Kiprich brings the fire to salary debate with scorching new freestyle
... says current state of Jamaica can’t be ignored

Dancehall deejay Kiprich has been catapulted into the spotlight following the recent release of his socially conscious track, ‘System Freestyle’.

The track gives voice to the current state of affairs on the island, tackling issues such as increasing levels of poverty, income inequality, crime, political censorship and corruption.

While admitting that he is more known for humorous songs and songs aimed at other deejays, Kiprich told OBSERVER ONLINE that the current state of affairs was very hard to ignore.

“I am not switching to more socially conscious music, it is just about loving my country and hearing the cry of the people and I just decide that I’ll contribute in terms of being the voice, at the moment, for the voiceless,” said Kiprich.

While issues of political corruption among other social ills have always plagued Jamaica, Kiprich says the current state of affairs is on a new level.

“I know that corruption has always been there and people always crying about government and stuff like this. But now, is a major shift from back then to now. It is like I am hearing more cries at the moment. Fans actually reach out to me and say, ‘Kippo, come on, no artiste nah go talk bout this, like what’s happening right now, with the state of the country and how we feel and them kind of thing deh,’ is like everyone just accept what’s going on,” Kiprich explained.

“Remember I am an artiste and I hail from communities where a lot of poor people is from, as in garrison communities, like Waterhouse and Spanish Town. So, when me as a public figure from the community, who is someone that is out there, and these people don’t have it, they’re going to find a shoulder to lean on and I can only do so much, I can’t help everyone. But when I see how much people reaching out, even people that never used to call; and calling me now about monetary assistance. People saying they can’t find money for basic needs and them thing deh, I have never seen it like this,” added Kiprich.

Kiprich was quick to note that the freestyle was not aimed at bashing any administration or to indicate a party preference, adding that the song’s only objective was to provide a platform for the people’s cries.

When asked if he was in agreement with the massive salary hikes for members of the political directorate, the Telephone Ting singer said he believes that the move was unconscionable given the levels of suffering in the country.

“No, I can’t agree because when I see people suffering so much and crying out, I can’t agree with them taking that huge 200 and something per cent salary raise – it is unconscionable,” said Kiprich.

Kiprich, when asked about why other artistes are yet to address the social situation in their music, shared that he felt that they may be afraid, fearing victimisation and increased censorship.

“Maybe most of them feel like them ago get in a some sort of problem. Because you know it is a thing out there where dem seh everybody who say something about the prime minister or his governance, them get approached by police and them haffi apologise,” explained Kiprich.

“We not stupid to do no disrespectful talk or put that out there. We talking things that is in the news and we talking things that people are actually saying out there and you know crying about. So, we don’t do it in a disrespectful form,” added Kiprich.

He went on to share that the freestyle which he penned on his own was produced in collaboration with his brother, Ricardo Plunkett, and beat maker Aaron Richardson affectionately known as ‘Brim Brim’; who remixed the “Maria Maria” beat.

Since its release less than a week ago, the song has been making the waves on TikTok, getting major buzz locally and in the diaspora and even among the religious community.

Kiprich has since recorded a special version of the song for the church community, who have been clamouring for a sanitised version of the freestyle.

Despite having been out of the spotlight for a bit, Kiprich used the occasion to share that he had recently re-engaged his former manager Robert Livingston and was in the studio working on a new project.

DENIECA BROWN , Observer Online writer

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