Europe hot for Vybz Kartel

BY HOWARD CAMPBELL Observer senior reporter

Monday, March 10, 2014    

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AS the Vybz Kartel murder trial winds down, the distributor of a multi-song album containing some of the deejay's biggest hit songs, says interest in his music continues to grow.

Tad Dawkins, owner of Tad's Record, told the Jamaica Observer that Kartel Forever: Trilogy, the 60-track album released by the company last September, has sold well in Europe where the flamboyant Kartel has a strong base.

"People in that part of the world still love their roots-rocking reggae but there's something about him (Kartel) that they love," said Dawkins. "I don't know if it's his personality or his controversy, but they love him."

Kartel (given name Adidja Palmer), Shawn Campbell, Kahira Jones, Shane Williams and Andre St John are charged with the August 2011 murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams. The incident allegedly took place at Kartel's home in Havendale, St Andrew.

The five men have pleaded not guilty to the charge. Today, High Court judge Justice Lennox Campbell, who is presiding over the case, will continue his summation.

Since he was arrested and jailed almost three years ago, the lanky Kartel's mystique has grown among diehard supporters. Many of them show up for his dates at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

Dawkins says the greatest support for Trilogy is in Europe, especially France and Germany, countries that usually favour roots-reggae. According to last week's SoundScan (which tracks music sales in the United States) figures, Trilogy had sold a paltry 400-plus copies.

Trilogy is the latest Kartel project released by Tad's Record, an independent company with offices in South Florida and Jamaica. They previously distributed the Pon Di Gaza 2.0 and Pon Di Gaza Mi Sey albums.

Vybz Kartel's career has been marred by several run-ins with the law. His controversial posture has endeared him to the dancehall underground as well as high-profile acts such as American rappers Busta Rhymes and Eminem, with whom he has recorded.

In 2010, Kartel had a sizable hit in the United Kingdom with Clarks, which was done with fellow deejay Popcaan.





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