D'Angel Says She Brought “Classiness” To Dancehall

D’Angel is known as the self-proclaimed “First Lady of Dancehall”, but she’s also crediting herself for bringing sophistication to the genre. 

“I came out with ‘downtown girl living an uptown life’ (and) me just maintain that as dah female artist deh that bring classiness to dancehall,” she told followers on Instagram Live on Thursday. “But dem nuh tek mi serious because as a Dancehall artist, they expect females to sing about derogatory things… But mi choose a different route because it’s my path…”

She continued, “You don’t have to come out with dem kind of something deh fi get recognition because that’s what they think Dancehall is all about.”

D’Angel, whose given name is Michelle Downer, made her music debut in a rhinestone bra, mini shorts and stilettos atop a Benz convertible in the music video for the 2005 track Uptown Living.

The former model has always maintained a versatile catalog, even serving up reggae tunes like the autobiographical hit Stronger.

Her brand image moved from conservative to risqué in 2020 after she joined the subscription-based platform, OnlyFans. The venture resulted in semi-nude content being leaked, inspiring her sexually lucid song Exposed. She followed up with an obscene remix of Queen Ladi Gangsta’s Double Tap, a far cry from the manicured entertainer fans had grown accustomed to. 

In a 2021 radio interview, D’Angel explained the shift in her brand image and music. 

“I was very conservative because I always tried to hold back myself because a lot of things I always said, ‘No, I won’t do’,” she said. “But when I realised that I’m growing, I’m mature and people always say I’m a sexy woman, so I said, ‘Sex sells in a tasteful way’, so I kinda get out of the box now and I’m really doing me.”

D’Angel

The current iteration of D’Angel is hardcore, which she brought to the Sting stage in Portmore, St. Catherine, on Boxing Day. Her last Sting performance was in 2013 when clashed with her “war teacher” Ninjaman. The original front tooth, gold tooth Don Gorgon is serving a life sentence for a 2017 murder conviction. 

“Ninjaman teach mi the skill years ago before him get incarcerated,” D’Angel said. “Him teach me the war skill and leave a lot of things with me, so mi just hone them. Plus, mi learn from other people and make it my own.”

For her Sting return, she toasted her longevity in the game and was deliberate about not taking jabs at female artists. She did, however, weave in her previous relationships with Bounty Killer and Beenie Man during prepared freestyles.  

“The second wave of dancehall is a different level because mi get more aggressive,” she said. “It’s time – God give me that. God authorise me fi get more aggressive and just dominate and that’s what I did and the world love it. Whatever you want, you just put it out in the universe and mek it work for you and a that me do.”

She thanked supporters who have been commending her performance, and even naysayers who gave her due props.

“Member seh mi a big artist with whole heap of music enuh…so there is no comparison. Mi a big artist, you understand? Whole heap of songs mi have and mi change people life… Mi a real legit artist from ‘downtown girl living an uptown life’ to now, war angel. So, that’s been a transition. So, I just want to tell the people thanks for the support.”

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