AlkalIne overtaken Kartel as Dancehall leader?
This question has been lingering in the dancehall hemisphere for a while now. It’s on everyone lips, Alkaline has been having a superb year releasing hits after hits with wavey songs like “formula”, and “City” to name a few. It’s one of the few years in the past ten years that an artist has gone head to head with the self-proclaim “Worl Boss” a.k.a Vybz Kartel in releasing consistent hit songs. Alkaline has been compared to Vybz Kartel in every single public forum that the two artists have graced since their duo inception. You have to wonder though if Vybz Kartel holds a sympathetic edge over Alkaline due to his untimely incarceration. Does sympathy from the fans maintains Vybz Kartel’s legacy and credibility as Dancehall’s Pied piper? Do fans refuse to credit Alkaline for his meteoric rise due to their allegiance to Vybz Kartel?
There is no question both artists have been producing quality songs this year that have gone on to hold number one spots in numerous countries including Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, and the entire Europe. Both artists have released significantly successful albums this year with both artists gaining number one billboard spots.
Nowadays one cannot bring up Vybz Kartel without mentioning Alkaline. These comparisons hold identical resemblance to the heated Tupac and Biggie rivalry back in the days in the Hip Hop industry. It now seems it’s not applicable for a fan to have allegiance to both Kartel & Alkaline. The picture is either black or white; it’s not acceptable to be on both sides of the enemy line. One cannot argue that both artists are extremely talented. There is no doubt about the magnitude of their talents; both artists have been leading the latter of dancehall by “donkey lengths”. Vybz Kartel and Alkaline have simply been a class above the rest, being the front runners for dancehall on a superb consistent basis.
Has Alkaline surpassed Vybz Kartel as Dancehall’s frontrunner? Let me delve into why I think that question is absurd. First of all one or two years of excellence can’t be compared to 10 years of excellence. We seem to be getting ahead of ourselves here. Alkaline has just entered the dancehall space two years and counting with just a small fraction of songs compared to Vybz Kartel. It’s fair to say Alkaline is on form right now but we have to remember class is permanent and form is temporary.
Vybz Kartel is simply class; he is widely regarded as the greatest trend setter in dancehall, the most influential artists in dancehall, and the most intelligent among many other debatable accolades. We should remember that Vybz Kartel came on the scene when the industry actually needed talent to gain a spot in an entertainment department that is increasingly saturated. On the other hand Alkaline came on the scene using a device to”buss” that Vybz Kartel later used to elevate himself further down his career. This device was extreme controversy, with the student Alkaline learning and adapting from his teacher, Vybz Kartel.
Honestly Alkaline hasn’t earned the right to be compared to Vybz Kartel simply because he has not been a front runner for Dancehall for ten years. Not to be harsh but Alkaline songs do not contain any super superior content that is ear catching and extremely outstanding when compared to the music of Vybz Kartel. If you disagree please identify one song that Alkaline produced that has become a billboard topping song? Can you identify something brilliant that Alkaline has done with his music that Kartel hasn’t done. To his credit, Alkaline has emerged in his own lane and evolved his sound from earlier duplicating the traits and techniques of Vybz Kartel.
Since he evolved, his career, style and character has boosted but he has in no way fight the battles, gained enough experience or released enough chart topping hits to be regarded in the same dimension as Vybz Kartel. We have to admit to ourselves that it’s our inner yearn that wants to crown a new Dancehall frontrunner since our beloved Vybz Kartel has been incarcerated and we need that live artist to fan connection again. The main reason why many Alkaline fans are claiming that Alkaline is the new pied piper of Dancehall is because their yearn to be connected to excellence can’t be contained by a prison cell. It became unacceptable for some fans that their Dancehall icon is behind the bar so in order to regain their personal connection to excellence they were willing to trade Kartel for Alkaline. The conclusion is from any point of view is that Alkaline has a far way to go in competing with Kartel’s body of work.
Written by Stamma Gramma
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