How many Jamaican youths today understand what it took to get a spot around a turntable in a dancehall for a sound that does not belongs to you?
“You know how much box man haffi carry all in a rain, cause the show have to go on” lament one brother,” all in a hostile area man haffi tun security guard.”
Thus the dancehall wasn’t for the feeble at heart it was rough terrain and those who ply their trade there must be tough. To get a chat on the mic was equally difficult even when you thought you possess more skill than most, you have to wait your turn and make use of the down time, when dance a simmers down and most people left for home.
“Dem time de mi have nuff fi say and can’t touch the mic” said another, as they rehearse the challenges of maneuvering the dancehall in the eighties. Sounds travel long distance to play at various venues, all over the island.
Accompanying the numerous boxes and equipment are young men who would take care of the numerous lifting and transporting, many of whom salary were meager or none existence.
“ We mostly did it for the love and not for the likes” he said as he rocks back on a puff of the marijuana cigarette clenched between his fingers, “the thing change now, a man only need a computer and him a big DJ.”
Back in the days the sound rules the turf, and sounds came and went and others stuck around to become household names. To promote the sounds, tapes were widely distributed and much sort after according to the status of the different sounds.
Today not much handlers are needed as technology has reduced the workload. It’s now cheaper and much easier to start your own sound, hence the pioneers should be more so respected because they bored the burden of those turbulent years when passion and a love for the music drove the industry not wealth creation.