Vybz Kartel has been in prison for a very long time, but remains the most popular dancehall act in Jamaica and internationally. But how is this possible?
When 2Pac became the first artist to top the Billboard 200 album chart while serving a prison sentence in 1995 and Lil Wayne became the second in 2010, critics hailed both for their ability to remain relevant despite incarceration.
Neither 2Pac nor Lil Wayne spent longer than 11 months in jail and their respective albums, Me Against the World and I Am Not a Human Being, were promoted and distributed with the assistance of large record companies.
However, Kartel has been locked up for 15 months (and counting) and his music receives very little support – even the world’s biggest reggae label, VP Records, has never released one of his albums.
And yet, Kartel’s singles dominate the underground party scene, arguably more so than in the months prior to his incarceration in September 2011.
Personally, we’ve never seen anything like it before, in any genre.
We’re hearing this everywhere – bars, clubs and on the street and radio – and guarantee it will be played well into 2013 and beyond.