Yesterday saw the sentencing of Vybz Kartel following his conviction for Murder, for those of you who have some how escape the news; he was sentenced to life with no chance of parole until served at least 35 years. As I said on facebook yesterday the sentence does fit the crime, so I won’t be one of those people that claims to be shocked by his sentence, it’s just shame its come to this, dancehall has lost a very talented individual as we will see below.
Here I will try to take you through my top 41 favorite Kartel songs (in no paticular order), expect some surprises, some hits from his earlier years and plenty of slackness.
So Mi A Say
One of many collabs between Vybz Kartel & Don Corleon we will see in this list, it’s tunes like this that highlight why kartel rose to fame so quickly, lyrics & delivery mixed with a great beat…..”Most Girls love Mi So…..”
Last Man Standing
This tune dropped within 24 hrs of his sting clash with Mavado and was like a final nail in the coffin for Mavado in terms of this clash. Kartel did little more than sum up the clash in this tune but some of the comparisons Kartel uses really hit hard!
Taken from his first album Up to Di Time, this cut on the Marmalade riddim was a banger! There’s a saying that a beat is only half a song and this is a great example
Badda Dan Dem
Kartel killed the Casablanca riddim with this boastful track. At the time kartel offered something so different to what dancehall had been offering and anyone who can remember the original Life Of Grime Mix CD (In the days of the physical CD) will remember this track kicked off the whole series!
In days before smartphones, Kartel released this lyrical bomb! Cheekily using the “Hello Motto” tagline Motorola (remember them) had used in an advert around the same. Kartel’s use of melody to emulate phone sounds and the line “Can You Hear Me Now” were brillaint!
White Trash Party Remix
Vybz Goes toe to toe with one of Hip Hop’s finest Eminem on his remix and easily delivers, it’s tunes like this that make me wonder why no one within Hip Hop reach out properly.
Frontin’ Def Jamaica Remix
Part of the Def Jamaica Album, Kartel, teams up with Wayne Marshall and of course Jay Z & Pharrell to produce one of my favorite dancehall remixes. Not Much more to say really except BIG TUNE!!!
Kartel in full Teacha mode, although many blamed Kartel for everything under the sun. This is Vybz talking directly to youths and talking a lot of common sense – that teamed with a classic riddim equals this great track.
Produced by Vertex, this combo with Jah Cure shows Kartel’s other side. At the time this was rumored to be part of a album project that would of see the Worl’ Boss take on his Addi Di Teacher alter ego for an entire album, Kartel’s Social commentary is often overlooked but this highlights how good he was at it
Thank You Jah Jah
If you read the Vybz Kartel book, he explains this track in detail in the first chapter, taken from the Gangster City Riddim, his lyrics sit nicely over Not Nice’s simple chord progression. Even after 3 years this track is still huge!
Move Your Body Remix
Just what this tune needed, from the minute Jabba shouts remix the madness begins! “Ladies ride ride it….”
Brilliant Marketing hear from Kartel, advertising his rum through a big tune. Imagine how much it would cost to get an advert out to the amount of people this tune has reached, plus its a big tune!
Touch A Button Nuh
From the intro drops, you no what time it is! The damage this tune used to do in a dance!
Love this tune, partly because I can do a great british accent just like kartel 😉 Also any tune that features the line “Come In the kitchen lets have a cup of tea” get’s my endorsement.
The Soundtrack to many peoples summer and Kartel perfectly provides that summer vibe, also a big break for swedish producer Adde Instrumentals.
Business itself could be on this list but teaming it with DJ Snake & Lil Jon’s Turn It Down For What was a masterstroke by Willy Chin, similar vibe to Touch a Button Nuh and this tune is doing damage!
Kartel & Wayne Marshall combo often in the early years and this was their first real commercially successful tune (I remember seeing the video on MTV Base)
Picture This (Me & You)
Classic on the blackout riddim, using the popular Nursery Rhyme to provide this great slice of slackness
Kartel & The Doctor on one tune! What a combo, especially as at the time Vybz Kartel was Bounty Killer’s Protogje
Sweet To Di Belly
Kartel working with Don Corleon who produced much of his first album their relationship produced some big tracks and none bigger than this
Go A Jail
In Combo with Alozade on this piece from the Chrome Riddim, hopefully life really is a cushy for him in Jail as his going to be there a long while.
“First Thing we do when we wake up” – Big Weed anthem! Need I Say more
Often Exclaimed in dances by patrons! It’s one of those tunes that has people screaming the lyrics regardless of the content, I wonder if Kartel looks back on that tune as his recent content is very far removed
Taken off the divisive Kingston Story Album produced by Dre Skull, this is a simple track that allowed Kartel to deliver some heart felt lyrics.
Go Go Wine
Another Dre Skull collab and big one at that! The Bass on this tune is immense and his lyrics encourage the ladies to buss that “Go Go” wine
The title says it all, puts many MCs/Rappers too shame
The Lyricist part 2
Part 2 of the above track – Kartel effortlessly delivering lyrical fire!
Addi di teacha on this one teach the ladies the ABC with a difference!
Buss It Up
Kartel alongside Kano on this grime inspired track, can you imagine Kartel on a Grime Set??
Pon Di Floor
Without this combo many people would not of been introduced to Kartel, although he only features briefly the combo with Major Lazer’s beat took dancehall to a new audience.
Took Neyo’s Miss Independent and made it his own to the point where people associate the riddim with him more that Neyo.
Slackness pure and simple but even when talking slackness Kartel makes hits
Send Fi MI Army
There’s a lot of warish tunes I could of picked but this is my favorite – one of them tunes that make selectors gassed!
Straight Jeans & Fitted
Kartel always mixed fashion and dancehall well and this combo with Russian run dances across the world!
This song fuelled the Gaza/Gully rivalry in the UK I remember being in a club in essex and got asked by a rather intoxicated raver if I was Gully or Gaza my answer “Let me tell you about Gaza…”
Get Your Own Lighter
Any song I can use to tell my bredrins not steal my lighter is a winner with me. Plus it features the line “Jesus Christ Fatty gone pon di sound box….Cross mi Fingers hope she don’t drop”
More Freestyle than track at only 1min 18secs but still better than a lot of artists full tracks
This alongside his piece on Set Mi Free riddim and English town seemed to run “Urban” raves for years and considering the slackness this was huge hit!
As Soon as “Hustle di Money” comes in the whole dance lights up! At a time when there was lots of big tunes centered around the ladies this was a man dem anthem! taken off the brilliant Good Life riddim this still gets a huge response now
Kartel has always had a knack for summing up periods in dancehall and this tune sums up perfectly what was happening at the time
From mentions in The Guardian to Clarks themselves Acknowledging that sales went up after this tune, this is truly a modern anthem. Although not being the first to sing about Clarks he brought desert boots back to the masses
This freestyle was featured on the Up To Di Time CD and is bad!