Grime pushing ‘Spanish Town era’ of dancehall

June 06, 2022
Roze Don
Roze Don

Dancehall has seen periods where several artistes simultaneously rise and reign from the same area, like the Portmore takeover of the mid-2000s thanks to Vybz Kartel's Gaza Empire, and the trap-dancehall wave popularised by Rygin King and Squash's 6ix clique from Montego Bay in recent years.

Today, Spanish Town is arguably responsible for some of the hottest names in the business, including Skeng, Roze Don, Roshawny BadG, Nervz, and of course Koffee. Speaking to THE STAR, Roze Don opined that we're witnessing the "Spanish Town era".

"I'm extremely proud to see artistes from the area doing exceptionally well and making use of the time and opportunity given to them, for I think a few years from now the wave will move on to another parish," the Spain Town Badness hitmaker said. "Also I've seen where artistes leave their hometown to represent Spanish Town and they've gained massive success as well. This makes me proud to say I'm from Spanish Town and anyone who lives in the parish can say so. Extremely proud."

Slyngaz, who is originally from St Elizabeth, is one such artiste embracing Spanish Town, evident on his song Fully Spain Town.

The old capital has yielded its fair share of stars including Papa San, Lady G, D'Angel, Chronixx and Govana, but those names have done well at different times. Roshawny BadG attributes the change to the unique, grimy sound from the current artistes, aside from Koffee.

"Mi just feel like people haffi accept certain styles," he said. "At a certain point, everybody was just looking at Montego Bay and the MoBay style and sound came from the whole 'chopping' thing. Spanish Town nuh do trap music because Spanish Town nuh do the 'chopping'. The grimy sound describes our culture because that is what Spanish Town is more known for, grime," he said. "It's just the style weh a work now. We lingo and the way we do things unique so youths weh we grow with really a get the chance now fi tek over the world. Every artiste and producer a Spanish Town now have a better feeling seh dem can mek it out."

They've been getting support from their older peer, Govana who recently did a UK tour with Skeng. Govana also collaborated with Roshawny BadG on Baghdad, a 'full circle moment' for the artiste who described Govana as a mentor since meeting him while attending Jonathan Grant High School in St Catherine.

"My work prove a lot for itself for him to say 'Yuh bad, a time now'. That song has done a lot for my career," said Roshawny BadG. He also recently released a new single titled Likkle Easier.

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