Money talks! - 90s artiste says industry controlled by cash
“Music is not about talent anymore. It’s about how much money you have.”
That was the sentiment shared by ’90s deejay Benzly Hype at a recent Entertainment Forum hosted by The Gleaner. The artiste, who was a member of the now defunct dancehall group Innocent Kru was lamenting the state of today’s music industry. He minced no words as he said that the industry is controlled by who has the most cash.
“You have the money and yuh push this and yuh push that. After a while, the mind gets tuned to that, and that’s what the new sound is. If you’re putting out certain things, over a period of time, your mind is going to be in tune with that, but really and truly, it’s not creative, and so music is not about talent anymore. It’s about who have the money.”
He went on to say that corporate companies have acted as Pied Pipers in the industry. According to Benzyl Hype, these companies have the financial pull and have slowly taken the power from the key players in the underbelly of the society, where dancehall originated. “Corporate companies never fund music ever. A di man dem weh used to go round the club dem do dem things. Dancehall music was not funded by corporate. It was funded by the underbelly of Jamaica, and dem man deh used to care more about the music dan the money. A now we have other things a gwaan. Music has become all about who have the change.”
Power of groups
Benzly Hype also pointed to what is happening in Montego Bay. He said that while some of the artistes coming out of the western parish have talent, not all of them have the ‘it factor’, but as a collective, they’re enjoying immense success on the entertainment scene because a group of artistes has a stronger grip on the industry than a solo act.
“I learnt this from a very top man in the game. Him say, ‘Benzly, a Mafia run this game’. That’s why (a big-name artiste) started his empire. Yuh affi have the thing under a certain governance,” he said.
Indirectly suggesting that payola still exists, Benzly Hype said that in order for music to return to its glory days, the money as the ‘be all and end all’ has to die a quick death.
“We affi call a spade a spade. What is happening now is that money talks if you want to control the airwaves,” he stated.