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By Curtis Campbell—

In the 1990s, tattooing was just as taboo in dancehall as was skinbleaching. That is now a thing of the past as recording artists are pushing boundaries, using some of the most precious parts of their skin as a canvas.

Dancehall artist Alkaline in 2013 claimed to have tattooed the sclera of his eyes because he wanted attention, that claim has since been refuted by several dancehall artists including Radijah who accuses the deejay of wearing contact lens.

Radijah has also pushed the boundaries by tattooing an image over his right eye called the Eye of Providence or the all-seeing eye.

The all-seeing eye is sometimes interpreted as representing the eye of God watching over humans. However, conspiracy theorists have argued that the eye is a symbol associated with devil worship and in some instances endorses the existence of the Illuminati.



While Radijah was very vague about the meaning of the tattoo, he does claim it is of great significance to him.

“It is one of the most powerful symbols, some of the most powerful people use it,” was all he put across about the controversial tattoo.

The artist revealed that he is already receiving backlash from critics who subscribe to conspiracy theories.

Those critics, he says, accuse him of selling his soul.

“People have been saying I am the devil and I have sold my soul, while some say it’s a good sign because it is a pyramid,” Radijah said.

The recording artist also said his tattoo is necessary because artists need to have a particular image in order to make their brand unique.

“If you are an artist and don’t have an image, people don’t recognise you, no matter how yu song big. A lot of people seh mi shouldn’t duh it but a my life and mi know why mi duh it and mi nuh duh it just for music. Mi nah follow Alkaline because him eye don’t tattoo for real, mi know dat and him know dat tuh,” the 19-year-old artiste said.

Tommy Lee Sparta

Tommy Lee Sparta

Recording artist Tommy Lee Sparta is no stranger to tattoos. However, recently he went a step further by allowing his artist to inscribe the image of a sizable scorpion on his forehead. His business associate, the director of Guzu Musiq, Keona Williams, says image is everything in the entertainment industry.

“Artists are products. They are selling to consumers, so your brand has to be unique in order for you to stand out in the marketplace. Tommy Lee’s tattoo has never been an issue for business, most international artists have tattoos. Lil Wayne is a good example of that. Tattoos gives them a type of energy and is a part of their swag (style),” she said.

Williams also rubbished stereotypical perspectives that tattoos are demonic, citing that she has a tattoo of an elephant on her chest, however, that doesn’t’t make her a bad person.

Keona Williams

Keona Williams

“The views on tattoos are similar to religion because people will always have their own opinions. You might lose somebody special and you put on a tattoo to remember them, so they are sentimental as well,” Williams said.

Unlike Williams and Radijah, overseas-based reggae artist/businessman, Dr Love, is disgusted by tattoos.

Dr Love says artists are simply desperate for attention and are not making money or developing a respectable following with their tattooing antics.

“I think tattoos are waste of time. You don’t have to put on tattoos to make money, and we don’t want other young artists getting influenced and following just to get a hype because there is nothing else behind it,” he said.

The artist also lashed out against 20-year-old Alkaline who now has multiple tattoos on his body.

“Alkaline is the corruption and we need to chop him down to size before it is too late. People will start losing their eyes following these artists because they are influential,” he said.

Dr. Love

Dr. Love

Dr Love operates three businesses in the United States, and vows never to employ persons with tattoos.

“If somebody comes to me for a job and he has tattoo, I wouldn’t even give him a minute of my time. I don’t believe in tattoos and that guy, Radijah, will have a hard time getting a visa with that tattoo. He is following that clown, Alkaline. These artists will start walking naked to get a hype,” he said.


It is uncertain if tattoos have prevented any recording artists from getting work permits in the United States or other countries. Lil Wayne has performed in Jamaica without any objection from Jamaican authorities and he has multiple tattoos.

American rapper Wiz Khalifa is also booked to perform at this year’s Reggae Sumfest and he is covered in tattoos.

Rappers Gucci Mane and The Game have tattoos on their faces, a trend that may speak to the similarities in the cultures associated with hip hop and dancehall.

The boundaries that once separated the two are rapidly being eroded with the examples of artists like J Amsterdam and Alkaline coming to mind readily.

Amsterdam was the first dancehall artist to admit to performing oral sex in a song, while Alkaline sang about being stimulated by a woman’s tongue in a place other artists shy away from mentioning.


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