Acclaimed Jamaican deejay and producer, Imperial has called on disc jocks in his native Jamaica to stop showing bias and prejudice after insisting they slighted a song he produced for Dancehall artist, Mr. Peppa, that has since been remixed by Payday Music Group.
The song in question is Gangster Gorilla, a song written by Imperial that Mr. Peppa voiced in 2010 on the Motion Picture Juggling rhythm, for which a medley video promoting it topped local charts. However, the song received little airplay back home, to his frustration. An alleged remake of the song, which sees Mr. Peppa team up with Bounty Killer on the Party Spree Riddim, has been garnering regular rotation on radio, something he noticed when traveling to Jamaica earlier this month to promote his new album, Dancehall Knowledge: Volume 3.
Speaking on Thursday, Imperial accuses disc jockeys in Jamaica of playiing the political card too often, making it hard for wide-ranging talents like himself to gain mainstream traction.
“Many multi talented artistes in Jamaica have it hard because people feel you should only stick to singing and leave producing for so-called producers,” he said. “It has come to my realization that many disk jocks are also producing or have strong aspiration in becoming artistes, which leads to them focusing more on their, or their friends material ignoring many other production which leads to frustration and hence making you either want to quit and exit the game.
“Most disk jocks in Jamaica have formed an alliance and they all play each other material, whether be good or bad, and suppress others who are not in their circle,” he continued. “It all comes down to either you going to pay to get play or voice on one of these disc jock rhythm, or either go to extreme measures to keep a buzz around you and your music.”
Imperial says he does not plan to take any action as a result, saying that if the original song he produced had gotten airplay, Mr. Peppa would not have sought help elsewhere to do a remix. Neither Mr. Peppa nor Payday Music Group have commented on the matter.
“I think the artiste felt it was a good song that had not gotten the justice it deserved which lead him to try with it a second time,” he said.
He believes the ‘friend and company’ mentality in the local music industry has slowly killed it, with selfish motivations putting Dancehall as a whole in a flux.
“I think this kind of mentality that these DJs have is leading to the suppression and stifling of many talented artistes which is killing the music,” he said. "Most of us are suffering in the business because of the politics that surrounds the music in Jamaica. It's a crab inna barrel thing going on down here, because everybody see the music as a way out of poverty or to better their lives, everybody want to be an artiste or producer. Jamaica is such a small island with so many want to be on top.”
“It is leading to a silent chaos. After doing a year or two on top of your game, people start to think it's time to move over and make way for the next person waiting in line. Where does that leave the career artiste? Many good artistes are prematurely forced out of the game due to lack of air play and promotion that stems from favoritism or payola.”
Meanwhile, Imperial continues to promote Dancehall Knowledge: Volume 3 – released earlier this month, which features hits such as Days Like These and Real Ghetto Story.