Vybz Kartel

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About Vybz Kartel

As wickedly talented as he is controversial, Vybz Kartel has worked hard to ensure that Jamaican music remained the lifeblood of so much hip-hop and R&B. The fact that he’s continued to do it from behind prison bars is one of the many twists in a tumultuous saga that began in 1976, when the dancehall star was born Adidja Azim Palmer in the town of Portmore, Jamaica. After taking his more famous handle from the name of his early group, Vybz Cartel, and writing for Bounty Killer, Kartel scored many hits of his own through the 2000s. He developed a reputation both for formidably fierce lyrical battles with rivals like Mavado and songs about sex and romance like “Romping Shop,” a steamy 2010 duet with Spice. With his Auto-Tune-enhanced vocals and genius for hooks, Kartel put his own stamp on the hottest of riddims. But as Kartel’s appearances on tracks such as Rihanna’s “What’s My Name” and Major Lazer’s “Pon de Floor” boosted his international profile, his troubles at home in Jamaica intensified, leading to his life imprisonment for a 2014 murder conviction. Rather than end his story, Kartel’s incarceration has done little to impede his productivity or his skills, judging by his masterful 2016 album King of the Dancehall, his thrilling collaborations with Busta Rhymes, and his countless fresh disses for his musical rivals.

Portmore, Jamaica
January 7, 1976
Modern Dancehall
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