Jamaica Gleaner / Musical forms like calypso and soca, are often buried in shallow graves, tongue-in-cheek quips and sexual innuendo (for example, Kitty Cat by Square One or Big Phat Fish by Machel Montano). It can be assumed the intent was to amuse the audience, and with dancehall music, with some songs – the same assumption stands. Amidst argue of censorship against violence and overt sexuality in dancehall music, there are some who want to produce music for pure amusement.
Walshy Fire, member of the Major Lazer super-producer trio, has once again produced and released an EP. Rum Xmas , was released on November 18, is co-produced by The Wixard, and is merely two songs long, an even split between comedy and dance.
“I just wanted to put out something fun for the season. So Trilla, with a dance song ( Xmas ) and Lybran, with some comedy ( Be Careful ). When Professor Nuts was bringing comedy and stories into the music, it lifted the music. I’m not sure why that has stopped, but it’s something I want to add to all of my productions,” Walshy Fire told The Sunday Gleaner . He believes the local music industry could use more artistes like Lybran and Prince Zimboo to balance the ‘bad man stuff.’
Professor Nuts, however, thinks comedy in dancehall music is perhaps more potent when in the right setting at a stage-show.
“Maybe time get too serious with the yute. Them want to hear expletive and sexual interaction, musically…but I think the dancehall is not really for comedy,” he told The Sunday Gleaner .
LACK OF QUICK WIT
The veteran made distinction between the stage show and the dancehall, suggesting that perhaps a lack of the former, no longer creates space for a demonstration of the quick-witted.
“My way of doing it may have slipped through the cracks, but not everybody can do it and get through. Comedy is more for the stage show, where people stand and listen – it’s a band purpose. But if you’re in the dancehall, them expect more controversial ‘oomph’… more songs to dance and wine. They don’t really need the comedy in the dancehall. That’s what I feel and I see it,” Nuts continued.
Professor Nuts is currently a judge on the televised talent show, Magnum Kings and Queens of Dancehall, where being quick-witted is a large element, utilised in one-on-one battle rounds. Online video searches for the dancehall veteran, place past sound system toasting between Professor Nuts and Lecturer at the top.
“I can slip through because I can bring it across. You have to be witty, be very wittyto get away with it in the dancehall. Your words have to be spontaneouspertaining to something currentyou can come across to the younger crowd with wit. Kick up a dust with a joke in dancehallbut yuh cyaa come with normal lazy stuff weh people hear long time.”
“Back in the days when people mind more free, you really do music as how you feel. It’s an art and I think artistes have lost the art. They are not writing for themselves. Some of them going through a lot and don’t know how to turn a bad situation good,” Lybran said.
Lybran is currently riding high from the viral success of his song, Rum Talk , with cosigns from top entertainers like American rap artistes Snoop Dogg and Pete Rock. “I’m not big out here. I’m making my mark overseas before here,” Lybran told The Sunday Gleaner .
The artiste wants fans of dancehall to support the song since humour can be refreshing amid the crime and violence currently plaguing the island.
“It brings back fun in dancehall instead of that gun lyrics where people a cry. This is something to make people have fun, relax their mind and laugh,” he said. Lybran touts himself as the first artiste to sing about Donald Trump.
“Mi sing ‘bout why Etana wah vote fi Donald Trump.” He has also enjoyed much attention from his musical account of ‘Trenchtown Hero’, Tremayne Brown.
“Deep down, you won’t take me as a foolthat is a part of dancehall. We need to bring back the fun in the music so people can be relaxed,” Lybran added.
For this rising dancehall star, he believes comedy in his music will pay off.