Vybz Kartel is officially the Favourite Dancehall Artiste among 15 to 24 year-olds in a study led by Dr Donna Hope Marquis, lecturer in Reggae Studies at the University of the West Indies, Mona (UWI). They also named him the Most Popular Dancehall Artiste Now.
The findings are part of research, funded by the Office of the Principal, through the Special Initiatives Research Fund, on violence and dancehall culture. It was conducted between June and August this year among 300 persons in Kingston, St Andrew, St Catherine and Clarendon.
Kartel was ahead of Mavado in both categories, the ‘Gaza’ scoring 35.2 per cent to the ‘Gully’s’ 25.8 per cent in response to the question “who is your favourite dancehall artiste?”. Kartel’s percentage soared to 47.4 per cent in response to the question “who do you think is the most popular dancehall artiste now?”, with Mavado’s ratings also jumping to 34.4 per cent.
Beenie Man was third in both categories, scoring 23.7 per cent for Favourite Dancehall Artiste, with Bounty Killer and Aidonia tying at 2.1 per cent and Busy Signal scoring 1.7 per cent in that category. Shaggy and Assassin got 1.3 per cent each and Elephant Man scored 0.8 per cent, with Lady Saw, Sanchez, Laden, Queen Ifrica, D’Angel, Javinci, Sizzla, RDX, Black Ryno, Serani, Wayne Marshall and Munga Honourable getting less than half a per cent each in that category.
The ‘King of the Dancehall’ got 14.2 per cent for his third place in ‘Most Popular Dancehall Artiste Now’, Busy Signal receiving 1.2 per cent and Bounty Killer 0.8 per cent. Lady Saw, Ninja Man, Javinci, Aidonia and Sizzla scored less than 0.5 per cent each.
The rankings go for both genders, as Hope Marquis told THE STAR, it worked out that about half the persons in the study were male and half female. In addition, the findings apply across various class and educational categories.
Hope Marquis is not surprised about the results, pointing out that she teaches at the UWI and when students’ phones ring in class, Kartel is the ringtone of choice. “They like the rebelliousness, the ‘carelessness’ that comes with Kartel,” she said. “They like the idea of rebelling against what is right to their parents. Because they are young and rebellious, they like Kartel.”
This popularity translates to earning potential, Hope Marquis said, as this age group has the money to spend. It may come from their earnings, notably for the older ones, or from their family support system.
Kartel gains 12.2 per cent in the Most Popular Artiste category over his Favourite Dancehall Artiste ranking, outpacing Mavado who has a 8.6 per cent increase. Hope Marquis says “even if some people like Mavado, they still think Kartel is more popular”.
“I think the age range has a lot to do with the fact that the top three are so consistent,” she told THE STAR. And she says “I know Mavado is more popular among older people. He sings songs that have more depth,” she said, commenting on his tone of delivery, while Kartel has a more staccato style.
Still, in her analysis, referring to previous dancehall rivalries , Hope Marquis points out that in both the cases of Ninja Man and Shabba Ranks, as well as Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, “when we examine the dominant dancehall duo in each era, we see that while the most combative artiste gained local respect and immense street credibility, it was his arch-rival who gained immense international attention and the attendant Grammy award(s) – Shabba Ranks in 1992 (As Raw as Ever) and 1993 (X-tra Naked) and Beenie Man in 2001 (Art and Life). The stage is already set to repeat this phenomenon with the Vybz Kartel and Mavado, as Mavado continues to develop and expand his international contacts and collaborations with renowned international artistes”.
The overall report on the study is being prepared.