Bounty Killer and Spragga Benz sparked a raging debate after they each reposted an open letter to Dancehall producers from a Zimbabwean fan, who called on them to “help save Dancehall.”
In the letter, the fan beseeched Dancehall producers to bring back juggling riddims, drum patterns, and hardcore beats, “so you do not have to guess the identity of the music, as the Trap and Hip Hop sounds which are being labeled as Dancehall, are lackluster.
“The 90s Dancehall was so exciting to listen to due to the happy vibe and the beats. The riddim made Dancehall, Dancehall,” the person wrote, adding that he used to look forward to the juggling riddims “with the epic drum patterns” as a youngster.
“Dancehall had a distinct sound, demeanour and flair which was just incredible. You couldn’t mistake Dancehall for Hip Hop. It was a stand alone music. The biggest thing that made Dancehall lose its appeal for me – coz in Zimbabwe, Reggae has always been big – but the change in the riddim sound and sounding more trap or Hip Hop killed the vibe,” the author noted.
“Even the DJing is so boring that why it can’t captivate a crowd. When you changed and no longer did juggling riddims and removed the drum patters and bass line and add wack singjaying, its not gonna cut it,” he added.
While it was Spragga Benz who first posted the Zimbabwean’s musings, it was Bounty’s posts, which attracted comments from his fellow musical compatriots.
“Don’t know the origin of this letter or how authentic it is. All I know that it speaks some factual points, so I’m reposting it. And if y’all know and love dancehall then u will all agree here folks, bcuz if we don’t listen we don’t learn and if u don’t learn then u get burn. Our younger generation not following the foundation then to build and capitalize on it like most of us 90s acts did. So it’s downward spiral then I guess who has eyes to see will see. Spread the word👀,” the Warlord noted.
He was supported by Lincoln 3Dot, who posited that many of the Trap artists were wannabee Americans, who cared little or nothing about Jamaican culture.
“They looking for that American bag… wanna live like rappers and hip hop producers. Jamaica is the most influential country (considering size and population) but the people are “self serving” nobody doing it for the “culture” sad 😔,” he wrote.
Also expressing similar sentiments was music producer Teflon, who pointed out that the music was being infiltrated by hustlers.
“Mi tired fi talk bout it, do mi a do it show dem. People need to drop them ego and spread love and let’s work and build the community. Dancehall and Reggae is fountain for nuff genre and sub genres and to see it come to this where someone else from far have to speak 🗣️ says a lot about the current state of the music. Most people just a hustle Music,” he stated.
One South African commenter, who joined the discussion, declared that the generation that was doing Trap songs that glorify murder and lotto scamming, would fade into oblivion, as their music will not stand the test of time, while their compatriots such as Jahshii and Rygin King will reign supreme.
“I am from South Africa and I know that non of the current trap kids are gonna be legends. Their songs capture nothing on an individual since they are pop songs and all about nothing that has to so with ordinary people who do not relate to listening to same gun and choppa nonsense daily. We got bills to pay not crime to commit. They will all fade and only those who made songs with substance like Jahshii and Rygin King will remain. Any artist who bought into the trap beats and stray from riddims will fade just like crunk artist,” he noted.
The South African also pointed out that scammers were fooling themselves into thinking that they were artists and were the ones singing pointless songs.
“Anybody and everybody with little scamma money is recording a dancehall track…. They all wack i tell you and i dont rate them at all….and skeng will not be legend for two simple reasons…1 wont be able to reinvent his craft from gun song…2 how stupid can a juvenile be for thinking taking sides that include actual 87s in flanka will end good? I love riddims and dancehall since back then😢now I have to wait few weeks before a real knockin riddim drop with real deejays that have bars and craft their delivery in a unique way,” he added.
Another commenter, freespirit_lewis, rued the fact that the Trap and Hip Hop music being recorded by younger artists, was being mislabelled Dancehall, adding that people globally craved authentic Dancehall and not these types of tracks.
“I still listen to 80’s and 90’s Dancehall everyday! The writer of this post is 100% correct! I’m not saying I don’t listen to the younger generations music but it is NOT Dancehall music. Pop, Country & Western, Heavy Metal, Classical and all the other music have not changed over the years so what happened to Dancehall ??? My children who are teenagers know and listen to the same Dancehall that I do. They know all the artist and know the difference to what is coming out of Jamaica today,” he said.
“Jamaicans need to realise that it’s not everything that needs to be followed. We are leaders around the world but that is slowly slipping away. When you see a white man can win best reggae artist at the Grammy’s then you know we’re in big trouble. People around the world want to hear REAL AUTHENTIC DANCEHALL MUSIC and they’re not getting that. Definitely something to address,” he said.