Rebelle Loves… Alkaline

Most of my childhood memories are soundtracked to Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Bounty Killa and Buju Banton.

My Mum was/is a die hard Beenie Man and Elephant Man fan but even she cannot deny the greatness of the now incarcerated Vybz Kartel. Kartel dominated dancehall and although he still releases great music whilst behind bars (‘Hi’, ‘Fever’, ‘Hey Addi’), it can be said that there is notably a difference without his heavy presence in the dancehall scene.

I know I am not alone in saying that I miss Vybz Kartel.

Whenever I tell people that Alkaline is currently my favourite dancehall artist, I get two responses: either agreement or disgust. With the latter, I receive a lecture on how the artist is merely a Kartel imposter.

I’d be blind to pretend that there are not clear similarities: the skin bleaching, the tattoos, the hairstyles and the slackness in the lyrics. I’ve been told that people only rate Alkaline as he’s filling a space that Kartel left empty. I personally think that this statement undermines Alkaline;  you cannot deny his talent, style and ability to be the highlight of any riddim he jumps on.

Perhaps Alkaline’s likeness to Vybz Kartel isn’t malicious but instead an homage. Alkaline is similar to me in age and it can be argued that to our generation, Kartel is the biggest dancehall artist we’ve seen in our lifetime.

Maybe Alkaline is merely following in the footsteps of the best example of how to dominate a genre on a global scale.

I guess the question is where does imitation stop being flattery and become exploitation? Especially when one artist is unable to fully capitalise off themselves due to being incarcerated. Although an interesting question, as a fan of both artists, I don’t care to answer or consider it.

Vybz Kartel carbon copy or not, Alkaline is, in my opinion, one of the best artists in dancehall.

See below ten of my favourite Alkaline songs: 

  1. Nice Suh


2.  More Than Happy


3.  Fast


4. Spoil You


5. Extra Lesson


6. Company


7. 12 pm (Living Good)


8. Block and Delete


9. City


10. My Side of the Story


2 thoughts on “Rebelle Loves… Alkaline

  1. drewkiercey

    “I guess the question is where does imitation stop being flattery and become exploitation?” Yo, people need to just stop. Every artiste is influenced by the generation before him and no doubt Alkaline has similarities to Kartel but he is creating his own lane too #SomeSayCopyCatSomeSayEvolution

    Sometimes we as a people just cannot prosper because only one must be at the top, whe competition a go? The music is more than us, if we have more good artistes at the top then the JA brand is stronger #biggerpicture. Endorsing Alkaline is not a diss to Kartel, only ignorant people see it that way #NoBlindFollowersHere.

    Otherwise, I hear you mama. I am a fan too. Alkaline grew on me just this year. Never like the yout, still don’t like his attitude, but after he released Afterall?
    Instant fan of the MUSIC, I swear the song floored me.

    — Blessings

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree, it’s much better for the genre and brand to have more artists than one representing. Kartel and Alkaline can coexist and maybe the competition will drive them to be the best they can be. Afterall is a great song, that would’ve been next on my list. Thank you so much for reading

      Liked by 1 person

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