Werl’ a Books: Vybz Kartel Goes Back to “School”

Words by Jesse Serwer—


This week means back to school for kids in many parts of the world, including Jamaica, and Vybz Kartel—yes, Vybz Kartel—has a message for them. The currently incarcerated dancehall star may not fit your notion of a role model but his influence on Jamaican youth can not be understated. Fortunately, he’s used his platform to drop an effectively simple back-to-school PSA that doubles as a really, really good dancehall song. The succinctly titled “School” finds Kartel chatting in a Shabba-like fashion, over a ’90s dancehall-style riddim quite similar to the one from Kartel’s Shabba tribute, “Gaza Ting A Ling.” Among the advice dispensed by the deposed Werl’ Boss:

—Pull up your pants, and tuck in your shirt
—Don’t bleach your face
—Study for your tests and don’t procrastinate
—Come early to school
—Don’t wear pants too tight
—Make your mother proud
—Don’t be a duncehead

The track, which features some pretty cool, Clovis-inspired artwork too (despite the similar aesthetic, we’re guessing that Clovis, one of Jamaica’s most outspoken critics of Kartel, didn’t draw it himself) will be featured on the upcoming triple-disc album Kartel is dropping Sept. 24. Stream it below, and you might find yourself looking at Kartel in a new light.