Vybz Kartel might lack freedom of movement stemming from his incarceration but the world boss does not lack confidence and bravado.
In a recent interview with Vibe magazine, the world boss was posed the following question:
The song “Big Bizniz” talks about your name living on. What do you think is your greatest legacy so far?
In true Kartel fashion, the Big Bizniz singer responded:
I can’t be stopped again. My legacy in Dancehall is one of the most powerful. In the top 5. I brought new ideas and concepts to Dancehall musically and as a businessman. I altered/changed the culture to suit me… Clarks, tattoos, rosary, and big bizniz. I am the most influential Caribbean artiste in 20 years. Tell ’em put that in your pipe and smoke it.
At first glance Kartel’s statement seems absurd. How can he be the most influential out of the Caribbean when Nicki Minaj out of Trinidad and Rihanna out of Barbados have sold millions of albums worldwide and Kartel’s latest album of “Of Dons and Divas” have not even sold 2 thousand copies as yet?
However, when you take a step back and consider that popularity and influential are two different things, then you understand that Kartel is correct; he is right when he says he is the most influential artiste coming out of the Caribbean. Both Rihanna and Nikki Minaj have millions of fans worldwide but they did not change hip Hop, R%B or Pop Music. They merely continued what Lil Kim, Mary J. Blige, Beyoncé and many other were already doing.
Vybz Kartel not only changed dancehall, he made the unacceptable acceptable within the culture. Before Kartel, oral sex was a big no no in both dancehall and Reggae culture. In fact, before Kartel, the most famous song about oral sex was a song called “Bow Cat” by Shabba Ranks and in that song, bow cats got the same treatment homosexuals got in Buju Banton’s Boom Bye Bye: “Bragadagagap inna bowcat head top.”
After Kartel dropped “Freaky Gal”, every other dancehall artists started making songs about girls going down on them to the point where girls started using Heineken bottles in the middle of the dancehall to demonstrate how they use their mouths in the bedroom. Without Kartel, there would be no Gage with “down in her throat.”
Super Cat and Little John both had songs about Clarks before Kartel, Popcaan and Gaza Slim released their version. However the previous versions of Clarks did not inspire Michael Manley, Edward Seaga, PJ Patterson or any other former Jamaican Prime Minister to don a pair of the shoe. Kartel bring Clarks’ popularity to the level where Jamaica’s current Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, was sporting them on his campaign trail. Now, that’s influence.
After Nardo Ranks released “Dem bleach”, skin bleaching was frowned upon not only in the dancehall but throughout Jamaican society and the entire Caribbean for that matter. Once Vybz Kartel started bleaching his skin, almost half of Jamaica started the practice. It got the point where Jamaica was lighter than islands like Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic.
So yes, it might seems silly that Kartel would call himself the most influential artist out of the Caribbean in the last 20 years when Nikki Minaj and Rihanna are also in this era. However, if you take a step back and don’t confuse being popular with being influential then you will have to agree; Vybz Kartel is “the most influential Caribbean artiste in [the last] 20 years.