It seems possible that Vybz Kartel has now put out more music from jail than he ever did when he walked free. This month marks five years that Adidja Palmer has now spent behind bars, and, however he has been doing it, the incarcerated deejay seems to be getting music out to the streets at a more prolific clip than ever.
Keeping up with all the new Kartel that’s been released since Fall 2011 has been a tall order, so we dug into the last half-decade of the World Boss’ catalog to make you a cheat sheet.
The tracks on our “Vybz on Lockdown” playlist showcase the depth of Kartel’s talents as a songwriter and a lyricist, from dutty, hardcore dancehall to sweet love songs and powerful protest tracks. Our playlist begins with “Dancehall,” Kartel’s defiant anthem from 2015’s Vybz is King EP, probably the signature tune of Kartel’s prison era. Next up is his latest hit, “Western Union,” easily one of the most ubiquitous songs in dancehalls at the current moment. (That’s the Western Union in Annotto Bay, Jamaica above, in case you’re wondering). From there, it’s straight hits (“Money Mi A Look,” “Credit Alone Done,” “Miami Vice Episode”) with a few exceptions, like “Slew Them Like David,” a shining example of the sort of conscious tune that tends to be overlooked among Kartel’s more suggestive and gratuitous material.
Whether you’re Gaza 4 Life or someone who’s brand new to dancehall, we think “Vybz on Lockdown” will have you looking at the Worl’ Boss with a whole new level of appreciation.