June 15, 2009
Star Entertainment

'Shebada nuh bigger than dancehall'
Sadeke Brooks, Staff Reporter

Keith 'Shebada' Ramsay. - File photo

Renowned selector Ricky Trooper says dancehall was being disrespected when an article was published claiming that popular actor Keith 'Shebada' Ramsay is bigger than the dancehall industry.

"Shebada nuh reach Europe. Him nuh reach no level fi dem seh him bigger than dancehall. A big disrespect," Ricky Trooper told THE STAR.

"Shebada caan fly Jamaica banner. Shebada will never be as big as Beenie Man, Mavado, Bob Marley or even Usain Bolt."

Trooper was addressing an article that was published in another newspaper recently. The article was also seen on the Web.

In that story, producer Bunny Allen, head of Stages Production, said: "No artiste can do that, they cannot pull the audience that Shebada is able to pull - no Richie Stephens, no Beres Hammond, none ah them caan pull the audience. If yu tek up Bounty, Kartel, Mavado and put dem inna a venue on the same night as Shebada, that event would be empty."

Allen was basing his argument on the fact that Shebada in Bashment Granny Two and Delcita from Money Worries reportedly drew a crowd of 13,000 people at the Cable and Wireless Golf Academy a few weeks ago. In addition, he said Bashment Granny Two was sold out when it was held at Mas Camp.

"Which dancehall artiste do that?" Allen questioned.

music superstars

Ricky Trooper

But Trooper said dancehall artistes have done even better.

"Thousands of people in Japan, Europe and Australia don't know Shebada. Why dem haffi draw dancehall through the gutter all de while," said Trooper.

He commended Shebada for being able to pull big crowds, however "A play can only run for a while. Which person a go see Shebada this month and go back a de same venue next month fi go see him do the same thing."

Dancehall artistes, he said, are able to pull crowds all the time because they will always be releasing new material. Trooper also noted that most people around the world will not be able to understand what Shebada says while he is acting. With dancehall, however, even people who do not speak English sing along to dancehall and reggae songs, Trooper argued.

Dancehall artiste Kiprich, describing the 'Shebada bigger than dancehall' statement as "madness", shared a similar view. He said that dancehall produces fresh acts and fresh material everyday, whereas the actor does the same set(s) every staging of whatever play he is in. "Jamaican people interested in new things so dem wi go out fi see him a one or two time cuz it new to dem fi see a man a gwaan dem type a way deh, but after dem see it a few times dat's it," the deejay said.

"Dancehall generate crowd everyday. Everyday there is a dance from Monday to Monday and dem pack, Hot Mondays and everything. Shebada caan do him thing everyday and pull the crowd."


The deejay went further, saying that it was "very disrespectful" to compare Shebada to music stalwarts such as Richie Stephens and Beres Hammond.

Lester Gayle, of DBG music and road manager for dancehall trio One Third, also weighed in on the matter in an e-mail sent to this newspaper.

"The fact is Shebada's popularity is just regulated to the small Jamaican or West Indian sects abroadÉout of our ethnic groupings, Shebada is lost and dancehall is global" he wrote. Gayle also pointed to the corporate support that dancehall has received in recent years, with industries reaching for artiste to market their products. This, he says, is another indication of how mammoth and influential the industry is.

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