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Floodgates open - Does saturation of recordings hurt dancehall?

Published:Sunday | June 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Vybz Kartel
Reggae artiste Sizzla
Sky Juice

The airwaves are flooded with songs daily, many of them new. Reggae artiste Sizzla is said to have well over 70 albums, while Vybz Kartel was said to record songs daily.

Even though he has been behind bars for three years, Vybz Kartel still has recent songs on the airwaves as testament to the number of songs he recorded before being imprisoned.

Sizzla and Vybz Kartel are probably standout cases, but it is not uncommon to hear several new songs from one artiste in proximity to each other.

Producer Blaqk Sheep admits that it is a common practice among many Jamaican artistes to release numerous songs at once. However, he said this works for some and not others.

"I think some people just need to give them songs space. Sometimes you have some songs weh a build a momentum, but the artiste release four more songs and kill da one song deh weh could have been a hit," he told The Gleaner.

"It good and bad 'cause it work fi some people. You have some man weh put out whole heap a song and people gravitate to all a dem. Artiste fi find dem chemistry and know wah work fi dem and wah nuh work. Mi Give Ride It (sang by RDX) a year fi buss. Some man nuh believe inna dem song so dem a try put out as much fi see which one ago hit."

But dancehall artiste Khago does not believe in this method.

"Fi have 1,000 song fi di year and none a dem nuh cross over, it nuh mek no sense. Jay Z dem do 15 song fi di year and dem tour pon dat fi di rest of the year. Wi nah mek no money out of the business 'cause wi a do too much songs one time," Khago said in a recent interview.

Veteran selector Sky Juice, on the other hand, believes that the number of songs being released works for the industry.

"You have some artistes weh can keep up wid it by voicing good songs. U-Roy did have one, two and three on the chart. It depends on what kind of songs you a put out," Sky Juice said.

"Sizzla did do a LP (long play) for Bobby Digital and every one a di song dem good. Is just the artiste weh do the songs. You can't do a whole heap of idiot songs."