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

September 3, 2013

Words by Jesse Serwerโ€”


This week means back to school for kids in many parts of the world, including Jamaica, and Vybz Kartelโ€”yes, Vybz Kartelโ€”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:

โ€”Pull up your pants, and tuck in your shirt
โ€”Don’t bleach your face
โ€”Study for your tests and don’t procrastinate
โ€”Come early to school
โ€”Don’t wear pants too tight
โ€”Make your mother proud
โ€”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.