by Bee Quammie @Bee Quammie
The pairing of reggae and dancehall artists with American pop/hip hop/R&B artists isn’t new. Recently we’ve seen Kanye working with Assassin, Beyonce teaming up with Mr. Vegas, and even Toni Braxton has a dope Christmas song with Shaggy. Bounty Killer was an honourary member of the Wu-Tang Clan, and Junior Reid was the reason The Game’s “One Blood” and Mims’ “This Is Why I’m Hot” popped. The avenues for introducing dancehall to new audiences have been paved through these pairings, but consistently missing from the equation are the women of the genre.
With family friends like Michael “Ibo” Cooper, a member of reggae supergroup Third World, the musical seed planted in Ce’Cile had lots of water to help it grow. After working as a backup singer for various reggae acts, she decided to step into the spotlight and take a turn towards the dancehall stream. Her first big hit was “Can You Do The Work” with Sean Paul, and her single “Changez” had Jamaica on fire when she satirically called out men in the industry in ways they were known to do to women. Ce’cile has a healthy international fan base, with key audiences in Germany and Japan.
After excelling in school and settling on a future career in chartered accounting, Spice decided to follow her passion and jump headfirst into the dancehall industry. She earned a spot on the Sting stage in 2000 (an annual Jamaican dancehall show) and had the crowd - and more established artists - hanging on to her every word. From there, she made the necessary connections to find her footing in the industry, and has grown into one of the biggest artists out. Raw singles like “So Mi Like It”, “Bend Ova”, “Fight Ova Man” and “Needle Eye” showcase her brash, braggadocious style, and her fans love it.
Born Jordan Phillips, J Capri was one of dancehall’s rising stars. At just the age of 23, she was living her dream of being an entertainer, launching hit single after hit single (like “Whine and Cotch,” “Reverse It,” and collaborations with Konshens and Vybz Kartel), and finding international success. J Capri was bringing a level of excitement back to dancehall, and was becoming one of the most sought-after artists in the game. Sadly, her powerful voice was silenced in December 2015, when she passed away after a car accident in Kingston, Jamaica. It’s sad to think of what could have been for J Capri, but the music she left behind will have us winin’ our waistlines for years to come.