One of my friend’s brothers used to go on about how amazing it was that so much great music could come from such small (and relatively crappy/depressing) places— Jamaica, England, New Jersey, etc.  That phenomenon is especially true for Jamaica, a tiny island that successfully managed to create one of the world’s most popular and interesting genres.  While reggae and its various subgenres have been hijacked by Americans and other non-Jamaicans around the globe and made into extremely profitable (and sometimes extremely good) music, it’s easy to forget about the music that’s actually from Jamaica.

Vybz Kartel is one of those awesome young reggae artists that does hail from the Caribbean island.  Unfortunately, he’s also slightly controversial.  According to Vice, the artist’s label, the dancehall musician is “currently being held in connection to two murder charges.”

Vice recently released a video for Vybz Kartel’s song “My Crew.”  The video was shot with an extremely low budget (around $200) and takes place on the streets of “the Portmore area of Kingston, Jamaica, which Vybz Kartel has named ‘Gaza City’.”

The video is interesting because of the hip-hop influences that seem to have overtaken Jamaica’s youth culture.  Vybz Kartel’s “crew” repeatedly flashes gang signs and rocks hip-hop outfits.  The song itself has a hip-hop feel as well, as it uses quite a bit of auto-tune (waiting on the Snoop Lion collab).  Of course dancehall’s always been connected with rap, but the gang-oriented behavior of these kids is somewhat unsettling.  Still, the video offers a straightforward, non-glamorous look at youth culture in Kingston.  Vice claims that they’re going to drop another video shot in the same area (at night, though), sometime next week.  Looking forward to hearing more from Vybz Kartel and seeing more from Kingston, Jamaica.  Check out the video below.

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