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Baby Cham—

By Mel Cooke–

More than being a performer and/or songwriter, entertainers are now encouraged to think of themselves as a brand. As such, they are advised to engage in brand-building processes, just like a drink or motor vehicle manufacturer for instance, and plan strategically to revitalise their brand as necessary to maintain and maximise viability.

However, with Jamaican entertainers liberally tossing in references to popular brands in their lyrics, it is not surprising that a few have borrowed their stage names – or, at least, part of it – from the world of popular branding.

Christopher "Mr. Lexx" Palmer

Christopher “Mr. Lexx” Palmer

Among the prominent examples are deejays Lexxus (now Mr Lexx) and Spragga Benz, who took their names from automobiles.

Spragga Benz (given name Carlton Grant) became popular in the early 1990s with PeaceWar and 98 among his many popular songs.

Now a Rastafarian, Spragga remains linked to the German luxury car brand through the ‘Benz’ in his name.

That does not mean that Spragga lifted his name directly from the automobile maker. He was associated with LA Benz Sound System – much like Peter Metro worked with Metromedia.

Also in the Benz line is Benzly Hype of the Innocent Krew.

Carlton "Spragga Benz" Grant

Carlton “Spragga Benz” Grant


Christopher ‘Lexxus’ Palmer may have had an extra x in his stage name, but that did not stop Toyota from warning him about infringing on their brand. In a 2011 Gleaner story, he said:

“I was comfortably using Lexxus until in the early 2000s, when Toyota sent me a six-page letter. It said because of my growing popularity and there was the Lexus brand, it caused a conflict of interest. So, I had to change my name,” Mr Lexx said.

Lexxus may have been one consonant away from Lexus, but David ‘Mavado’ Brooks is one vowel removed from the famed watch brand – a luxury make, naturally.

Among Mavado’s early popular songs was Real McKoy; these days, he is confident that “At the top it’s just us”.

David "Mavado" Brooks

David “Mavado” Brooks

Damian Beckett is now known simply as Cham, to reflect his grown-up status. After all, it would not be suitable for a grown man to be introduced on stage as Baby Cham – which is what he was called when, as a youngster still in khakis, he got into the business of making dancehall music.

In a landscape where drinks come and go, the deejay’s full original name is the only memory of a once somewhat popular beverage.

Not that it was remembered when he did Survival Story, Alicia Keys and Akon involved in two different remixes.

For good measure, there is a sound system selector named DJ Pepsi, that cola maintaining its standing as a mixer or by itself as a soft drink for those not inclined to the hard stuff.

The Heptones

The Heptones

While these are more recent examples of artists taking the name of a brand, they are certainly not the first.

Among the early ‘borrowings’ is The Heptones (of which Leroy Sibbles is the best-known member), the Fattie Fattie group taking its name from a drink in the mid-1960s.


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