One of the greatest feelings to be experienced is that which greets you when you return to the land of your birth, the place that made you the individual you are, the nation state that showered you with so many different experiences some can only imagine.  Yes I returned to Jamaica for some R, R and R (rest, relaxation and research) and to  see and spend some time with my family.  However, the excitement that took so long to come to me was shorted lived thanks to custom police officers who decided they wanted a luggage check; claiming they want to search for drugs and guns.  Being the orderly citizen I am I complied and all was going well until the female officer decided to expose all my belongings to the airport and had the audacity to tell me that the next time I am coming home I must not pack.  On top of that, she is going to tell me that she cannot put my clothes anywhere else but on the filthy counters because the country has no money to provide otherwise.  No money, what did that have to do with anything, but then again she got me thinking.  How can a country with so many valuable assets and resources be penniless, then it struck me, those assets aren’t owned by the country and what they cannot possess to sell they fight with petty and unwarranted law.

On my second day, i stepped out of my element, i decided to listen to the news, the lead story was about a number of security guards who were relieved from their jobs from the three Chinese owned sugar factories.  I was appalled, check how far China is from Jamaica yet China owns three sugar factories here.  With that, I decided to check the number of foreign owned entities in the country, that itself was an even greater shocker.  The electricity company’s majority shareholder is from United Arab Emirates, the once booming bauxite industry is one hundred percent Russian owned, the once Jamaican owned flour mill is now American owned, Trinidad and Tobago has majority ownership in Air Jamaica and the list goes on.  With all these revenue earners not being owned by the Jamaican government it begs the question, how does a country that is basically penniless afford to keep afloat and survive any major financial storm?  The answer is simple, it doesn’t.  Jamaica is currently deeper in debt than ever before which is less than comforting based on what lies ahead; the financial crisis does not seem to have an end in sight.  Not because the debt depth is so profound but because the powers that be and the heads of state are failing to see the shine through the storm and make do with the little resources that they do own.

If we step back for a minute and examine the resources that are available to us that we can capitalize on until we can rise back to our feet, we will realize that we have some hidden gems.  The agricultural industry undoubtedly has superior potential but at the moment it is of little use because the financial situation that exists requires immediate response, so until the industry can be up and running we need something more instantaneous; the answer, the Jamaican music industry.  May sound like an echoed story but there is a great level of truth existing within it.  Over the years the music sector of the country has been in turmoil and with each level of success that it enjoys there is a greater level of catastrophe when failure strikes.  However, with the support and push of the state, the music industry will definitely reap success.  This seems only to be a side thought because it has been realized that whatever the government cannot directly manipulate they tend to fight and oppress.  There is no clear line of control over the music and as such the government seems to have no interest in exploring the possibilities of erecting a steady foundation in this domain.

Over the years we have heard talks about the Noise Abatement Act, which seeks to ‘protect’ citizens from the gory and destructive party scenes that they have been being exposed to, thus, implementing a 2:00 cut off time for all parties.  Their line of argument is that parties harbour criminals and are, in essence, a threat to public safety.  I have never seen a minister of the state at any of these places of entertainment.  Their means of entertainment have to be held under the auspices of someone they deem important.  As such, if they are absent from the local scenes, where do they get their information?  The reality is, the entertainment industry, more specifically the music industry, provides citizens with possible employment than the government cares to acknowledge.  Let’s look for a second at the means of employment and businesses that are positively affected by a single party.  Jamaicans are known to be fashionable individuals and as such clothing outlets, in tandem with the beauty services (barbers, hair dressers, nail technicians etc.) are the pre-party beneficiaries.  This is outside of the promotional, public relations and advertising benefits that are aligned to this event.  Bar, lighting, music, stage, and culinary industries all stand to gain because ambiance is comfort and comfort is top priority for promoters.  Attached to these individual entities are individuals who will make an honest bread for their assistance, whether it is that they are carrying sound boxes or they are clearing and preparing the venue for set up.  On the night or day of the event there are additional individuals benefiting.  With the price of gas standing at $125 a litre, few persons are going to want to drive to this event so taxis will be out in their numbers and if you brave the petrol monster and drive to the party, the hustlers who provide parking space and oversee the security of your vehicles are going to ‘eat a food’ as well.  Outside and inside the venue there are vendors who stand to make their cut whether it is the peanut man, the horn man, the weed man, the variety sales man (selling from a lighter to a stick of gum) the jerk man or the flags man.  These individuals all prepare and wait for each event to peddle their wares and enjoy the party vibes as well.  This is simply on the basis of one event, now multiply that by the 50+ parties that are held island-wide in a single day and further multiply that by the 7 days of the week that you find such parties be held and see the direct flow of employment that is readily available.

Now, with the absence of parties and the early cut off time that the government is supporting, how do they plan to cater to the every need of these individuals whose mouth they are boxing food from?  These are only few of the individuals who stand to suffer if the government fails to give a damn. The reality of life is that though you may never be in attendance and you may not directly stand to gain from these ventures, it should not mean that you must stop the progress that you were so highly supportive of during your election campaigns.  The entertainment industry provides jobs you cannot ‘afford’ to so why are you not in support of it and its many events?  Pioneers and advocates alike have been pleading with the heads of state to arrive at a compromise to make things work but they fail to see the bigger picture, worse, they fail to even listen.

Listen to the Voices

Junior Reid

INTRO

I was alone

With no hope of salvation

I held out my hands

And the rain fell

And as the waters held me close

I remembered you

VERSE 1

Old men

Your race is run

Think it’s over but it’s only begun

Child is born who has to face

The world you are living it’s a dangerous place

CHORUS
Listen to the voices

Crying to be free

Can we be the promise that we promised to be

Love and understanding are better than war

People just laughing because they heard it before

VERSE 2
Night chills in plenty towns

Cardboard hotels they sleep on the ground

Our choices are to respond

Withered roses with a duct hell or ranch

CHORUS

Listen to the voices

Crying to be free

Can we be the promise that we promised to be

Love and understanding are better than war

People just laughing because they heard it before
Listen to the voices

So easy to ignore

Choruses of old folks care to open the door

Living in the shadows dying in the cold

Inner city jungle ain’t no place to grow old

VERSE 3
Helpless will never be

True justice is so hard to see

Kindness is that same old song

Don’t stop singing there’s so much strength and kindness

So much strength and kindness

 

CHORUS

Listen to the voices

Crying to be free

Can we be the promise that we promised to be

Love and understanding are better than war

People just laughing because they heard it before

Listen to the voices

So easy to ignore

Choruses of old folks care to open the door

Living in the shadows dying in the cold

Inner city jungle ain’t no place to grow old

OUTRO

Yow it’s like a jungle out there

You know what I’m sating

Aint no doubt about it

You know what I’m saying

The race is long

So just hold on strong you know what I mean

SONG ENDS

Naa Fight Di Law

Vybrant

Journey Riddim

UIM Records

 

INTRO

Yow Andrew Blacks

A wonder if dem know seh dancehall a one a Jamaica main source of income

So why a di likkle island dem a try bring dung

Hey yow Dinero

Seh when sound man fi play mi no see squaddy

Him and him friend dem a drink rum up a Liguanea

VERSE 1
Three jeep drive out from the station

Lock off di dance and send home every patrons

All when mi show mi permit dem still a draw allegation

Wah dis a gwaan ina mi nation

Dancehall a nuff youth occupation

So when yu fight dancehall yu implement sufferation

Memba we a Jamaican likewise di Bajans

Wi love di celebration

CHORUS
Officer we naa fight di law

So use yu discretion

No bada lock off di session

Cause dancehall is what we know

From wi lili bit a grow

Officer we naa fight di law

So use yu discretion

No bada lock off di session

Cause dancehall is what we know

From wi lili bit a grow

VERSE 2
And officer mi mash up mi paadna money

And mi no know when mi a go get another money

And memba mi son a look fi father money

And if di dance shot mi gi mama money

But have some regards fi di peanut cart

Di chicken and di cane man pan di sidewalk

An who a look spot fi di car dem park

Jah know yu greak dem heart

CHORUS
Officer we naa fight di law

So use yu discretion

No bada lock off di session

Cause dancehall is what we know

From wi lili bit a grow

Officer we naa fight di law

So use yu discretion

No bada lock off di session

Cause dancehall is what we know

From wi lili bit a grow

Talking

li li listen mi young man don’t play a next one

Lock it off right now right now right now

Everything over right right right right right now

Jah know star

Yow people see weh mi a tell unu star say fi come out early

See weh mi a talk bout star unu a mash up dancehall

Kaa unu know we a get a fight

 

CHORUS
Officer we naa fight di law

So use yu discretion

No bada lock off di session

Cause dancehall is what we know

From wi lili bit a grow

Officer we naa fight di law

So use yu discretion

No bada lock off di session

Cause dancehall is what we know

From wi lili bit a grow

Dem say Noise Abatement Act

2:00 dance a lock off unu come out early come support man dance brethren

Yow Jah know star

But officer mi naa fight di law

SONG ENDS

Criminal and crime, let us talk about them for a few.  The government with their many acts and bills is still failing to curtail the high crime level that is plaguing the country.  Now if they think that criminals are ever present at these events wouldn’t it be the best idea to have them there where they can keep an eye on them while beefing up security to ensure that they can be kept in check?  That is what I would do, but then again what do I know and who am I that my ideas should count?  I am a regular citizen who knows that 95% of the persons who attend these parties go solely to enjoy themselves and to get away from the harsh realities that they would have been facing at the opportune time of these events.  If criminals indeed attend these events then that means that they are not out ‘and about partaking in their usual criminal activities now are they, so why would you want to cut or reduce the time in which you know crime is possibly down to its lowest on any given day; makes sense? Not to me it doesn’t.

My first party back on the island was the weekly Pepperseed held at Pulse8 on Trafalgar Road.  Never mind that some persons would consider this an UPT (uptown) event, there was a mixture within the crowd; mainly due to the absence of an admission cost.  The vibe the music brought had me nostalgic but happy because this is a sight I rarely happen upon outside of the island.  You could not have believed that these individuals live in a society where a loaf of bread is almost $300.  This is how the realities of life are escaped on a daily basis.  Why would the government want to take the last ounce of control that the people really have away? Why?

In the words of the great Mark Myrie aka Buju Banton, ‘music is a mission not a competition’.  Until the powers that be realize the wealth behind this priceless piece of culture, they will forever stand without the support of the people they were elected to serve.  Music is the greatest cure that the father has made available to man; second in line only to prayer.  So I say to the government and all subsidiaries directly linked to this sector of the society, release the cure and give people the gift of life.

Kyaa Lock Off Di Dance

Assassin Aka Agent Sasco

INTRO

Jah know it come in like joke ting mi haffi laugh star

So weh yu a say bartender liquor all sell off and everything (yep)

Laugh den no

Alright promoter weh yu a say yu money done mek and everything (iihn)

Laugh no

Si dem a drive way deh

Kyaa lock off di dance

Laugh no

 

CHORUS 1
Alright, wi no business bout 2 o’clock, dem kyaa lock off di dance
Mi a dance, mi no care who a stop, dem kyaa lock off di dance
Yow no tell mi bout yu hear no gunshot, dem kyaa lock off di dance

Yow si we permit yah, wi done chat, dem kyaa lock off di dance

VERSE 1
Stage show ramma dan di million march
Gyal dem come out, hot till dem a scorch
Inna belly skin, mini skirt, batty rider shorts
Whole place a lock wi see lighter an torch
Inna di club Crystal Perion a pop off
Dance floor ram an every corner lock off
Weed man have dem marijuana stash off
Selecta have di record a scratch off

CHORUS 2
Two big sound full up di compound, dem kyaa lock off di dance
Wi a spend Jamaican, US an Pound, dem kyaa lock off di dance
Den a coulda hilltop or even downtown, kyaa lock off di dance

Is like an earthquake, bass line shake di crowd, kyaa lock off di dance

VERSE 2
Den remember verse one
Nuff people reach now but wi was di first one
Deh deh from jerky a set up di jerk pan
Mi say “oh jerky! to make money wi know dat’s your plan!”
Guardie a search man
Parking lot ram up like a dozen world tran
Mek mi si yuh hand if mi big up your clan
Mek mi si TG, Southside, Rema, Firehouse, Papine, an Kirk man

CHORUS 3
Coulda class party or a school fete, dem kyaa lock off di dance
Coulda big sound or a component set, dem kyaa lock off di dance
Wi a rave till whole a we clothes soak wid sweat, dem kyaa lock off di dance
Si dem a come deh, but promoter no fret, dem kyaa lock off di dance

VERSE 3
When vibes a gwaan nice dem want it stop, so dem waa lock off di dance
All ova lime key weh wi reach wid di yatch an dem waa lock off di dance
When a carnival time all di road dem block, an dem kyaa lock off di dance
Si di soupy not even pull di soup pot, an dem waa lock off di dance

Repeat CHORUS 1

 

Yow Yow Yow

Dem kyaa lock off di dance

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