Tyrone Reid, Senior Staff Reporter
Jamaica's prison boss has declared that the self-proclaimed 'World Boss', Vybz Kartel, is not legally allowed to record songs while in custody awaiting trial on numerous charges.
With speculation still rife that some recently released songs featuring Kartel were recorded after he was taken into custody, Lieutenant Colonel Sean Prendergast told The Sunday Gleaner that was unlikely.
Prendergast, the commissioner of corrections and chief executive officer of the Department of Correctional Services (DCS), told our news team that if any song is recorded while the deejay is locked up that would have been a major infraction.
"It would have been a serious breach to allow it to happen without my knowledge. Put it this way, I wouldn't have authorised it," said Prendergast.
"As far as I know, he has not been allowed to record music while he is at Horizon (Adult Remand Centre). His producers were denying it was done on the inside. They said it was recorded after his first brush with the law," added Prendergast.
He told The Sunday Gleaner that any request seeking for the artiste to record songs from behind bars would be denied.
Kartel has been in custody since October 1 last year when he and four other persons were arrested for possession of ganja.
He was subsequently charged with murder in relation to the deaths of businessman Barrington 'Bossy' Burton and Clive 'Lizard' Williams.
Following his arrest, the release of songs such as Back to Life, in which he speaks of life behind bars and mentions missing his Benz motor car which he bought only months before going to prison, have sparked speculation that the World Boss is getting special privileges behind bar.
But in an article published in The Star earlier this year when the allegations started to swell, one of Kartel's producers said the songs were done before the deejay's latest brush with the law in October 2011.
The producer, Elvis Redwood, was adamant that no special recording privileges were being given to Kartel whose correct name is Adidja Palmer.
"The Busta Rhymes collaboration with Vybz Kartel was recorded in 2010 by Don Corleon. It was a live recording on Ustream, so they can check that. When artistes record songs, they have to choose the right time to release them and Vybz Kartel has a lot of unreleased songs," said Redwood at the time.
"Back To Life was recorded in 2010 under the title We Wah Guh Home, but it was never released. We changed the name, fix up some little things, and just call it Back To Life. It's a prison song about his experience in jail, it was just another jail song.
"He has a lot of jail songs but because of the current situation, people are making assumptions ... but we just want to make it clear that Vybz Kartel has not recorded any material since his incarceration," Redwood said in that interview.
That might be enough for the head of the DCS for now but Prendergast has already made it clear that if evidence comes across his desk suggesting that the songs are being recorded from the Horizon Adult Remand Centre, he would launch an investigation into the matter.
"If I suspected there was a breach, it would be thoroughly investigated and the appropriate action taken," warned Prendergast.
The commissioner of corrections explained that he has turned down requests for other entertainers to do songs while incarcerated.
However, he pointed out that there is a recording studio at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, which forms part of that institution's rehabilitation offering.
That was how singer Jah Cure was able to record songs while incarcerated and serving time for rape.
Some reasons why people claim Kartel is recording behind bars
Vybz Kartel and Gaza Slim's Reparation single, released in 2012 during the police's move to clamp down on the lottery scam, speaks clearly to this issue.
Vybz Kartel's Daddy Devil, released in September 2012, seems to be an extension of Tommy Lee's Uncle Demon released shortly before.
Vybz Kartel featuring Tommy Lee - Betray Di Gaza Boss released in September 2012 - speaks to being betrayed by one of his followers and follows reports that one member of his Gaza camp, Popcaan, had been kicked out by him.