Murda She Wrote: This Month's Best Dancehall

Gully and Gaza's epic war is rekindled.

murda she wrote dancehall
P&P Original

Image via P&P Original

murda she wrote dancehall

The war may have subsided between the Unruly Boss and the Gully Gad, but it sure isn’t over. As soon as Popcaan bowed out of the battle, his former mentor Vybz Kartel took the lead in the fight against Mavado, rekindling an epic beef. The Gully vs. Gaza wars of 2008 are back again.

Vybz Kartel - "Step"

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Vybz Kartel makes the first strike in this lyrical war with a lethal tune called “Step,” which opens with the World Boss belittling his opponents, claiming they possess the strength of a baby. He soon makes clear that a war with Portmore is like walking through a minefield—be prepared to have parts of your body blown off.

Despite all those peace conferences after the Gully/Gaza war got too hot, both Mavado and Kartel now suggests that all that peace talk was a trick. They say the enemy of my enemy is my friend, and Kartel believes it: He's on some Sun Tzu meets Machiavelli shit, honing in on the recent beef between former Alliance member Mavado and Bounty Killer. “Drop inna the gully and float,” Kartel snarls. “Head swell up.”

Mavado - "Brawla"

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Mavado wasted no time dropping a counteraction to Kartel’s surprise attack. His track “Brawla” lays claim to the throne—“Murder the son turn the gun to the father,” he sings, alluding to his victory over Popcaan. “This a broad-day slaughter,” Mavado brags, before warning “war start bwoy dead in a the 14 parish.” The track samples a scene from the movie Belly, where the artist Louie Rankin who plays the character “OX” is walking through his mansion, talking tough at some intruders while firing his gun “who wan test me come on, you wan ramp with bumbaclaat mi? I murda people for bumbaclaat fun.”

It’s been five years since Kartel’s incarceration, and during his sentencing Mavado had been something of a Kartel supporter. He even told people to “pray for Addi” before the verdict came back. However, it seems like the two artists’ competitive spirit would not be held back ,and now everyone is at it all over again. With all the history with Kartel and Mavado you better believe this story is far from over.

Savage - "War Referee"

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War is not a game, but sometimes we can all use a referee. Someone to mediate disputes and enforce the rules, someone to call foul when necessary, who will always call it like they see it.

Newcomer Savage is already making a name for himself in the business. The Gully Squad DJ had his breakthrough song this year, but he’s stirred controversy with his love for bleaching. But this criticism hasn’t stopped his popularity with the ladies, who get down and dirty every time his songs play. The song “War Referee” comes at a time when the scent of war is in the air, and have some people saying it is a diss song to various big artists in the game.

But not everyone—he seems to be bigging up Vybz Kartel when he sings, “From the Don drop a jail everybody get bad and them nah do no tune to make the gyal dem get mad.” Savage’s Auto-Tune flow on this Troyton-produced track bears an uncanny resemblance to Kartel’s voice, but only at points—his voice shifts dramatically on the track, alternating between two different characters, almost as if you were listening to a collab—or an argument being moderated by a referee.

Konshens - "It's All Good"

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As Buju Banton would say, “It’s not an easy road,” whether in the music business or in life. Every so often the road gets windy and complicated, and being in the limelight doesn’t necessarily exempt you from this fact of life.

It's especially true for Konshens, who lost his brother Delus this summer to suicide. The two brothers had started out in the business together as members of the duo Sojah, and still recorded together after pursuing solo careers. Delus is said to have taken his own life after an argument with a female companion. In Konshens’ latest song “It’s All Good” the message is real, advising people not depend on anyone else and to always do for yourself. “Any youths who come from nothing can work hard make your life worth something” he chats, encouraging his fans to stay focused and get where they want to go. “No more trouble me wan’ get inna,” Konshens vows. “The dream once was to own a Beemer, now a fat M6 man a roll up inna.”

TJ Records - “Red Plate Riddim”

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Ever since 2008, when his “Unfinished Business” riddim ran the place, busting Mavado’s “So Special” and Serani’s “No Games” onto worldwide radio rotation, Linton “TJ” White has been shaping pop culture with his cutting-edge dancehall productions. Signature hits like Popcaan’s “Party Shot” and Vybz Kartel’s “Summertime” have further established the TJ Records brand as a stamp of excellence in Jamaican music.

T.J. also executive produced Vybz Kartel’s last two projects. His latest riddim, “Red Plate,” punches hard with rapid drumbeats and cloudy synth jabs, a fertile environment for wicked lyrics to thrive. “Rifle a left you flat like Bammy,” sings Mavado on “What U Gonna Do,” his latest musical murder scene, “me smiling like me just win a Grammy.” I-Octane delivers another hit for the ladies on “Gal Yuh Body Good,” and Sean Paul spits his “shake dat gyal” game on “Kramp Up.”

On “Half Way Tree,” Vybz Kartel tells the tale of a naughty wife two-timing her man in a taxicab. The rest of the riddim is all about showcasing new talent. Masicka keeps things on the rude boy tip with “Weak Fence,” while someone named Joe Lazer lays down badman rules and laws on “We Nuh Play.” Vershon’s all about his paper on “More Money,” and Raytid gets mad ratings for “Talk Dem Ah Talk.” Then a youth named Negus levels things out with “Wise Medz,” advising, “Real recognize real out a road.” T.J. should know.