Wednesday 3 June, 2020

Vybz Kartel talks hip hop influence, process behind 'To Tanesha' album

Vybz Kartel

Vybz Kartel

Dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel showcases a softer, more personal and introspective side through his new album affectionately titled, 'To Tanesha'.

Released on January 10, the 10-track album is dedicated to the incarcerated dancehall icon's common-law wife, Tanesha Johnson, popularly known as “Shorty”.

In a press release, Kartel opened up about the project taking a step in a new direction by being a centrally hip hop and R&B album. 

“Like I said, it’s definitely a hip hop and R&B album as far as the tracks and a lot of the language I use, but trust me when I say I am in no way trying to be a hip hop artiste or switching genre camps!  It’s just a dancehall artiste expressing certain emotions to his baby mom and I decided it would be a pleasant surprise to express those emotions through other black urban genres. I mean R&B and Hip Hop are huge in Jamaica and maybe even played more than Dancehall so it’s not an alien concept,” Kartel stated in the release.

To Tanesha is co-produced by Short Boss Muzik and Vybz Kartel Muzik, with engineering done by Ricardo "RedBoomSupaMix" Reid. The album features some of dancehall and reggae’s most prolific artistes such as Jesse Royal and Jada Kingdom, as well as Jodi Couture, UTG and Sikka Rymes, who are signed to the Vybz Kartel Muzik label.

 "As it relates to Jada Kingdom and Jesse Royal, they are two people who I admire and while listening to each track I just felt that their unique styles were the right match for the project,” the artiste explained. 

Known for a plethora of music, Kartel explained the process of creating the tracks for the album.

“Shaping the sound for this new album was a "play by ear" process as I’ve never done a hip hop and R&B- influenced album before but being a big fan of my American cousins' genres, I pretty much knew how to shape my original melodies. I actually wrote nine of the songs on dancehall beats and switched the tracks to hip hop via Jay Crazie the Genius and one other beat was already Hip Hop; that one is from Guala beats,” he said.

Distributed by Zojak Worldwide, 'To Tanesha' is available for streaming and purchase on all major digital platforms online.

 “I'd like to thank my engineer Ricardo "RedBoomSupaMix" Ried , also the Composers on the album, Jay Crazie da Genius and Guala Beats , thanks to TJ Records for getting things done when I couldn’t , to my distributor Zojak World Wide (especially Zoe ) and last but the opposite of least , To Tanesha (pun intended) thanks for being my muse.”

Kartel, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, is currently serving a life sentence for the murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams. He is currently awaiting a Court of Appeal ruling after challenging the conviction. 

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