Words by Richard “Treats” Dryden
On The Simpsons, Bart is also known as El Barto or Bartman. Outside of the show, his newest alter ego is Vybz Bartel. The minds behind RepJA—a Jamaican lifestyle brand inspired by dancehall music and culture—have re-imaged Bart in Kartel’s tattoos, a “Free Worl Boss” T-shirt (#meta), and the Gaza hand gesture. “If you check di levels, Bart and Kartel are one in the same based on their characteristics and disruptive appeal. It was a natural fusion once we started thinking about both characters,” says RepJA co-founder Omar Anthony. Bartel follows earlier RepJA takes on pop art like their “Girls Dem Sugar” tee, which combined the classic Domino Foods logo with a nod to Beenie Man’s classic dancehall lyric.
Bart Simpson’s chameleon-like way of being aligned with other pop culture figures is already widespread in hip-hop. Killa Bart dons Cam’Ron’s pink silhouette and cell phone, MF Bart wears DOOM’s mask, and Bart’s dream of rapping like The Game. Reggae-wise, Bootleg Bart T-shirts have shown him as a Rasta, or as a member of a funky family reggae band. Those Bootleg Bart references to Jamaica make extra sense because the show’s creator, Matt Groening hearts reggae. We also heard Lucas Dipasquale is also feeling the Vybz Bartel tee. Grab one this holiday.