Long before some new-gen acts were being accused of pandering to Americans by adjusting their sound and style, Mr. Lexx was facing that criticism.
Keeping it Full Hundred, the entertainer, formerly known as Lexxus, said the backlash started following his big break in 1997. The song, Make Some Money, was one of several that bears his signature rap-deejay style, which he popularised in digital dancehall.
“The jealous part of the industry used to cuss me seh mi gwaan like one foreign artist,” Mr Lexx said on Instagram Live on Thursday.
It wasn’t merely how he made his records, but his plans for revolutionizing how Jamaican artists represented themselves on stage. Being a fan of music, and further exposed to the stagecraft of mainstream artists while living in the States, Mr. Lexx was inspired to bring grandiose visuals and props to his sets.
Observing peers Busta Rhymes and Diddy, he felt, “A deh so my music fi deh dawg. So, when me buss and had the opportunity to do that, that’s what I was doing. Go a Sumfest, blow up the stage, bagga thing. When mi a come a Sting, crane, the whole star thing.”
But he said music gatekeepers were displeased with his vision.
“Pretty much, I was way ahead of my time… I wanted to expand our music,” he said. “I had the music in my (best) interest. Mi did waan deejay, yes, but it wasn’t really about me… I wanted to stand up and say, ‘Yes, we did this’…but you have some people, when time dem in control and when a particular thing is going one way for some people and they’re in control and they’re benefiting from the way it is going, if you come along now and want to change that thing, they’re gonna make you the villain and the majority a go mek you look like you wrong, all when yuh right.”
Beyond his career, Mr. Lexx believes these big wigs – some artists – have contributed to the decrease of dancehall’s global competitiveness.
“When we compare our music to the rest of the music, it doesn’t feel like it’s the biggest music on the planet because a lot of people who we have at the realm, at the top of the industry, don’t really have the dancehall industry in their best interest…” he argued.
“A lot of the artists that we push to the forefront of our industry, sadly, mi haffi say it…dem no have no vision fi dem music because one man vision fi dem music is 15 man behind him, three bottle of Hennessy pon the table, and fi him music a play di whole night. Next man, him nuh even have a vision, him just all over the place and just a do fi him owna thing and into him owna self… The moral of the story is, if you keep taking apples out of the basket, it ago done. Somebody haffi put apples back inna the basket.”
The deejay is currently in the US, hoping to score heavy collaborations. His latest releases include Hot Gyal, produced by Nanimus Music, and Brawlin, produced by AJP Music.