Artists Willing to Change Lyrics

In Response to Buju Banton’s call for unity:

Artistes Willing to Change Lyrics

By Teino Evans, Entertainment Coordinator, The Star Online

May 15, 2008 – Kingston, Jamaica – Following Buju Banton’s call for other artistes to clean up their music, some have answered the challenge and are in agreement that some change in lyrics need to take place. Buju issued an appeal to his fellow entertainers to clean up their lyrics in order to help Jamaica to recover from its present social decay.

The deejay, who posted a message in his newsletter, The Gargamel Gleaner, said, “We are suffering a social decay yet not one, not a single one of our entertainers, has seen the need for a change in the lyrical content they are selling.”

However, that estimation may not be entirely accurate. Veteran dancehall artiste, Lady Saw, although admitting to performing “raw songs” in the past, told The STAR, “I’m down with cleaning up the music.” Saw said that this must to something that every artiste is willing to do if it is going to have any effect on the tone of the music.

Saw also defended her raunchy lyrics in the past saying, “I never sing about guns and killing people, I sing about sex, an’ sex neva kill nobody yet, unless maybe a rape.” However, she acknowledged that there is a demand for certain types of music. “Sometimes yuh a try clean it up (the music) but di people dem out deh want it. There is still a place for it.”

Another dancehall artiste, Mavado, although he lives by the tag line, ‘Gangsta for life’, said he, too, was willing to do more positive, uplifting songs.

“A righteousness wi a deal wid same way an’ yuh done know a di end a di day, we as di artiste, meanwhile wi a try clean up di music, wi need di help from di Government fi help clean up di country.”

Mavado also echoed Saw’s call for unity in this regard. “If artiste come together an’ sey clean up di music, den mi nuh have a problem,” Mavado added.

Mavado, however, said doing more positive songs did not mean that he would stop doing his regular ‘gangsta tunes’. “Me nah guh stop sing ’bout gangsta ’cause it always deh deh. But wi a guh sing ’bout righteousness an upliftment as well, an dat nuh mean sey wi a guh get up an turn Christian tomorrow, suh at di end a di day wi still haffi do di works fi di people,” he said.

“Suh if Buju sey him want di artiste dem clean up di music, den mek wi go ahead an do some good songs an see the outcome of it, but at di same time, wi still haffi do songs fi di street, because di streets will always be there,” Mavado said.

Buju Banton might not be the only artiste to call for a ‘change in lyrics’ to more positive messages. Recently, controversial deejay Vybz Kartel paid for and recorded an advertisement on radio, appealing to the nation that crime and violence was not the way to go. Kartel said, “Artistes are always the scapegoat for crime and violence in Jamaica when crime is really a social problem.” He said that as a citizen he must play his part “to help di youths, as a parent who sees crime and violence because who di youth dem look up to not doing their part”.

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