It seems like other dancehall artists just love stealing what is truly King Yellowman’s. First it was Beenie Man who tried to steal the Yellowman’s crown by claiming that he Beenie Man was the king of the dancehall. Yellowman was quick to point out, however, that he Yellowman is the king of the dancehall and any other king is simply burger king. Now Lieutenant Stitchie has come out claiming that he is the first dancehall artist to sign to a major record label, an accomplishment that also belongs to King Yellowman.
With the Beenie Man claim, one can’t take it too seriously, because that is what Beenie Man does. Whether it is taking Bounty Killer’s melodies and lyrics or taking Early B’s title as “The Doctor”, Beenie Man is known for claiming other artists belonging. That is not the case with Lieutenant Stitchie, so it was a bit shocking when the dancehall mogul came out saying:
“I was the first dancehall artiste to be signed to a major label which was Atlantic Records and also the first dancehall artiste to hit the Billboard charts with Know How Fi Dress. In 1989, I was taking dancehall to Europe and explaining to people what dancehall was and also to make it clear that the genre wasn’t a fad and was in fact here to stay. So as the person who has opened the network to major labels, I believe the originality is something that the music is lacking.”
Lieutenant Stitichie was not the first dancehall artist to sign with a major record label. Yellowman who signed with Colombia Records in 1983 was the first to accomplish that feat. Lieutenant Stitchie did not sign with Atlantic until 1988.
Still, nothing can be taken away from Lieutenant Stitchie. He is definitely one of the greatest dancehall artist in history and has done more than his fair share in the advancement of dancehall. Plus everything else he said about the current state of dancehall is exactly on point.
Lieutenant Stitchie believes Jamaican artistes were the trendsetters in late 80s and 90s, however, they have now become the followers.
“Everybody is trying to sound like somebody and I think there is not much originality even to the sound of the music, people are trying to fuse it with other genres even with rap music. Many of them don’t even realize that rap is a tangent of dancehall music, dancehall is the daddy. People want the authentic thing and if you are trying to be somebody that you are not, things are going to be difficult. People want real Jamaican stuff, our real culture,” he said.
Big ups to King Yellowman and Lieutenant Stitchie, two of the greatest dancehall reggae artists to ever do it. King Yellow signed with Columbia Records in 1983, to become the first dancehall artist signed to a major label. Lieutenant Stitchie followed in 1988 when he signed with Atlantic Records.
Like Bob Marley is the king of reggae, Yellowman is the king of dancehall.