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'Nuh Seh Nuttin' - Dancehall culture changes street speech

Teino Evans, Staff Reporter

Ity (left) and Fancy Cat. - file photos

Dancehall culture is always changing and its players have in recent times been watching carefully what they say, where they say it and how they say it.

Artistes are now under increasing pressure to pay special attention to their lyrics.

Orville Hall of Dance Xpressions says that it difficult for dancehall slangs to make it to the mainstream and if they do, it is not without controversy.

"A dem, di same artiste dem an inner-city yout dem come up wid di talk dem, like 'police come suck wi off' an now dem a lick out 'gainst it."

Forbidden talk

Hall says there has also been an entire shift in culture, and even everyday talk that was common, has become forbidden.

"Shelly from Dance Xpressions a tell Spragga one day sey a sistren from di group dying to meet yuh, an Spragga sey mi nuh deal wid dying, a strictly living an wi nuh deal wid meat a strictly vegetable. Suh Shelly haffi change up ar argument an sey one girl inna di group a live fi vegetable yuh," Hall explained.

The reality has hit comedic duo, Ity and Fancy Cat many times as they play host inside of the Asylum nightclub.

On P's and q's

According to Ity, "Di yout dem inna di dancehall culture constantly haffi deh pon dem ps and qs when dem a talk. Right now when mi a host inna di club mi haffi a watch wa mi a sey."

"Perfect example, last week mi deh inna di club an mi have di cordless mic an mi si di red light come on an mi sey to di yout sey mi a guh need a battery."

Needless to say, Ity never managed to live down that one.

However, Ity also confessed that on another occasion, they had to be escorted from the club when they unleashed one of their comedic pieces inside the Asylum.

"Mi did a highlight songs wey have some lines wey mi call 'mistakes', cause if di artiste dem coulda do it ova, dem wouldn't sey certain things. Suh mi play Beenie Man song wey him a sey, 'How can I make love to a fellow, in a rush, pass mi di keys to ma truck...Mi play a Sanchez, an Super Cat have one to, but when wi reach Bounty, wi couldn't find none fi Bounty an mi sey, 'Bounty Killa pon di borda line,' an a bare excitement inna di club, an people vex an a sey a eediat ting," Ity recalled.

Adding, "dem rail up yuh nuh, but Killa have a respec nuh matta which part inna di dancehall, all when dem know sey a joke wi a mek."

Galdeville and Galtego-Bay

Busy Signal - file

Ity says, "A jus di culture an people accept di exchange, suh like people cyan sey 'I'm gay' dem haffi sey 'I'm happy' an wi cyan sey

'Mandeville', wi haffi sey 'Galdeville' suh wi jus in a culture where certain things cannot be said. 'Cause all di odda day mi guh Island Grill an mi order a number two an a man a shout an a sey Ity, a wah dat, an wi cyan even sey 'yow mi a come' again, wi haffi sey 'yow mi a forward.' Di whole ting jus get mad yah now."

Busy Signal, the man who refuses to call the number '2' and sang 'testing 1,3, mi naw test 2 what about you', says, some slangs are creative, but others are 'serious' issues.

"As far as the words go like Galdeville and Galtego-Bay is just fun. No one from a different country naw go come off the plane and ask for directions to Galtego-Bay, so is just fun," he said.

"...But as far as the number '2' goes that is very serious and it is not a fun thing. When you look at it, 2 is the only number between 1-9 that cannot multiply. Like 3 plus 3 equal 6 and 3 times 3 equal 9 and that goes for the other numbers except 2. 2 plus 2 equal 4 and 2 times 2 is the same 4 and you should get more. So is the same way that two man cannot multiply and two woman cannot multiply. Something is just wrong with the number," he continued.

Busy says the reason most people shy away from using certain terms, was, again, for homophobic reasons.

"Jamaica is really homophobic and that's just it. These slangs is we come up with it and the streets endorse it and we grateful for that because we're making our mark. We nuh want the youths a watch no "Queer as Folk" and think say dat normal. As far as words like 'come' and dem ting deh, no man nuh wan round him friend dem and a talk out 'yes my youth, mi a come', so a just it dat," he concluded.

August 17, 2007

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