Sat | Jan 19, 2019

A hot tune for the summer

Published:Sunday | May 17, 2015 | 12:00 AMMel Cooke
Bounty Killer
Vybz Kartel

In the days before the significant effect of climate change hit the world, the opening lines of HD Carberry's poem Nature would have resonated even more with Jamaicans than now. The words would have been familiar to every child who went through the Jamaican primary-level system at one point:

"We have neither summer nor winter

Neither autumn nor spring

We have instead the days

When the gold sun shines on the lush green cane fields


With global temperatures having risen, the intensity of that gold sun has increased so that in the time between when the summer term ends for schoolchildren and the Christmas term of the next year begins, the summer heat is definitely on.

And, even in dancehall, where the party never stops, summer is the season of extreme good cheer, a season to which many a male deejay has paid homage. There are common elements to the summer songs - beaches, girls, trips among them - but with the theme being common, each performer knows that he has to be that little bit different to make a mark, even as the expected is included.

So Shaggy, Vybz Kartel, Bounty Killer, and Beenie Man all have songs for the season of sun heat and hot girls.

Shaggy's In the Summertime features Rayvon, who sings about the weather and the women. Then Shaggy focuses on a particular woman, although he does not name her:

Pretty little woman

Sexy as can be

Sweet as a honey

Sting like bumble bee

It's a summertime affair

In the atmosphere

I man love off her attire

And the clothes she wear.

Beenie Man makes the beach the base of his summer tune, sending out the invitation "let's go to the beach/Mek we have a party pon di sand". And for all who would come along, he encourages, "if you ready for the summer let's go/Shout it out and let me know".

Kartel name checks his place of musical origin, Portmore, in his Summertime song, one of the more popular of an always liked set of seasonal songs. His opening invitation is more of a command as he declares, "Every massive have fi come along" - although, ironically (considering his 'colouring book' credentials) as it is time for a tan, he instructs "if you a bleachers go back home".

Hellshire, Sugarman's and Fort Clarence beaches, all on the same strip, are popular spots in the Sunshine City and in the chorus of the track, Kartel does not leave out his hometown, even though he starts with a city where beaches are not a factor as the Kingston Harbour is so polluted that places like Gunboat have become distant memories. Kartel deejays:

"Summer time in a Portmore

Summer time in a Kingston"

Then there is Summer Breezin' with Diana King and Bounty Killer, perhaps the steamiest of the four. The two turn up the heat with invitations to the ladies to carry along a bikini, references to G strings and jerk wings, with a little skinny dipping in the mix.