We are in the fourth month of 2015 but if the year should end now, there have already been enough events to make talking points for a solid 2015 year in review.  The most recent event occurred this week, April 5-11 and the tongues are and will definitely be wagging.  On April 8th the 44th President of the United States made a stop in Jamaica on his way to the Seventh Summit of the Americas in Panama.  I am sure the first time a US president, Ronald Reagan, visited the island in 1982 there weren’t so many mixed feelings. The ‘Obama Effect’ started even before he set foot on the island and will be long-lived years after.  Genuinely, I have little emotions and views surrounding his visit because I am not a political person and I know little about the man himself to be moved by his visit.  Most of what I know is what I have been fed by the media, of whom I am very sceptical.  However, what I do know and what is definite is that I have a lot of respect for the man himself because he undertook a weighted mantle burdened by historical significance; the most notable being him becoming the first black president.  As such, he has my respect for carrying all that weight often with a smile.  This entry, being my first for 2015 is not a memoire of or for Mr. President but the shit storm, no fault of his, that has being hovering since the revelation of his visit.

There are many points on which I could base a book but the ones I will discuss here are centred on the nature of the hypocrisy that exists in society; most notable the Jamaican society.  The initial is the most salient of any point I could ever raise; the Jamaican Government really does not care about the people they are elected to serve.  This is my opinion and I will forever stick to it until I see otherwise.  This longstanding view is strengthened ever so often but in the week leading up to ‘The Visit’ it was samsonized.  Politicians forever speak of their inability to satisfy and effectively address many of the concerns that Jamaicans genuinely have because the budget does not and cannot support it.  In that regard, whenever an issue is raised they see it as an opportunity to ‘dig out poor people eye’ by taxing everything they possibly can.  After these taxes are levied, the problems still go unaddressed, so where does the money go? I am not even going to attempt to provide an answer.  One of the ever-arising concerns is that of the deplorable condition of the nation’s roads.  In 2009 the then administration introduced a gas tax that skyrocketed the already high gas prices and simultaneously floored the motorized public and brought pedestrians to a standstill.  The tax was said to be used to improve the nation’s thoroughfares but they have only gotten worse. ZERO IMPROVEMENTS.  However, in the week before ‘the Visit’ roads were repaved, not even patched, repaved!  But yu neva see smoke widout fire, because those roadways given attention were those in the vicinity of the route of the presidential convoy.  Why – Why pretend? Where – Where did the money come from to initiate the pretence?  Most importantly, What – What new taxes should the people of Jamaica envision to cover the cost of this magic?  To subtly put it, it is very sad!

My biggest grouse is not the first point I raised, neither will it be the last one I will raise but it’s my second point!  In the government’s ploy to impress Obama, they decided to distress the already distressed.  Along the stretch of Marescaux Road in Kingston there were stalls from which citizens of the surrounding areas vend their goods as their source of income.  However, in the week before ‘The Visit’, the Kingston & St. Andrew Corporation, an agency of the state, decided to demolish these stalls.  No relocation, simply demolition.  So when the livelihood of these people is turned upside down, literally, what message is being sent?  I don’t want to the president to see you? Enough is enough? Go find something else to do? Go rob and steal? Go sit and be idle? This is my favourite –  go home to your children and tell them that as of today mommy and daddy will not be able to put food on the table?  I have no idea (well actually I have several) what the government was thinking with this ‘initiative’!  The reality however is this, lives were affected and the effect may not be immediate but they will surface.  I have a silly question though, can this move have any potential effect on the country’s already high crime rate?  If yes, are your telling me that the government is contributing to the country’s crime rate? Should I then understand that the government comprises criminals?  Who will protect us from these criminals? Again, to put it subtly, it is very sad!

Title: Ina Real Life

Artiste: Vershon

Riddim: Sounds of the Heart

Year: 2015

 

INTRO

Kwef dem

Cashflow

One Vershon ina real life
One Vershon pan di version

VERSE 1
Dem say me nah buss weh
Dat me hear nuf say
Me fi stay weh di cruffs deh
Dem try every little thing fi try stop the success
Although the road rugged and ruff me no give up

CHORUS
The amount a struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life

Ina real life
A pray man a pray and a gwaan
Hold the faith ina real life, ina real life
The amount a struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life ina real life
Nuff used to say me naa reach no weh
But still man de ya a survive

VERSE 2
Well

Nuff see me smile no know me life unhappy
More while a little rice and Mackerel
Still me hold the faith and a call pan Selassie
Kaa fi mek it ina life me know man hafi
People might see me a smile
And believe seh everything fine
A just tru dem kyaa see the inside
More while man haffi thug it out
When hungry a twist tripe
Cause life it rocky like a hill ride

CHORUS
The amount a struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life

Ina real life
A pray me a pray and a gwaan
Hold the faith ina real life, ina real life
The amount a struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life ina real life
Nuff used to say me naa reach no weh
But still me a survive

VERSE 3

More while me haffi sidung and a wonder
How the wicked gone tru

And good people stuck and kyaa move
More while likl breda likl sister kyaa go a school
Mommy stress sometime she confuse
Mi hafi wonder why life so hard
Nutten naa change although we try so hard, ye
Sometime me feel fi give up
Me really feel fi give up
Me a beg yu a bligh oh lord

CHORUS
Cause di struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life

Ina real life
A pray me a pray and a gwaan
Hold the faith ina real life, ina real life
The amount a struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life ina real life
Nuff used to say me naa reach no weh
Dutty badmind

Repeat VERSE 2
Well

Nuff see me smile no know me life unhappy
More while a little rice and Mackerel
Still me hold the faith and a call pan Selassie
Kaa fi mek it ina life me know man hafi
People might see me a smile
And believe seh everything fine
A just tru dem kyaa see the inside
More while man haffi thug it out
When hungry a twist tripe
Cause life it rocky like a hill ride

CHORUS
The amount a struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life

Ina real life
A pray me a pray and a gwaan
Hold the faith ina real life, ina real life
Struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life ina real life
Nuff used to say me naa reach no weh
But still me a survive

Struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life

Ina real life
Pray me a pray and a gwaan
Hold the faith ina real life, real life
Struggles weh me face
Man hafi give thanks
Ina real life ina real life
Nuff used to say me naa reach no weh
(laughs)

OUTRO

Words of encouragement

We all were born to live

So doh live because you were born

Real life

ooooo

yea yea

Title: Look on my Face

Artiste: Christopher Martin

Riddim: Brighter Days

Year: 2014

 

INTRO

Ohh hooo

o ho hoo

heey

heey

weh mi de yah

Jah won’t leave me for an inch

Anything you want just call on him

VERSE 1
Got a big bright smile but my days are dark

Hungry til I can barely walk

ohh hooo

Don’t watch the look on my face

no no

Doh have no food and my cupboards dry

Only God knows how I get by

Oh hoo

Don’t watch the look on my face

No

VERSE 2
She’s the sweetest thing that you ever seen

Selling her body wasn’t in her dreams

No ooh

Don’t watch the look on her face

no

No because we have a pleasant look

If you no know the story don’t judge the book

Please don’t know watch the look on my face

No

CHORUS
Even though I smile

it is only for a while

Tears could fill the river Nile

But I sweep my troubles underneath my pride

Yes am gonna smile

Though it’s only for a while

Till my worries subside

I sweep my troubles underneath my pride

Heeey yah

Tell you me deh yah

Jah won’t leave you for an inch

Anything you want just call on him

A say heeey yah

Tell you me deh yah

Friend you a look look to him

He will never ever leave you thick or thin

VERSE 3
You think everything cool tru mi look polite

Nutten no good nutten doh alrite

Doh doh watch the look on my face

So when you feel like stop just don’t give up

You have life so just gwaan look up

Jah alone knows the look on my face

So while I smile my heart cries

No one knows the pain I feel inside

Please don’t doh watch the look on my face

No

CHORUS
Even though I smile

it is only for a while

Tears could fill the river Nile

But I keep my troubles underneath my pride

Yes am gonna smile

Though it’s only for a while

Till my worries subside

I sweep my troubles underneath my pride

Heeey yah

Tell you me deh yah

Jah won’t leave you for an inch

Anything you want just call on him

A say heeey yah

Tell you me deh yah

Friend you a look look to him

He will never ever leave you thick or thin

Never oh never

Never oh never

Doh doh watch the look on my face

Never oh never

Don’t you ever

No

Don’t you judge me by the look on my face

Even though I smile

it is only for a while

Tears could fill the river Nile

But I keep my troubles underneath my pride

Yes am gonna smile

Though it’s only for a while

Till my worries subside

I sweep my troubles underneath my pride

Song Ends

Now, as if ‘the Visit’ was not stirring enough, a few Jamaican musicians decided to create a shit storm of their own by opening their mouths – how hygienic!  Mommy and Daddy always say to me, “Junior, it is better to keep your mouth shut and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubts”!  This is a guiding principle that I think I will lend many of these artistes.  It is already tragic that people think musicians are stupid, why would you give them ammunition to boost their foolery?  What exactly am I speaking of?  In the days leading up to ‘The Visit’, a number of musicians saw it fit to give their thoughts on the president’s visit.  Now this wasn’t a vox pop so they were freely giving their opnions, hence the reactions to what they say have to be absorbed with grace.  A few seemed elated and welcoming but one of the most talked about artiste presently didn’t seem to share the same sentiments.  Chronixx took to social media to say that Jamaicans are so excited about the president’s visit yet Marcus Garvey still has a criminal record in his country.  His comment has introduced him to the reality of how quickly reigns fall.  Chronixx has known nothing but good publicity since he emerged on the scene in 2010  to the extent of people dubbing him the next Bob Marley.  However, I think many people are rethinking such a claim.  What drew the ire of the public was not the comment in its entirety nor the fact that he chose to give one but him deciding to refer to the president as a waste man.

 “This man… still have a criminal record in the United States and we glorifying some wasteman! This man was hunted and imprisoned by our Jamaican Government… who for some years paved a peaceful and safe path for the president to address us a “race of good for nothings!!! [inserts fire emoticon] that’s why black faces don’t meant anything to rasta anymore.”

Those were the words that accompanied a picture on Marcus Garvey on his social media page.  Now, is the public being too harsh on him? No!  Should be excused for his comment? No!  Should he be prepared for the repercussions? Yes

The issue that people have is his choice of words.  Would it be okay for me had he used a different word? No!  Here is my reasoning.  Over the years rastafarians in the music industry have been some of the most outspoken individuals against the injustice that exists in society, most of their music is the embodiment of such opinions.  These words they put to riddim have given strength to many people and have given a voice to people who in other cases would have none.  But the issue I have is that many members of the Rastafarian faith are too radical.  If you check the history of the Reggae and Dancehall artistes who have moved to the Rastafarian faith you will notice that their music has changed.  Their ideologies are somewhat more stern but with a lot more venom.  They start to bash and burn most things in society which, again, I have an issue with because you can be radical without being disrespectful.  With this transformation they then are making other members of the faith seem as though they share their opinions.  I know people who are rastafarians and they will be quick to tell you that they aren’t in support of nor do they share many of these other rastafarians’ views.

In some sense, their rage can be understood because rastafarians had to endure their own share of burden in the onset of the declaration of Rastafarianism.  Many individuals considered them the scums of society because of their culture and everything they stood for.  However, during that period the music was never that vile and harsh, quite frankly, the music around that period expressed their views and opinions in the calmest and most modest way you can imagine.

Many rastafarians say they are speaking for the people but are they really?  Chronixx is known for quality music and good vibes but why step on the toes of those who have been in your corner from inception?  We always say that we musn use one man fat fry another but do we really live that adage?  It might be a possibility that Obama isn’t even aware of the record that exists for Marcus so why crucify and blame him for his predecessors’ actions?  Musicians don’t seem to think sometimes before they talk, I guess they like the taste of foot!  They criticise, sometimes unnecessarily, the people on whom their bread and butter depend.  Just recently Chronixx performed on nightly primetime TV in the US to promote his EP. If the president is a waste man, what is his country and what does that make Chronixx for deciding to perform there? To put it subtly, a hypocrite!

Musicians, your words are like food, people love them but it doesn’t mean that they will like and or swallow everything you say without complaining.  I think sometimes they fail to realize that bad publicity for them is bad publicity for the country.  Obama visited Jamaica and even took time out of his schedule to meet with the young leaders of the country; a venture which yielded many benefits.  The president made an investment of US 75 million dollars to education in the country, in addition to launching energy and education programs in the Caribbean.  Are we to say no thanks, keep your money, and do what afterwards?  The sins of the parents are not the sins of the child!

I am glad to see that Chronixx’s fellow musicians are reprimanding and scolding him for his actions. However, some seem to embrace him and jump to his defence, saying how di public a rain judgement down pan a youth for talking his mind!  Youth does not excuse stupidity! When I was young my parents didn’t embrace my rudeness?  If you don’t want to take responsibility for your actions then think before you speak.

‘The Visit’ was never meant to create such drama but the fact that it did, to put it subtly, is very sad!

Title: Burn Dem Bridge

Artiste: I Octane

Year: 2011

 INTRO

Yo Ninja Kid
Jah kno star
Yeah, mm yeah yeah
Mm yeah yeahh mmmmm ohh whooaa
Yeah
Stephen
Mmmmmmm yo Big Ship
Yow

VERSE 1
Some bwoy
Dash weh dem stick before dem cross di water
Vanity dem boy deh fall fah
Buck up ina things they never ask the Lord fah
It’s not a laughing matter

Stephen.
Ungratefulness cause disaster
Pay fi everything weh dem mek wi baal fah
Out of wi tings we work so hard fah
Gi dem anything dem ask fah

CHORUS
And dem burn dem bridge
Burn dem bridge burn
Burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn (burn)
Hey Stephen,
Some boy burn dem bridge
Tell yu seh
Dem burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn,
Burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn (burn)
Hey Big Ship, some boy burn dem bridge
Yeah eh

VERSE 2
Pull dem out when dem knot up
Buss dem and dem promise yu

Tell you seh dem naa cut
Dem turn round put salt in your raw cut
Tell yu put yu guards up
Kaa
They will try fi hurt yu
Ashes and dirt yu
Just like how di Lord a work
So di devil work too
That’s why

CHORUS
Dem burn dem bridge
Burn dem bridge burn
Burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn (burn)
Hey Stephen,
Some boy burn dem bridge
Tell yu seh
Dem burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn,
Burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn (burn)
Hyah Slice some boy burn dem bridge
Yeah eh

[Verse 3:]
Stephen dem diss yu
So yu gi dem rope with length
Now dem a hope fi yu strength
Kaaz dem a reminisce when yu used to kick back
And run a boat pon di endz.
Eagle-eyed dem kyaa get that again (kyaa get that again)
Dem kyaa get that again
Mi headback dem kyaa lock again
Ungrateful dog is not yu friend

CHORUS
Cause dem burn dem bridge
Burn dem bridge burn
Burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn (burn)
Hey Genius,
Some boy burn dem bridge
Tell yu seh
Dem burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn,
Burn dem bridge burn dem bridge burn (burn)
Hey Stephen some boy burn dem bridge
Yeah eh

OUTRO
Mmmm
(Burn dem bridge, burn dem bridge) mmmmmm
Stephen
Yeah
Steeeeephen
Mmmmmmmmm mmmm
Yo Stephen
(Some bwoy burn dem bridge)
Some bwoy,
Dash weh dem stick before dem cross di water

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