Grammy-nominated artist Kabaka Pyramid has words of wisdom for younger artists who are going for shock-value topics to push their music. In an interview on The Fix, the “Kalling” artist says artists have influence and ought to be cognizant of that and how it shapes their messaging in music.
The reggae artist says that artists should aim to use their music to uplift people’s mindset, especially since many look up to artists.
“You have to have people of a certain frequency of mind. We can’t get there without raising the vibrational level of the people. And we can’t have the levels of poverty, the levels of ignorance, the levels of distraction going around in society and hope to raise the consciousness. Because how people even going choose a leader for themself if we wi self nah no sense and we a say ‘dunce’?” Kabaka asked in the interview.
Kabaka Pyramid joins a list of other artists who have condemned messaging in dancehall music that promotes being “dunce,” a colloquial term for being unintelligent now promoted as something to be proud of in dancehall music as promoted by music from rising artist Valiant and older artists like Chronic Law whose popular phrase “fully dunce” has gone viral.
Artists like Skeng, whose song “Protocol” mentions the use of the drug Molly has gone viral, and others like Alkaline have taken it a step further with videos that seem to show him using what appears to be cocaine. While the lyrics have shocked the public conscience and led to heavy criticism, many artists still believe that it is not their responsibility if fans are influenced.
However, Kabaka Pyramid says he believes that the words should be chosen carefully because they influence the younger generation.
“Word sound is power, you know. So, the word sound weh you put out there that’s the frequency that you bringing around yourself. And that’s the colour that you are putting in your art. So you have to be careful what you saying and doing too. And nuff a dem song yah if me have youth, me nah make dem listen dem ting yah yuh mad!?” the artist said.
While he made an exception for those who don’t know better, the Grammy nominee says artists cannot escape from taking accountability for how their music is received.
“If artists have sense or have any level of intelligence, it’s the intelligence in you that gves you the responsibility or makes it that you should take responsibility for what you are putting out there. If you nah no sense and dunce, I don’t blame you, if you actually dunce and say dunce, I don’t blame you, but if you have sense and you know say you a put out dem vibes and it is having an impact where you ah see the yute actually a take molly in school and all a them thing deh and you know say the word sound that you a put out, somehow is connected to that, to me, you have a responsibility,” he said.
Just last week, Chronic Law clarified in a video that when he uses the term “fully dunce,” it is not to mean that he is promoting unintelligence as he and members of his crew all “had their subjects,” and it was just a saying.
The conversation about promoting dunce and drugs has been ongoing in the dancehall community, with both Valiant and Skeng heavily criticized for the lyrics.