DJ Tells Gunmen “Too Much War… Cool Star” In Timely 1995 Selection

Mad Cobra was 18 years old when he made his name on the dancehall scene with 1990 hits on the Penthouse label like “Yush” and “Gundelero.” By 1992 he had reached the top of Billboard’s rap chart with the international hit “Flex,” and since then The Big Snake has maintained his standing as one of the top year-to-year artists in dancehall. So it was a huge shock to learn last week that he had been shot in the chest near his home in Braeton, Portmore. The shooting occured on the evening of May 11, just a day after O’Neill Edwards of the group Voicemail was shot in front of his Duhaney Park home. While Edwards remains in critical condition with a bullet in his brain, Cobra (born Ewart Brown) returned home from Spanish Town Hospital to recuperate. But then came even more disturbing news—Cobra’s house had been sprayed with bullets after his return from the hospital. He was reportedly home at the time of the attack but nobody was injured. As prayers go out to both injured entertainers, some critics have been quick to blame the music for the spike in violence, posting callous remarks about “chickens coming home to roost.”

In the case of Voicemail, this argument holds no merit whatsoever, as the group has always specialized in lighthearted songs about dancing and partying. Cobra, on the other hand, has a long history of “shotta” tunes. But as someone calling himself “Gaza Don” recently commented on the DHR forum… “Back in Tosh and Marley’s reign, there were no violent lyrics, so what caused the crime? Things would still be the same even if reggae/dancehall as a genre was never created. Our leaders and other outside forces who have supplied the guns are the real criminals. You know how tough it is to be an entertainer in Jamaica when all the ‘sufferers’ expect you to finance them because ‘you a mek money a road’? Get off the entertainers and address the real issue people… Quick recovery Snake. More prayer for Oneil. Pull thru mi yute.”

In light of recent events, we decided to draw for this little-known 1995 selection, which finds the DJ in roots and reality mode. All those who have ears, let them hear. Run the track…

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