Baby Cham dropped some knowledge for young dancehall artists on how to improve their stagecraft and got a huge cosign from another legend, Bounty Killer.
To truly compete in the dancehall space, you must have the entire package, and that includes stage presence. According to Baby Cham, it’s not something to be taken lightly. The legendary artist recently took to Instagram to share some advice with new and upcoming dancehall deejays. He shared how diligent he was in preparing for a show.
He made the post alongside a clip of a highly energetic performance.
“TO ALL NEW ARTISTE. You Have To Train Like An Elite Level Athlete In Order To Deliver Your Songs At The Highest Level. I Would Run The Sands At Bull Bay (9 Mile) Every Morning To Get Myself Ready For Tours And Concerts!! TAKE MY ADVICE… HARD WORK THE KEY TO SUCCESS!!” he shared.
Among those showing support for the message was Bounty Killer, who is also known for his strong stage performances. He said, “MAN WICKED,” while dancehall selector Foota Hype added, “Dem better know that.”
In recent years, both new and veteran artists have come under fire from fans for their lack of stage presence when performing. One artist that recently drew the ire of fans is Alkaline. Earlier in the year, in July, following his performance at BRT Weekend in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Bounty Killer seemingly threw shade at the artist.
Following the performance, Bounty Killer took to Instagram to praise Dexta Daps performance, saying, “Took it all way di man use one night tek a whole weekend nobody else did deh pon di show real super star with practical and tactical stage skills,” which many fans felt was in reference to a lackluster performance from Alkaline.
One fan who commented on Cham’s post urged the veteran deejay to share more posts to help new artists understand what is required to become a top-tier deejay in dancehall.
That fan said, “Bredda.. it would be great drop more posts like this. The newcomers have to hear more about the vet’s preparation or creative process. I don’t think we have enough of this going on in Dancehall/Reggae… just like how Kobe chronicled his ‘Mamba mentality’ or even a Lebron.. his worth ethic & preparation is unworldly. Great caption.”
Baby Cham says he was among the first artists to have a song about receiving oral sex from women, something that was taboo in dancehall in the 90s when he released “Boom.”
In a new interview with Roger B Stillz about his album classic WOW, which is celebrating its 21st anniversary, Cham shared the makings behind the album that is arguably among the first songs that rightly promoted oral sex in dancehall.
Baby Cham zeroed in on one of the controversial songs, “Boom,” which was on the album released in 1998, that among the lyrics asked, “A which and which gal have up the boom f*****..a which gal a jump and a say she naa s**k / Right ya now a that run the cut.”
According to Cham, the song came from personal experience.
“From the album wow the story from the beginning…The inspiration came from my personal experiences. The ladies, my babies, they were taking care of me in different ways, you know what I mean. I wasn’t experiencing stuff that the normal 18 year old was experiencing,” he said.
Cham added that although the topic was taboo, it had a major impact.
“Up to today day, it’s one of the biggest dancehall track you know what I mean. It kinda spoke about some things that at that time was taboo and it kinda give the ladies dem dem license, my babies, no ifs, buts or maybes.”
The song’s controversial lyrics were not accepted in dancehall, particularly by the Alliance leader Bounty Killer who lashed out against the “Ghetto Story” artist in the heights of their beef over Baby Cham, making what he felt sounded like a rap album rather than promoting dancehall.
Bounty Killer has always had an issue with such controversial topics as oral sex and nudity in dancehall. The beef between the two artists lasted for over a decade, and only in 2010 did they get back on speaking terms.
Speaking at the time about his motivations for mending fences, Bounty Killer had said he made a conscious decision to clear up the beef with Cham as he wanted to change his image and launch a major comeback for his career.
Dancehall has come full circle since the days of those taboo contents and now fully embrace these topics thanks in part to artists like Vybz Kartel and Alkaline who never shied away from recording full songs solely on these topics.
Sean Paul deconstructs the relationship between Dancehall and Hip Hop/Rap music.
Sean Paul recently appeared on Complex Brackets series, hosted by Brian “B. Dott” Miller to help crown the best Dancehall/Rap song of all time. Despite the interview being featured as a casual game show, the episode highlights some of the most iconic Dancehall/Rap features and collaborations of the last three decades.
Between pitting top Dancehall/Rap songs like Baby Cham‘s “Ghetto Story Chapter. 2” featuring Alicia Keys and the deejay’s “Gimme Di Light” (remix) featuring none other than Busta Rhymes, against each other, the entire segment sparked the conversation of Dancehall as a core music style. This style became popular through many artistes such as himself and ascended to be included on international markets.
On the series, experts/special invitees pick the winners of a themed bracket, in this case, Best Dancehall/Rap Song, until a field of 16 is reduced to the Elite 8, then the Final 4, and a penultimate Championship round to determine the winner of the weekly series. In this interview, Paul speaks about Dancehall’s impact on hip-hop and rap. This brought back sweet ol’ memories for the artiste where he had to face what seems to be the hardest decision of his career…to decide between his mentors, artistes he looked up to, and even his friends.
The singer himself talked about the importance of Dancehall and how it has spread into Rap music. The biggest stars in rap have deep roots in Jamaican music or have had some sort of connection to the island, Sean Paul explained. He has had a prosperous career, but even he must confess that his most popular work has come from the fusion of Dancehall and rap. When asked why rap and Dancehall were such a unique combo, the veteran pointed to Jamaica’s rich history and its effect on performers.
Busta Rhymes & Sean Paul performing “Make It Clap” courtesy @seanpaul
“From the beginnings of rap with Kool Herc and just the connections, the number of artistes that are hip hop artists and are very dope that do have connections to Jamaica — Biggie, Busta Rhymes, Special Ed, Shinehead the whole connection is just day one for me,” Sean Paul said.
Biggie Small, one of the most prolific artists in rap history, is said to be one of the most influenced by Jamaican culture. He was born to Jamaican parents but was born and raised in Brooklyn. In the Netflix series, I’ve Got A Story To Tell, the rapper’s mother talks about his love for Jamaica and their many trips to the island where he would be glued to Uncle Dave, who was also a musician.
Busta Rhymes was also born to Jamaican parents and has done numerous collaborations with various Caribbean artistes. Caribbean rhythms can be heard in many of his tracks. In a 2016 interview, he stated, “My upbringing influences my west Indian cultural significance, way of being raised in my Jamaican environment, the music and the embodiment of the household is who Busta Rhymes became.”
Special Ed and Shinehead, too, were born to Jamaican parents but grew up in the States. Shinehead is credited with one of the first original fusions of hip-hop and reggae.
Musical techniques have also originated in the lands of JamRock. One such method is dubbing, also known as scratching. An instrumental remix of an original song is known as dubbing. It was first popularized in Jamaica through reggae music by the late King Tubby, a Jamaican sound engineer. He was credited as the pioneer of dubbing.
King Tubby developed his talents in the reshuffling process, on bass and rhythm, and this is where Kool Herc, one of Sean’s musical role models, learned his skills. Dubbing gained the interest of urban artistes and became popular in South Bronx. This musical technique gave space for toasting/ emceeing, which later evolved to become known as rapping.
As the game continued, fans can see Sean Paul’s favoritism for dancehall rhythms in songs due to his winning choices. In his defense for choosing Baby Cham’s Ghetto Chapter 2 as the better song twice, he highlighted, “Imma hardcore dancehall activist, you know what I mean? Me a dancehall soulja and when I hear dem riddim tracks deh all over the world, to me, I just want to, you know, that’s what I love and I wanna big that up everytime.”
And big them up he has. Sean Paul has been globalizing his reach since 2008 with songs such as “Top Shotter,” “Gimme Di Light (remix),” “Give It Up to Me,” and “Baby Boy.” He was one of the first Jamaican modern artistes to broaden his reach to bridge the gap between Jamaica and America, therefore between Dancehall and hip-hop.
Sean Paul admitted to his feats when he spoke about his single, “Gimme Di Light.” This was the song that broke him into the international market. He stated, “Off of that song I met people in Roc-A-Fella, Dame Dash wanted to buy the album, big up to Jay-Z.” He also spoke lightly on his collaborations with music stars such as Rihanna, Beyonce, and Nelly.
He is also questioned about his ‘collab-heavy album’ in the series. To this, he explains, “We as Dancehall don’t collab enough. We never get to the back of each other. We always like yeah and we always try to cut each other’s throat and over the years, me toran, it’s been a thing I wanted to do so I started Dutty Rock Productions big time.”
All games come to an end, and in the end, it came down to two tracks: Gimme The Light Remix feat. Busta Rhymes and Baby Cham’s Ghetto Story feat. Alicia Keys, one of which was his own. “Sometimes you have to go back to where you were born, and I was born globally with Gimme The Light,” Paul stated of his choice of track.
“For me, Gimme The Light is the winner.”
He plans to have a 2-year hiatus from his career, but he wants to provide as much music as possible to his fans. His album is slated to feature stars like Junior Gong, Nicki Jam, Jada Kingdom, Shenseea, Gwen Stefani, and Sia. For now, it seems the music veteran will be focusing on studio time and family time.
Baby Cham speak on the Jamaican government lifting UK travel ban while ignoring the entertainment sector.
Most sectors of the Jamaican economy, like many other countries around the world, have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. The entertainment sector has staggered and tried as best as possible to keep up with the restrictions put in place to safeguard the country. With restrictions looking to be relaxed soon for UK tourism, veteran dancehall artist Baby Cham is making his feelings on the way the government handled the pandemic known. He posted a clip of his recent track called “Lockdown” on Usain Bolt’s Clockwork Riddim. He made sure to include his more explicit lyrics in expressing his feelings on Instagram.
He also made his feelings known with the caption attached to the short video clip. He was obviously upset as he also made the caption in all caps.
“TOURISM BOARD AND THE HOTELS / RESORTS CRIED THAT THEIR BUSINESS IS DYING, SO THE GOVERNMENT IS OPENING THE COUNTRY FOR THEM ON MAY 1ST TO SAVE THEIR POCKETS!! PROMOTER, DJs, ENTERTAINERS, CORNER SHOPS AND THE PEOPLE OF THE COUNTRY HAVE BEEN CRYING (TO DEAF EARS) THAT THEY TOO ARE DYING – BUT THE GOVERNMENT HAS IMPOSED STRICTER “LOCK DOWN” ON THEM!! WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR? WHO PUT YOU IN POWER?? WILL YOU POLICE THE HOTELS AND TOURIST THE SAME AS YOU POLICE THE PEOPLE???” he posted.
The “Ghetto Story” deejay is lashing out at Jamaica’s Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett, who recently announced that the travel ban on the United Kingdom, which was supposed to end last Friday, April 30, would not be renewed. The ban was part of Jamaica’s Disaster Risk Management Act to help mitigate the spread of the UK variant of the virus.
“On Saturday May 1, Jamaica will reopen its borders to international visitors from the United Kingdom. This will enable the critical gateways of Heathrow and Gatwick airports, to have transit for passengers coming through and who are fully compliant with health and safety protocols required for international travel,” Bartlett said.
He added that the decision was taken to try and help boost the island’s economy.
“Jamaica’s position at this time is critical in relation to the opening up of the summer tourist season and in fact, the importance of enabling the diaspora, particularly the strong British clientele that have always come to the island,” he said.
Jamaica’s borders have been open since June 2020, and they’ve already welcomed about 1.5 million visitors. All visitors welcomed had a quarantine period and had to follow other health protocols. Cham’s take on the matter is that the hoteliers and others in the sector cried out for help and have been given it while the poor and disenfranchised have been left to fend for themselves. The part of the song he chose lamented all of these issues. For the most part, it seemed that his fans agreed with his stance.
“Unfair bad and it is not even funny. The government is not for the people who risk their life during election and put dem on power…. Set of dictators,” this fan said, another added, “@cham….pure double standard!!!! Do the jamaican govt realize sey a di people, di food, di place and definitely di music why most tourists come a yaad? The citizens, athletes and mostly of the artists promote the country and are the quintessential vessel in putting out Jamaica to the world. Tek care a u people dem govt of JA. U can’t have certain people a benefit in di country and the ones who put unu in postion a get constant raw deals.. get it under control quick,” and this fan chimed in, “Such everyone should boycott travelling there until its open for all. Most of the owners prob not even citizens. Although yes they employ them but still. That country is what it is because of what the leaders have done or more importantly not done to help the country as a whole and that goes for anyone who has a voice. Soooo many voices and I hear like 3. Why. Crickets and ants everywhere just like that Disney movie. Watch that. Same sht.”
Do you agree with Baby Cham’s take on UK tourists being allowed into Jamaica?
Popcaan added an interesting twist to the ongoing discussion of Jamaica Prime Minister Andrew Holness blaming dancehall for crimes in the country.
In an early morning tweet on Thursday (April 8), Popcaan told PM Holness to invest some of his own money into dancehall music. His statement comes after PM Holness says that he’s the first Jamaican Prime Minister to openly embraced and support dancehall music. Still, his recent statement triggered a backlash not only from entertainers but also from fans, a lot of whom have voted for him in past elections.
“Good morning mr prime minister, invest some of your money into dancehall music, Embrace it for a year!!!! you’ll never regret your investment,” Popcaan tweeted.
While it’s very unlikely that the Prime Minister will respond to Popcaan directly, it’s likely that he will further address the broader issue in the near future. The Unruly deejay’s tweet breathes new life into the ongoing debate sparked by the Holness over a week ago where he blamed dancehall lyrics for high crime rate. The vast majority of fans of the deejay disagree with Holness’s assessment, but some others don’t agree with politicians pumping money in the genre due to the fear that they will ultimately stifle creativity.
“Government not allowed to mix up in Art or Culture poppy,” one fan tweeted in response to Popcaan. “Our creativity is at risk if such should happen. Plus we no want nuh hand outs from Politicians remember.”
Good morning mr prime minister, invest some of your money into dancehall music, Embrace it for a year!!!! you'll never regret your investment.
Suppose the Prime Minister should invest his own money in ventures related to dancehall. In that case, it means he would retain some ownership stake in that venture, so perhaps Popcaan is echoing an age-old cry from the entertainment community that the government of Jamaica is not investing enough money into the music and culture, even though reggae/dancehall contributes to a portion of the country’s GDP directly and indirectly through promoting Jamaica on tour globally.
In 2019, Reggae Sumfest generated over JM$1 billion into the Jamaican economy, according to Tourism Minister Edmund Bartlett. The vast majority of those funds came from overseas from patrons who flew to Jamaica to attend the event, which was one of the largest stagings of Sumfest to date in terms of attendance.
“We estimate the revenue impact from the festival to be $J1 Billion based on average room nights stay of locals and visitors and taxes,” Minister Bartlett echoed before adding. “The success of entertainment festivals such as Sumfest augurs well for tourism as it boosts arrivals and has a major economic impact in and around Montego Bay.”
Is there an incentive for the government to invest in dancehall? The answer is an overwhelming yes, as pointed out by Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ own cabinet minister.
That same year, PM Holness vowed that he would protect dancehall music from degeneration. “It is not everything that we call ‘culture’ will have the longevity to carry from generation to generation,” Holness said. “Societies have died because culture degenerated into decadence. The State cannot just stand by and allow the culture to just degenerate. The State has to work in support of those people who are willing to see to the longevity of the culture.”
While there is evidence that PM Andrew Holness has embraced dancehall in the past and engaged with artists, a growing number of dancehall entertainers feel his recent comments are tone-deaf. Veteran artists like Baby Cham pointed out several contributors to the crime wave gripping the island for decades. These contributors are still not addressed by successive administrations.
“From where I stand, as someone from the inner city, the ghetto and a public figure, I have observed where poverty, poor leadership, illiteracy, and lack of opportunities for Jamaica youths are the top four contributors of the country’s high crime rate, not the music,” Baby Cham said while pointing out that children also consumed other contents deemed violent through other mediums like Netflix on their smartphones.
Other artists like the legendary Bounty Killer and his former Alliance protege, Mavado, have all spoken out strongly against the PM’s statement.
Undoubtedly, this discussion is needed at this present moment in dancehall and needs to be an ongoing one. Nevertheless, Popcaan just added another side to the conversation with a single tweet.
Should Prime Minister Andrew Holness invest his own money in dancehall music?