Artistes ‘rep’ St Andrew community
This is the second of a 10-part series called Pon Di Ends in which we feature communities that have influenced Jamaica's music.
LOCATED in the North West St Andrew constituency, Duhaney Park is one of several low-income housing schemes built by the Matalon family during the early 1970s.
In the heart of Duhaney Park is Sherlock Crescent, a neighbourhood plagued by gang violence, stemming from disputes with nearby Brook Valley.
Sherlock Crescent is not all crime. It is where dancehall artistes such as Konshens, Baby Cham, Delus, RP Bramma, and Mr G grew up and learned their craft.
"Sherlock is a great community... it is not all violence. Almost everyone is bringing in a salary even if it means setting up shops, Delus told Splash during a tour of his old neighbourhood this week.
Delus (given name Delmark Spence) was born in Sherlock Cresent but relocated to Newcastle in the cool Blue Mountain range, then it was on to Up Park Camp where his father, a soldier in the Jamaica Defence Force, was stationed.
He and his siblings, including younger brother Konshens, returned to the community for visits on weekends and holidays.
On Wednesday, he was back in Sherlock, checking out friends and his grandmother Reice Murray, herself a former singer.
Before her grandson led a tour of the strip, she serenaded her guests with a rendition of Joe Hunter's Since I Met You Baby.
According to 32-year-old Delus, although he loved music he had no intention of making it a career.
"I didn't partake in any talent shows or concerts at school. The first recording came about after Konshens and I heard a 'riddim' produced by Cash Flow Records and decided to just build lyrics around it," he said.
His first recording, Medz Pon Di Corner, was done in 2004 when the brothers performed as Sojah.
"At the time I was back on Sherlock Crescent and the inspiration for the song came from the on-going gang war between Sherlock and Brook Valley," he explained. "No one would jus' chill and build back on the corners as they were fearful for his or her life."
Medz Pon Di Corner did well locally and in Japan which earned the brothers shows in that country.
Delus, who is known for songs like What Tomorrow May Bring, She's Happy (another collaboration with Konshens), Look Another Gal, Live we Life and True Love, says things are much calmer in Sherlock Crescent these days.
"The crime rate is much lower now and like most inner-city communities there are different classes of people living here from doctors, journalists, vendors, to the peanut man," he said.
Upcoming singjays Alex 'So Sick' Campbell and Mario 'Devious' Mundle also call the area home. They are inspired by incidents that have defined Sherlock Crescent.
Devious is best known for songs like Garrison Life and Give Thanks.
"I lost one of my very close friend to violence a few months ago and that was really hard. But despite the negatives, there are lots of positives; the community remains vibrant as there are weekly street dances," he said.
Sherlock Crescent Entertainers, Devious noted, have always given back to the community.
"The children can always look forward to some form of treat in the summer or at Christmastime. Entertainer like Konshens contribute to various back-to-school projects," he stated.