Ten Takeaways From Vybz Kartel’s New Album ‘Of Dons & Divas’

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Vybz Kartel’s latest album is a mature work of mastery from Di Teacha, who shares the stage with his past-students, who are now crowned ‘Dons & Divas’ in the release two days ago.

An embodiment of Adidja’ Vybz Kartel’ Palmer, the reggaeton sounding mix of Of Dons and Divas opens with a gesture of intuition from him. For what seemed to be an intentional move has proven to be a natural course of action for the veteran dancehall artiste, who is known to put the women in his life on a pedestal. This time, he raises the bar beyond words, and puts the ladies first, by opening his new album with an intro from the Divas.

Available for preorders since June 19, 2020, fans have been enjoying the Jimmy Douglas mixed album since its release. As expected, after several weeks of promotion and tease, the album has gained so much traction, it may well be nominated for the Grammy as predicted by Kartel.

Here are ten takeaways from the new album, which you can stream below.

Is it worthy of a Grammy?

This is going to divide opinions until the moment when the nominations (sometime in November) and the eventual winner is announced on January 31, 2021.

In terms of content, composition, reach, and international interest, this album stands a good chance of making the shortlist. Will it win the coveted prize? Probably not.

We have to bear in mind that there are strong contenders this season, and the judges are mainly international players in the industry who have an ear for reggae more than dancehall. There are no reggae tracks on this album, only dancehall, and trap. That being said, this is a formidable effort, and only time will tell where it ends up.

Depend On You is the song with the most longevity.

Keeping this song on replay will come easy to listeners.

As a breath of fresh air, this track presents a ministering voice of comfort and strength to those who think they are at their end. Lyrically, Kartel reminds his fans that they can survive and overcome by their inner strength and determination.

Vybz Kartel - Depend On You (feat. Sikka Rymes) [Dons] - Official Audio

Bad Gyal is the hottest song on the Divas side.

With three different perspectives, Bad Gyal proves itself worthy of this recognition. In its commanding content, three different artistes display their lyrical genius to show the ‘bad gyal’ female in different lights.

Firstly in Skillibeng’s verses, her skills in the bedroom are put on display, with the mirror (being the judge) saying that she does it best.

Then we get a synopsis from Tommy Lee Sparta of her routine to include army training, strip club dancing, and general clubbing.

Finally, we see her in the first person, by way of Jucee Froot, doing her erogenous bedroom antics to the delight of her male partner. In which dancehall arena, would this not be the hottest song on any mix?

Big Buss to All Featured Artistes

Let’s say that this album is nominated and even wins the Grammy for Best Reggae Album, then all these become “grammy” artistes, something that may not have happened for them otherwise. The album features Danii Boo, Daddy1, Jucee Froot, Lisa Hyper, Lisa Mercedez, Redboom, Sikka Rhymes, Skillibeng, Slimatic, Squash, TeeJay, Tommy Lee Sparta, and UTG.

Jump On The Beat is the hottest track on the Dons side.

Jump On The Beat is the hottest track on the Dons side and maybe even the whole album. Delivered in true Kartel style, the almost 4-minute track reveals brisk flow from the three artistes totally en synch with the beat. With a very catchy punchline and skillfully delivered lyrics, this track will be doing the rounds for months to come.

Arranged with by his oldest son Likkle Vybz on the hook, and Squash and Vybz Kartel doing the verses, all three men represented well. Without a doubt, selectors can expect crazy money pull-ups whenever they play this track.

WorldBoss pushes the envelope.

WorldBoss has gone into unchartered waters and has overshot the runways without a crash to open the eyes of the common man so that he can identify the ills of the governance system that obtains. The Worl’ Boss highlights the issues and how it affects society, with his usual strong lyrical composition. In one line, he sings “dem a talk disco and a walk slow jam”; which illustrates the levels to which those in control have brainwashed the common man.

Vybz Kartel - Worldboss (feat. Lisa Mercedez & Redboom) [Dons] - Official Audio

The Collabs are better.

In this eighteen-track album, there are only four solos, all on the Diva side.

In a somewhat uncharacteristic way, none of them stand out as hits when all the tracks have been examined. The collaborations, however, lift the energy of the listener and undoubtedly form more memories.

No two songs are similar.

With the title, we understand that the album is for both male and female audiences. Notwithstanding, commendations must be made for the array of topics and perspectives on show. The “pharaoh” has touched on enough topics to appease to varying demographics of listening ears. This album is full of content, and no two songs are similar.

Kartel’s love life needs formatting.

If you listen keenly to the solos, not paying any attention to the lyrics, you can identify a melancholy tone in all the songs. The Colouring Book deejay is not celebrating love and showcasing anticipation of the next meeting. He is, however, in a reminiscent mood, except for in the track Cute Rider.

Here he highlights the dark and sad side of love and being in love, perhaps in ode to his former common-law wife to mother of three of his seven children, Tanesha ‘Shorty’ Johnson, who stands as co-producer for this album, and the last.  Shorty has “di car and di house keys” as the song says, as well as access to the bank accounts, as she said just before album’s release.

Lisa Mercedez, apparently his current girlfriend, and Lisa Hyper (one of his first), are also on the album, and they clapped back at Shorty’s assertions of still being his leading ‘First Lady.’

Shorty, Lisa Hyper (from left to right)

Kartel’s children shined brightly.

UTG (Likkle Vybz and Likkle Addi) featured very well in the tracks that they were on. Likkle Vybz did the chorus for Jump On The Beat, and Likkle Addi did the first verse in Militant Coup. Two scorching performances to be fair.

Further to that, his musical ‘son’ Tommy Lee Sparta did the best bits in Bad Gyal. The legacy of good music continues in the Gaza family.

So there you have it, another side to Vybz Kartel, the ‘Worl Boss’, the rider, the grown-up, the President, the encourager, the Big Bizniz man; complimented by accelerated collabs, a strong female presence, and the legacy being embraced by the next generation.

Stream Of Dons & Divas below.


Source: Dancehallmag

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