Check it Deeply: Busy Signal’s “Text Message” Video

Words by Jesse Serwer
busy-signal-text-message

When it comes to telecommunications, dancehall always has its finger on the pulse of the latest trends.

Back in the flip-phone era, Mr. Lexx and Vybz Kartel tapped once-ubiquitous ringtones and described how they get gyal regular on the cellular on “Ring off My Cellie” and “U Nuh Have a Phone (Hello Moto),” respectively. More than a decade later, the smartphone generation has a proper dancehall anthem in “Text Message” by Busy Signal. (An artist whose paranoiac badman anthem “Unknown Number” deserves some mention here as well).

The brilliance of “Text Message,” which dropped in March but feels poised for some sort of a summer breakthrough,  is in how Busy captures the foibles of communication in the age of multitasking. There’s the girl who can’t spell right (“OMG, LOL, she a type bere fuckery cause she cyan spell/Gyal yuh nah have spellcheck, DWL”), the one who can only talk on Whatsapp (“Is a next gyal deh/Say she nah have nuh credit but she in a wi-fi spot/She cyan SMS, only can Whatsapp”) and the one who leaves melodramatic Voice Notes when she doesn’t hear right back from you. Do any of these ladies sound familiar?

Naturally, a track with lyrics this visually rich had to have a colorful video. The clip features Busy in both human and emoji form and, in a moment that may also feel true to life for some, ends abruptly when one of the girls texting with Busy is found out by her man.

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