Don’t Ramp With Kartel

Daggering” is more than the latest yardie slang for sex, it’s a ritualized theater of the absurd that’s taken the dancehall by storm with acrobatic, thigh-bruising dance moves and a slew of songs cashing in on the controversial trend. It’s not like this machete/manhood metaphor is anything new. Nobody flipped out over Lady Saw’s “Stab Up The Meat” did they? Okay, maybe a few people did, but somehow the whole thing seems more appropriate when the young lady asks to be daggered.

Nevertheless, Jamaica’s Broadcasting Commission has ordered the island’s radio, TV, and cable operators to delete all “Dagggering” songs and videos from their playlists or face “strong disciplinary action.”

Check out the JBC’s excruciating statement here. Among the artists dragged into the fray was Vybz Kartel, whose addictively explicit duet with Spice, “Rampin Shop” has been one of the biggest tunes in Jamaica since late last year. When Spice’s seductive voice is all T-Pained-up, begging “Kartel spin me like a satellite dish,” the mind boggles, but the flesh knows just what to do.

Although the song makes no mention of “Daggering” per se, Kartel does assert early on that “Me cocky longer than me knife.” Six of one, half dozen of the other—the Kartel and Spice duet is right up at the top of any list of verboten “Daggering” songs. Mind you, it’s not as if a record that jacks the beat from Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent” and requires every third word to be edited for radio play was rising to top of anybody’s international pop charts any time soon. Still, Kartel was none too pleased at the Daggering moratorium. After all, he’s got a line of condoms to promote by the same name.

So the DJ was in no mood for rampin’ when, on February 1st, the Jamaica Gleaner published a letter to the editor from Esther Tyson, principal of Ardenne High School in St. Andrew parish. Said letter described Kartel’s record as “musical poison,” and went on to relate the results of an informal poll of the school’s 1930 students, 115 of whom responded in writing. The principal was pleased to report that “all but two of these students describe the song as being disgusting, inappropriate for air play and having a negative impact on their psyche.” The letter was subsequenly hailed as “courageous” by another Gleaner reader. (Though nowhere near as courageous as the two students who dared to disagree with their prinicipal and cast their votes in defense of daggering.)

Whereupon Kartel flipped into Addi Di Teacha mode, responding with a letter of his own. The Gleaner ran an abridged version in its February 9th edition. But as a public service to the Boomshots massive, here is the DJ’s emailed response, in its entirety. We report, you decide:

Response to Ms Tyson’s circus clown antics:

Dear Sir, Madam,

This is a response to an article written by Esther Tyson and advocated by the rest of the social hypocrites who claim “Romping Shop” is “musical poison.”

I understand the term “to whom much is given, much is expected” but I’m not to be expected by society or “finger pointers” to make my fans or the rest of jamaica “computer literate” or lead the nation into becoming the epitome of morality because I’m not a religious leader, nor am I a political one. I’m not the government, I never received foreign millions to invest in the country’s spiraling infrastructure to build schools and develop and cultivate social programs in the communities and hid it in my personal bank book. I was never indicted in any political scandal, never built a garrison community, never set any elections or stole ballots. My obligation to the public is to produce music that is of the highest musical quality (on key, in sync with rhythm, audible etc…) the morality of my songs is relative, meaning each individual depending on his/her social upbringing determines if my songs are “slack” and since the “majority” like it… point taken?

Ms. Tyson, I think you are a woman with a lot of personal issues looking for an avenue to vent your sexual frustration and/or anxiety, and you found the perfect scapegoat for your conquest via “Romping Shop.” I see that you are quick to point out that the song begins with the homophobic phrase, “Man to man, gal to gal, that wrong” (what a way you listening keenly). It seems you’re clearly against my declaration of homophobia. When, on the other hand, the national outrage (from straight people) when Peter King was found to be sexually exploiting young boys, didn’t arouse your anger enough for you to write a letter to the editor.

Ms. Tyson, the “Devastating impact on the psyche of Jamaican children” is not caused by “daggering” songs; but, rather by socio-economic conditions which leave children without free education; single parent homes, (or shacks) lack of social infrastructure in ghetto communities, as well as unemployed and disenfranchised young men, with no basic skills, who are caught up in the “gun culture” cultivated by our politicians in the ’60’s / ’70’s. These issues are all faults of the government (PNP or JLP).

When Vybz Kartel did “Money Fi Spen”


(with the intro being “We nah run dung gun…we nah run dung war”) and it went to number one on the charts, no accolades were given.

When I did “Emergency”


no accolades were given either; but, when the same audience that embraced all those “reality” songs embraced “Romping Shop” for what it is, i.e., music, it’s a problem to you and yours, the scribes and pharisees of our time! What have any of you done to enrich the culture and the coffers of Jamaican music, especially dancehall music, that makes you think you have the right to criticize and chastise a (sub)culture, which you clearly know nothing about? When we go abroad and achieve international fame and recognition, you self-righteous hypocrites “jump pon di wagon” with awards and merits… “Romping Shop” is just as easily accesable to the public as porn sites on the internet (via laptop or phone), R-rated movies or carnival revelers “daggering” in broad daylight, uptown, and also on our local and cable television stations.

Incidentally, has anyone ever wondered why this song is so big? Because everybody loves it! That is the whole bottom and top line. Contrary to what a lot of you self-righteous zealots portray, you are usually actually some undercover freaks of nature, to the point of being into fetishes like “bi”/”try” sexual, Jekyll and Hyde characters.

Ms. Tyson, the “Decent well-thinking citizens of Jamaica,” as you put it, love “Romping Shop”! Only you and a few impotents are against it. At least publicly, and knowing the big hypocrites that you socialites are, I can bet the bank that you romp to this song.

In conclusion, Ms. Tyson, I encourage you to use the obviously plentiful spare time that you have on your hands to stop “policing morality” and write about things that actually affect the nation like, I dunno, probably a light bulb scandal, etc., and stop making much ado about nothing.


Adidja Palmer






31 Responses

  1. somebody says:

    I’m not going to be bias, i understand both sides but Mr. Palmer, be realistic, Mrs Tyson is a principal and her main interest is in the children not in you. I am a student and I witness everyday how fellow studnets behave because of the music. Have a heart, she not stopping you from singing she’s just wants for it not to be played on air. You and I both know that her opinion is not based on selfishness. Just give it a chance, music really does affect our lives as teenagers, I can honestly say I listen to music at least 90% of the day and many other teenagers do as well.

  2. lisa says:

    Amen, “somebody”! You speak and write the truth. Adults–principals, teachers, coaches, parents, artists–hold the youth’s minds, hearts, and souls in their metaphorical hands. When we as adults see children and teens play games, box, or engage in sexually charged interaction, it is real. A singer or producer may have in mind a certain goal of esthetic, tone, or killer beat. The youth feel the vibration and reflect the message every day without the benefit of filters, supports, or reources lacking in evidenced in music/video studios. As an adult (who is a musician, artist, teacher, principal) I must say that words have power, as clear in the book of Genesis and the world of living that we all share. Words have power. Pop stars, do you use weapons or tools? We teach whaat we live. Show , not tell. It is no merely intended , but unintended responsibility that you yield. Be thee aware and responsible. All love, peace, passion in pursuit of higher purpose- LK

  3. […] you know. The test of its popularity? Even di likkle pickney dem know it by ‘eart. Well, di artists dem nuh too too happy bout di whole […]

  4. honestly says:

    i agree with what vybz kartel has written
    i for one like the song i can see where u might find some erros but you wit till now to stop the song
    there has been countless other song discussing “daggerin” and “sex”
    i didnt see her band elephant man
    busy signal have a song on the same beat hmmm is it be or she hate kartel
    cause busy signal song ids even worse itz just didnt go international

  5. anonymous says:

    I am a student and I would never support artistes like Vybz Kartel or Spice. They prove that that they have no self respect and none for other decent human beings. This song is among many others which degrade women and so on. However, the way that sex is described in the song makes it sound more like rape! And it is clear that Vybz Kartel has done no research, because if he did he would have known that Mrs., not Ms. Tyson as she was addressed in the letter, has been writing articles about the many issues that face this society. Vybz Kartel only continues to embarrass himself, he refuses to admit to doing something wrong. My advice to Vybz Kartel would be to quit acting like an immature child but admit to your wrong doing and move on because it seems that you are still stuck in the present. And for you Spice, I surely would not classify you as a lady, but stop being a disgrace to women and do something worthwhile with your time.

  6. M Peggy Q says:

    Disgusting…pure porn… no wonder reggae dosen’t get the respect it earned… this is what they want to show the world now?… no wonder JA has an estimated 27,000 cases of HIV/AIDS – up from less than 10,000 cases in 1999! — no doubt this contributes to numerous VD cases – gonorrhea, trichomonas, herpes, crabs – all rampant… and will be passed on … continuously without treatment… usually not received because thousands don’t know they have it – or they do and won’t let past partners know so they can be treated — untreated VD can result in children born with disease, or sterility so no children will be born, or possible death..and hetero transmission predominates….wake up people…

  7. Joan says:

    Damn. He’s a really good writer. I wonder what his old teacher’s have to say. They obviously taught the boy damn well.

  8. Jules D says:

    He sure is a damn good writer.. It’s hard to choose, because I’m not a fan of Kartel, but I love the song!!! The principal should not say his recorded is “musical poison” because he is not forcing anyone to do or act out what the song says. As a principal she is trying to protect her students from what she think is danger “sex”, but she would be surprise to know how much sex those high school students know about and are having. Parents and Teachers can not blame artist for there kids having sex. You as a parent and teacher have to educate your kids about sex, and let them know facts about it. At least he is promoting safe sex by endorsing condoms, so I don’t think he is telling anyone to go out a get an STD or HIV.

  9. Sharon Gordon says:

    I am so sad by this whole situation…Jamaicans wake up…Reggae lovers wake up!! There is no way you can tell me this is positive. Of course there has been vulgarity and lewd lyrics from long time, but it was not aired on the airwaves and so people who wanted to hear this stuff would go the dancehall where they could carry on and do what they please…now it’s in the public space and anyway you check Mr. Palmer, it’s pornography. You are very clever in your response to Mrs. Tyson…did that make you feel like a big man? Are you happy that you told her off…eeeh? I am so sad…it appears that we have lost our moral compass…wow! Who will tell the real story? What of the children? So sad.

  10. Sharon Gordon says:

    Mr. Palmer I wrote to you to invite you to participate in our community forum, Could Dancehall be the ruination of reggae and by extension the Jamaica brand? and you never responded. I wanted to hear what you had to say…well, now that I have read your response to Mrs. Tyson…I guess I know what you have to say. “Entertainment for you/martyrdom for me” we are in deep trouble!

  11. Gaza Gurlll says:

    I agree with vybz Kartel 2 the fullest. Leave people business alone………..if u don’t like it that’s ur lost because it is obvious that majority of Jamaicans like this song or we would hardly hear it on the air. Stop criticize , i too think you have sexual issues you need to solve. I STRONGLY recommend you visit the rampin shop.

  12. gfdkjhfudtihtjh says:

    kartel nasty like shit

  13. sarah marshal says:

    i seriosly don’t know y spice as a woman has to jus under estimate herself like that . And personally if i was supose to that (sex) with a guy i would NEVER put a picture of me having sex with him. and even if i sould take picture i would at least keep it private .

  14. Trudy says:

    Mr. Adidja Palmer, point taken. You’ve done a few decent songs, I percieve. There’s just one, I am truly familiar with. That’s, “Emergency.” Not because you weren’t applauded by the public, it was known to be a “real” representation of the inner-city communities and what we feel… an wi truli rate yu fi dat!

    I’m a christian, so as such, I write from this perspective and confidently do so. Every individual will have sexual urges, needs and desires: According to your belief and principles, these desires will be catered to. But everyone need NOT KNOW, HOW- dat a Gad an your business (once your not violating the JAMAICAN LAWS or the rights of any party/ies involved)!!!!!!!


    Patois is a straight-foward language and DANCEHALL MUSIC is conveyed using this language. We are Jamaicans and for most if not all, PATOIS IS OUR NATIVE/MOTHER TONGUE. So we understand it well. English on the otherhand, may pose some problems for it’s users, as it relates to understanding. Now Kartel, you use the language devices, learnt in school so well, “in patois”, giving VERY CLEAR MEANING, about whatever is being said and leaves not much for misinterpretation. All you have to do is listen, it will all become very clear.

    So hip-hop, soca (other patois forms, eg. Trinidad, St. Kitts), may not convey the same sensually-loaded lyrics as Reggae, Dancehall will, in our Jamaican context.


    CARNIVAL IS ALSO TO BE BANNED! No questios asked! It’s NOT a debate.

    So a young man is in class, a picha di sexy gurl bisaid im ina im rampin shap- di questian tu yuu is, “Ow im learn?” Yu no tink se wi a do di youts dem great injostis- fi join iihn wid we already a mess wid dem focus… Yuu mention some yuself. (i.e. porn sites, etc)

    Yeah, we can easily se aafa Mr. Adidja, no have not’n fi do wid dat, bot mi biliiv se once yu a contribute, yu fi fiil jos as guilty!!!

    Some a dem song de kyaan av airplay jos so… a no fi likl gal ar bwai-


    SO, it no fi a play pan radio so. A “dancehall song,” SO WEN UNU AV UNU STRIIT DANSE, UNU PLAI DEM WAN DE… ANDASTAN?

    Yh man.

    We afi luk out fi di pipl (people) dem bes intres (interest).

    An yu neva av no rait, Mr. Palmer, fi dis di principal, di way yu did. Jos like yuu, Mrs. Tyson has a right to her own opinion.

    OW YU FI MUUV (move) LAIK (like) SE YU WAHN TAAK BO- NO JOS TAAK, BOT TEL AR BOUT AR SEX LAIF- NO YOUT, MI NO RIET (rate) DAT! Dat di below di belt, stil.

    Anyways, yaa aatis, yu av moni fi mek lik evribadi. Jus neva lik ow di ting di turn out stil. Gi mi few an I’m out.

    B4 mi go stil, jos waa remind yu se Gad luv yu {GOD LOVES YOU 🙂 }, stil, ier.
    Blessings on your life and your future lyrics.

  15. Tech says:

    straight up ur all messed up. stick to your own business, your trippin over music? us students got nex stuff to deal wid we dont actually take dis tings seriously. its a nice chune respect it, admire it. we got friends getting killed on the block, we have big issues to deal with, everyone does, but i don’t understand why one of your big problems is music? Mr. Palmer is the illest artist around becuz he doesnt care about what you guys say, and easily i can find more people dat tink adidija’s song is amazing and that this stupid arguement is messed up.

  16. Shilo says:

    Well…Kartel prove a whole heap a tings with this letter. BECAUSE IM DJ NUH MEK IM A IDIOT LIKE THE ‘UPTOWNER’ DEM TINK.

    Ms Tyson…Kartel give it to yu neatly. I would love to hear your response. Hypocrisy…straight!
    She really know the song word fi word. Man to man and gal to gal wrong. And wha? A nuh Kartel mek dat up…GOD seh dat! How yu mean?

    I applaud Kartel for standing up and defending his song.
    I like it. Neyo can vex all im want bout the riddim…a bet im vex dat fi im record company wouldn’t mek im speak im mind like Kartel did.

    To each his own. Some a dem ‘society’ people yah a Jamaica full a crap…dem siddung and listen and watch porn…participate inna porn…cheat pan dem wife and husband and inna di dark a duh some tings dat dem same one inna public a lick out pan…den want fi come stop dancehall artist from eat food. Wha dem want? Everybody fi be the great Bob? There can only be one Bob. Artist got to be themselves. Instead of picking on them…if yu nuh like wha dem a seh…don’t listen. Simple!

    Settle unnu self. It’s just a song. What happen to when Kojak, Madoo and Liza was the slackest ting bout the place…even King Yellowman…come now yow…y’all be for real.

    Students a duh worst than romping dung a yaad. Trust that. The school pickney dem more advanced than the adults…who unnu a guh blame…dancehall? Clinton got a blow job inna di white house and the world know it. Peter King? Let’s not even go there. Leave the dj…sort out unnu self.

    I had to say my piece, as much as I was trying to stay away. Mi couldn’t help it. Mout-a-massi mi seh! 😉
    Ok…Kartel, big up! Spice, big up!

    Place and time…that’s what this is. Place and time.

    I am a grown woman with four children…I realize something…anytime you try to hide things from ‘anyone’, it builds curiosity even more.

    Let’s face it. EVERYTHING is out in the open in every aspect of life. You/me as parents need to be the role models for our kids. Not Kartel…not Spice. I realize that when you ‘bleep’ something out of a song on the air…you just brought crazy attention to it, and the kids enjoy ‘filling in the blank’.

    Freedom of expression is just that. Freedom of expression.
    I don’t feel the song or any kind of violent or sexually explicit material should be played on the air. If yu haffi bleep it…it nuh mek no sense.

    Dancehall is dancehall. Play it in the dancehalls. Keep the radio clean. Kids don’t belong inna dancehall…if they go (and they do), anyting dem hear…oh well.

    If you are in bed with your mate and the loving sweet…how do you respond, christian or not…are you going to say, ‘oh baby sex me so good?’ Gimme a break! We all have raw in us…like I said…TIME AND PLACE.

    Students shouldn’t be hearing this they say, but they do.
    Now…let’s face it. Drugs, violence and sex exists. I say…tell yu kids about it and educate them instead of hiding it from them. Curiosity on their part can cause a whole lot of trouble.

    Whether you let the kids hear bout the romping shop or not…they will find out about it. Sooner or later we all will be in the romping shop. Just romp wisely.

    Banning? Why dem love ban suh much?

  17. Amber says:

    Kartel said: “I’m not a religious leader, nor am I a political one. I’m not the government”… This guy is trying to trick people to think he’s intelligent with big words but still dont make any sense with then. look how i can make sense with simple word. kartel said he’s not responsible for the people of the country. So why he’s getting angry when the people who are responsible for them doing their work or some of their work, the point is,, it’s still their job.

    That’s why him and some other Jamaica artist are not doing well on a international level. Why? because those who think they’re too smart can also out smart them self.
    Some male and female would agree with kartel, but we all understand that groupies don’t think clearly . Good thing our country is not being control by them, “groupies” .
    So let us get down to written fact by report, these artist are doing very well all over the word with positive music, i will name artist and song .

    Tarus riley – she’s royal

    Beres hammond – pull it up

    burnin spears – call some great man

    Freddie mcgregor – hear i come

    Mystique GP – Vanity

    John holt – tide is high

    Glen washington – i stand alone

    Believe it or not like “Ripleys”

  18. […] airwaves in a move widely attributed to the latest dance craze, know as daggering… If you don’t know, now ya know: the urban dictionary defines “daggering” as dancing and gyrating in an aggressive way […]

  19. Mark says:

    Well said, your track list have eight of the badest reggae songs of all times.

  20. […] no sense. For more on daggering and the responses from Jamaican artists, check my boy Rob blog Boomshots for the […]

  21. sandrina jay says:

    ok, so basically i’ve read the article, seen the video, and read the subsequent comments. all i have to say is this. im a 20 year old student, so i guess this is my p.o.v. the song has a good beat, it may not be to everyone’s taste lyrics-wise, but i don’t really see anyone forcing you to listen. there are plenty of songs i don’t like, for wotever reason, but you don’t see people wrting letters, trying to ban them-etc, because of a beat u don’t like. so really and truly what is the problem?if u don’d like it, don’t listen. if u don’t want your kids listening to it, be a parent and apply this thing called discipline.

    listening to music, does not mean you take it litterally, its called freedom of speech. if it is taken litterally the artist cannot be held responsible, like someone saying in the court of law, i killed a guy, because the music i listen to made me…thats absurd.

    i know many of you will disagree with me, but thats ok, because at the end of the day, no one is going to lose sleep over the lyrics of a song, and whehter they are suitible. music is music, enjoy it, for what it is-which incidentlly isnt a bible, on how to live your life!

  22. blah(19 yr old student) says:

    why is there such a big debate over one song????
    wats so bad about it??

    they are many other songs like that and worst like
    correction rod- lady saw, bedroom bully – shabby ranks, man wid de tool …etc
    its not only reggae music , for instance , ” how much is dat doggie in the window”… ” u spin my head right round wen u go down”……” i wanna put my stick in your soup”…..”2 sapodillas and a 9 inch banana” hmmmmm?????

    ALL I AM SAYING IS YOU CAN’T BLAME ON PERSON, WE ARE ALL TO BE BLAMED. we group knowing right from wrong, and if people are saying these songs are influencing us the youth now, who influenced kartel, charlie blacks, mavado, aidonia ..etc?? this has been going on for generations and quite frankly i don’t think it would ever stop.

    i like that song but it doesn’t push me to have sex when ever i hear it, i personally feel it left to us as individuals to interpret the song and know whether we sound indulge in it or ignore it.

    (big kartel fan as well)

  23. I pray for you says:

    The fact that sexual immorality as been perpetuated for generations (from the days of Sodom & Gomoroh) does not make it right, hence the Lord destroyed those corrupt cities. My point is whether sexual eplicit songs have been around long before Kartel, or it’s a battle of the sexes, they are still major contributing factors in the demoralization of our society. FYI Kartel, all icons whether musical, politicians, religious or parental, do have an impact on ‘the psyche of the Jamaican children’ (that’s why you’re all called influencial people). Your response to Mrs. Tyson’s letter just proved how dense a person’s mind can become, now we know the type of influence you had during your formidable years (childhood). The Lord will not hold you guiltless for destroying the minds of his children. I will pray for you and all those who continue to reek havoc on the morality of the world.

  24. cokso says:

    kartel is a bad maotherfuker

  25. cokso says:

    he is my gaza king

  26. not important says:

    but kartel u stink an brite mi did rate yhuu but not anymore!!!! ur music is plain dutty and overexposing and yes it depends on who listen to it but stiil we pass places where we might hear it so fix up u tube dem. and dont cum diss up miss Tyson a mi principal and no she dont hav no issues but obviously u hav so go sart dem out .

  27. Outtaspace says:

    well frankly ms.tyson just dont like vybz kartel im telling u based upon what i have seen and heard with both my ears,all u ppl do is talk about “oh music this and music that” one may take the horse to the river but u cannot force him to drink, Mr.palmer didnt indicate to any individual whatsoever that he or she should indulge in the activities that he mentioned in the song, my school is right next to ardenne where ms.tyson is the principal and she is just a royal pain in the ASS!!!!!

  28. adj says:

    As an artist and musician I know all too well that music formulated with certain hooks, mellodies and modal progressions in conjuction with the chosen words and terms does have a powerful influence of the human mind. It is scientifically proven that it affects the brain in a number of ways and can easily be used to mainipulate. This guy is obviously much more intelligent than his image is designed to potray and it is more than resonable to asume he knows of this. Of course he knows this. Unfortunately he doesn’t care and funnily enough by putting out a sexually explicit song he is conforming in many more ways than most people even relise. He deflects, passes the buck and infects young minds with this mental junk that only serves to hold back black people and create counter productive negative mindsets which can be difficult to shake. He does it whilst laughing all the way to the bank. In my book no different to a corrupt politician. He’s may seem to be in a different game but serves the same perpose or should I say person – himself; and those above him who use these artists to create certain cultural landscapes through music, celebrity, advertising etc.

  29. guest says:

    i know its quite late but i dont agree with vibes cartel.
    i remember walking home from school one day. I was college student and this “little kindergarthen” boy was singing elephant mans “tek buddy gall, yuh think me easy”? at me.
    when i was growing up ild get a clothes pin on my mouth to say things like that.
    The fact is, if this is what we as adults are instilling in 5 year year olds heads then some has terribly gone wrong in our society.
    children that age should not be exposed to explicit sexual vocabulary.
    people from the media are strangers from all walks of life who shouldnt be teaching our children about sex.
    People in the serves have great responsibility next to the family to lead our children but as a nation we all still have a responsibility.
    just like im a grown adult and i wouldnt use sexual language around a child.
    vibes cartel has that responsibility too.
    seriously what kind of person does that?
    im not saying i dont like the sond. im jus saying it certainly shouldnt be on air.
    It should be sold only to adults and hopefully these aduldt have enough respect and class not to play roun their kids.

  30. […] recognized reality: the very first submit on went stay February 10, 2009. The title? Don’t Ramp With Kartel. Adidja Palmer and Grace Hamilton’s smash collab “Rampin Store,” an X-rated tour […]

Leave a Reply