If you haven’t heard, two bulls are in the pen and we all know ‘two bulls cyaa reign in a one pen.’ So what exactly does that mean for Jamaican musician icons Buju Banton and Vybz Kartel who both will be releasing their highly anticipated albums Upside Down 2020 and Of Dons & Divas respectively on the same day, June 26?
Many might jump to instigate a competition while music lovers will just bask in the abundance of the music. The conservatives of the reggae demographic may not be concerned at all for the other, dancehall, and vice versa.
Dancehall enthusiasts will agree, this may be a cause for concern and perhaps more so for stream-chaser, Vybz Kartel. The Worl’ Boss is known to turn into a bit of a stiff when his music is not streaming as expected or his ranking on the music charts isn’t to his liking.
The declaration has already been made, not only is Kartel’s upcoming 17-track album Of Dons & Divas described as having “more features than an iPhone 20” by its chief author (Kartel) but is also predicted to snatch a Grammy award for Best Reggae Album.
On that premise alone, it would appear the Worl’ Boss is making the right strides to outshine the outstanding Gargamel. However many will argue that as being a stretch, considering Banton’s distinction in music as well as the epic journey that lead him to his latest piece of work, Upside Down 2020.
The long-awaited 20-track collection marks Buju Banton’s first album in a decade. His last was the Grammy Award-winning Before the Dawn in 2010.
While Kartel has added a long string of collaborations with fresh local talents such as Sikka Rhymes, Skillibeng, Daddy1, Lisa Mercedez and Lisa Hyper to name a few, Buju has charged up his upcoming album with some pretty big international celebs, namely Pharrell Williams, Stephen Marley, John Legend, and Stefflon Don.
With that being said, Upside Down 2020 may very well be one of Kartel’s biggest competitors, presuming Of Dons & Divas even makes the list of Grammy nominees.
Both albums fit the bill of prerequisites to qualify for Grammy nomination, some of which are the length of the album, exceeding a minimum of 5 tracks and 15 minutes of playing time, have proven sales of streams online or via commercial distribution (both albums already went on pre-order) and very importantly, released between September 1, 2019, and August 31, 2020.
A lot of the responsibility falls on the record labels of course; once an album is submitted at the right time with the adequate financial backings then there is a pretty good chance of joining the Grammy roster, taking into account that the music is actually something to talk about.
With less than a week to go and varying attitudes of anticipation, ultimately the release of these two mega albums is expected to be a huge feat in Jamaican music.
Music industry analyst Clyde McKenzie seems to think that it will be, he believes there are only potentially good things that can come from this epic undertaking in local music.
In a discussion with The Gleaner he said, “Some people may say it’s better to have the game for yourself rather than having to divide the attention, but in reality, if they can both get good promotion, that can be a good thing for the genre.”
He went on to point out that competition will always exist in this arena but each album carries very different weights, saying, “Upside Down 2020 and Of Dons and Divas are not necessarily catering to the same audience. And depending on how the media spins it, the story could become both, rather than one or the other, and so it becomes beneficial to the entire industry.”
We can expect to see these two titans, Buju and Kartel on the music charts for their albums very soon and the way it works sometimes is that one may top the charts this week while the other replaces and shifts its way in that position the following week, but the big question is … will one be snatching a Grammy next year?