Dancehall culture is steeped in the pay it forward philosophy, and this has a lot to do with its humble origins. The fact that it first consisted of a small audience, the budding industry relied on a tight community structure, where you would help before and after it was your turn. Ninjaman gave us Bounty Killer, who gave us Mavado and Vybz Kartel, who gave us Popcaan, who gave us Quada, ad infinitum.
In this way, after musicians experience their big break, they create a platform on which younger artists can have an opportunity to do the same, in turn carrying on the culture and the music. But even that isn’t quite right because, along the way of their journey to stardom, every artist receives help or divine intervention through a multitude of people. The process of rising to prominence, especially in Dancehall, is building momentum. It is a domino effect of things that fall into place, some fall under the control of the artist, and most things don’t. But if they want to keep playing the game, they have to step where the way is made.
Yet, there is this greed that is common in people, for sole credit of success. Imagine helping out a person big time. An effort that, in fact, falls into another occurrence, which falls into another until eventually said person comes into great wealth, fame, or both. Now imagine feeling solely responsible for that person’s success, to the point where you don’t want to hear about anyone else who helped along the journey.
Sound sufficiently insane?
Well, that is the place in which the Viral King Foota Hype finds himself. In a sarcastic comment beneath Konshens’ recent post about his hit song Do Sumn’, the veteran Dancehall selector said, “Another classic hit weh mi buss mi love da video ya send mi it.”
In a detailed response listing some of the other people involved in making the song a hit, Konshens brought Foota’s Hype train to a grinding halt.
Foota Hype later went on Instagram Live to vent, insinuating that highlighting the many other contributions made is just some sort of excuse not to give him his due credit. Of course, he went on to say some other things about his feelings that would surprise no one at this point.
This is a fairly common occurrence in Dancehall. Recently, another selector, Tony Matterhorn, claimed a similar thing with Alkaline and many others. So the question is, again, what is the root of this seeming obsession that people in music have with the delusion of being responsible for the success of artistes?
While people should be given their roses while they’re still here, there is a danger in being willing to erase the rest of a person’s journey, just to make the moment you helped them the most important thing.
It’s sad. Sad to watch, sad to think about. But this kind of reckless greed must be checked whenever its head is reared. It’s terrible for the culture because then we forget the real reason why these things worked then and why they work now, which is that we all work together.