Home - The Star
January 18, 2013
Star Entertainment


Local artistes make good on presence of int'l stars
Curtis Campbell, STAR Writer

P Diddy (right) and Beenie Man having a conversation during the recently staged 'Bad Boys Clash', held at Lime Light Entertainment Complex, Hagley Park Road on Friday, January 4, 2013. - Winston Sill / Freelance Photographer

Several international artistes have made Jamaica their choice of destination over the past few years, among them, the likes of Ne-Yo, Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg), Busta Rhymes, P Diddy, Pusha T, Gwen Steffani, Eve and Sean Kingston.

During their stay in the island, now classified as a 'cultural superpower', at least one has been converted to the Rastafarian faith, while others have ended up working with Jamaican artistes.

Despite the growing visits, however, the local music industry still lacks that once flourishing international success, as it relates to achieving notable breakthrough collaborations between local and international artistes.

According to reggae/dancehall artiste Spragga Benz, who has successful collaborations with Foxy Brown and MMG Records operated by Rick Ross, the Jamaican artistes should aim for higher standards if they want to be taken seriously by international artistes.

"Many international artistes come here (to Jamaica) as visitors and leave without making an impact aside from Snoop Lion who got into the grass roots and tried to integrate himself with the artistes, but some just party and go. Mi nah judge dem still, maybe them just a scope out things," Spragga Benz said.

He encourages professionalism.

"Local artistes have to improve themselves first then international people will gravitate towards them. But if it is not proper or professional then they might not want to be a part of it. If you look at P Diddy show - 'Making the Band' it's not a play thing, it's like a science. Every artiste in Jamaica should at least strive to be at the level that Shabba Ranks was at Sumfest ... I don't think that I am Mr Networking. But I put my all into what I do and if people see that you are putting out 100 per cent they will work with you," he added.

Spragga Benz

Record producer Seanizzle says the mere fact that international artistes visit local entertainment functions is an indication that they have respect for Jamaican music.

"When they take the time out and chill with us it's good, it shows that they respect our music. I think how we embrace them could be improved, but overall it's a good look ... it's a 50/50 opportunity to get collabs, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It depends on their purpose whether they came to record or not," Seanizzle said.

Up-and-coming reggae/dancehall artiste Melloquence also shares his view on the issue. He believes local music practitioners determine their international success based on their actions.

"It all depends on how wi deal wid the situation. For example, the other day when P Diddy was here mi see certain people behave a certain way that I found disrespectful to the artiste. Mi nuh know if the rapper find it disrespectful, but yu haffi know wey yu a sey when yu a deal wid certain issues on the international scale because they have a different culture from ours. Suh a we must know wey wi a duh," he said.

Since Snoop Lion's visit to Jamaica, he has recorded songs with a few Jamaican artistes, among them, Mavado and Popcaan. Sean Kingston, during his visit to Jamaica, had professed his liking to the deejay style of dancer/deejay Ding Dong and had set plans to sign the artiste to his Time is Money Entertainment' label, however, nothing has developed since.

Dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel also scored a collaboration with Busta Rhymes during his visit to the island in 2010. A collaboration he perhaps would not have achieved if the rapper was not in Jamaica, because Kartel himself could not travel to the US.

In the meantime, however, Spragga Benz is gearing up to release a new reggae album. While Seanizzle is promoting new singles for I-Octane and Charly Black, including a new compilation called the Brain Storm rhythm.

Eve (left) and dancehall artiste Leftside hang out at Fiction Nightclub, Marketplace, recently. - Contributed

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