Essential Kartel: Vybz Kartel’s 30 Most Essential Tunes

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March 31, 2014

1. “Clarks” feat. Popcaan and Gaza Slim


Vybz Kartel was by no means the first dancehall artist to make a song acknowledging the time honored Jamaican tradition of sporting Clarks shoes. But the impact Kartel had with 2010’s “Clarks” is the best reflection Worl’ Boss at his peak, both in terms of songwriting and hype building. With its instantly classic lines (“Real badman nuh model inna shorts/Straight jeans cut off foot pants/ Everybody haffi ask weh mi get mi Clarks”), it remains one of Kartel’s most quotable tunes. It would also prove to be the track which launched the career of eventual Kartel heir apparent Popcaan.

Equally notable was its impact on the sales and prices of Clarks shoes. At the peak of the song’s popularity in June 2010, the The Guardian even had me write an article investigating the phenomenon, which made the front page of the venerable U.K. paper’s Film & Arts section. “Clarks” would eventually become a whole trilogy, followed up subsequently by “Clarks Again”โ€”a collaboration with producer Rvssian worthy of an honorable mention hereโ€”and “Clarks Pt. 3,” aka “Wear Weh Yuh Have.” โ€”Jesse Serwer