Outside of Jamaica, Vybz Kartel trails Alkaline and Popcaan but his Jamaican fan base has kept him on top in the island. So while Kartel claiming to be the king of dancehall might be arguable outside of Jamaica, on the island he is the undisputable dancehall king right now.
Vybz Kartel was the most streamed reggae dancehall artiste for 2018 in Jamaica, with 25.9 million views, narrowly ahead of Alkaline with 25.8 million views. Popcaan can in third place with 19.7 million views. Masicka and Rygin king round out the top 5 with 15.4 million and 11.3 million views, respectively.
Some on social media argue that the fact that a convicted murderer is Jamaica’s favorite artiste is a reflection on Jamaica’s high crime rate but music analyst Donovan Watkis disagrees. He argues that Kartel is just better at making hit songs that connects with the culture.
“He is still connected to the culture by releasing new music that are hit songs, more than anyone else in dancehall,” Watkis said.
“He has built the brand of Kartel and Gaza to the top of the food chain. He could sing “Hmmm” on a track and they (his fans) will love it. Kartel calls his YouTube page vybezkartelradio, so hot or not it doesn’t take much to get people’s attention,” Watkis said.
Although Vybz Kartel is definitely the king of dancehall in Jamaica, Alkaline could claim the title for outside of Jamaica.