have been in and out of meetings to negotiate it all, but Spragga (Kenneth Wilson) is trying to play hardball", Dale 'Dr. Dizzle' Virgo told THE WEEKEND STAR yesterday.

Dr. Dizzle claims that he and another producer, Kemoy 'Radic ' Rowe did the original rhythm before a twist of circumstances caused Wilson to end up with a copy of their rhythm, after which, he produced Gyptian's Serious Time.

"Me and Radic do the riddim as a demo. We were planning to go back to fix it up again because there were things we wanted to change. We never had a proper congo drum at the time. I used to be a director at APS, a gospel production company. Another director in APS made an arrangement to sell Spragga a cut off the riddim, not the riddim overall, with the agreement not to change, but Spragga misunderstood and that is causing the problem," Dr. Dizzle said.

Dr. Dizzle and Radic own the copyright to the rhythm., and when they heard that 'Spragga' had made changes, they wrote him.

"That was about last year December, I wrote him a notice to cease and desist, I went to Fraud Squad and all that, but the legal system was lame, so that is why we are here today," Dr. Dizzle said.

Subsequent discussions did not resolve the issue, and according to Dr. Dizzle, "JACAP said because (there is) no signed agreement, I cannot do anything, and need a lawyer to pursue it."

'Spragga', when contacted by THE WEEKEND STAR, said that he had spoken to 'Radic', and was in the middle of working out a deal.

"Bongo Herman played the drums on the song, me have rights, Radic have rights, Murphy have rights. Right now, we trying to sort it out, but I am not a thief, it is just a misunderstanding. I bought the rhythm from one of them, the only problem is that I never get no receipt, but I paid for it, and I got Bongo and Tony Greene to play on it," he contended.

When THE WEEKEND STAR contacted JACAP, they were unwilling to comment on the matter, but confirmed that both parties involved were actually members of JACAP.

In the meantime Dr. Dizzle in further explaining the situation said that the rhythm was originally made for a 'Radic' song named Spiritual War, adding "that is why the rhythm is called the Spiritual War rhythm."

"I have three to four gospel songs which I will be releasing on my original rhythm, I plan to put out Radic song, and it just as tough as Serious Times," Dr. Dizzle said.

"We want Spragga to get a fair cut because he produced the Serious Times song; in all fairness, he should get a certain percentage off the Serious Times song, but no matter what, is still my riddim. Bongo have a cut, he played an important part in the riddim, and me and Radic, all of us have publishing rights in it," he said.

"I am fighting the fight for the young producers in the business because this happens to them a lot...," Dr. Dizzle said.

September 30, 2005

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