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Producer Nicko Rebel

Producer Nicko Rebel

By Davina Henry—

Though many artists, especially those who are up-and-coming, complain that local producers are refusing to give them a chance, foreign-based producers say they are also under attack as their productions are being shelved.

According to these producers, their work is being disregarded simply because they do not reside in Jamaica.

“There are several great talents of Jamaican heritage who are not getting notoriety in Jamaica. I get recognition from Chile, Argentina and other countries. I have even been featured on the United States and New Zealand iTunes Store. I’ve never gotten that from Jamaica. It puzzles me as to why I would not get that same support from my fellowJamaicans. There is no camaraderie,” said producer Nicko Rebel.

Listing Sizzla Kalonji, Macka Diamond, Burru Banton as some of the artists he has worked with, Nicko Rebel told The Sunday Gleaner that the songs do not get much attention in Jamaica.



“My songs barely get any love. Even if the song is with some ‘big name’ artists, it still won’t get much airplay. It’s not that I only do dancehall alone, I also produce reggae songs and I still don’t get any justice,” he said.

He also noted that this has been the experience of several of his colleagues who have worked with Jamaican artists. He added that this should not be the case, especially since he was bringing music to a greater platform.

“Because I am not based in Jamaica, does that make my music any less dancehall or reggae? There are artists like Gentleman, who was not born in Jamaica, but he makes good music, is his music any less reggae? No. The selectors and disc jocks need to keep an open mind. We need to change our mind frame. Talent exists within a person, not within a geographical location,” he told The Sunday Gleaner.

His views were seconded by another foreign-based producer, who confirmed to The Sunday Gleaner that he has to work 10 times harder than local-based producers if he wants his productions to be heard.

“Jamaican people have this ‘out of sight, out of mind’ mentality, so even if you are voicing established artists, if they don’t see the producer in the streets, it’s like you don’t exist,” said artist- turned-producer Alley Cat aka Imperial.


Alley Cat, who is most famous for songs such as Back In The Days and Hot Gal, went on to say that even though he visits Jamaica at least eight times per year, he still has a difficult task getting his productions in rotation.

“I produce some top names in the industry. Even some young artistes who mi plan fi help, mi cyaah get fi help the right way because the music is not being played. When mi see wha gwaan, is like mi not even know wha fi do. Dem a stifle mi music because I am not in the streets,” he said.

He also notes that his music being shelved has not come from a paucity of hard work, in fact, he states that though he tries to do promotions, it is almost as if he is blacklisted simply because he isn’t in the streets every night.

Alley Cat has a solution though.

“The disc jocks need to implement a ‘Pump It or Dump It’ segment where younger producers can get a chance to have their productions played.

“The ‘Pump It or Dump It’ segment would be decided by listeners. So they would decide if it sounds good or not. Trust me, it’s very hard for a producer who is not financially stable, but who is very talented. It is very hard to get your music played based on how di man dem a deal wid the music,” he said.


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