Dancehall artist Mr. Vegas and producer Jeremy Harding agree that the tension between the competing labels, VP Records and Greensleeves Records, contributed to Vegas and Sean Paul’s fallout. However, the Heads High singer has poked a few holes in Harding’s recollection of what led to the rift.
In a sit-down with the Entertainment Report podcast in April, Harding said Mr. Vegas didn’t tell the true story of how the Hot Gal Today collab with Sean Paul actualized. He added that Vegas was signed to Greensleeves Records, who prevented him from participating in a redo of the song by VP Records unless they received US$30,000.
But Mr. Vegas had already recorded the rebranded project for producers Steely and Clevie, and VP Records proceeded to promote it in the US market with new visuals, excluding Mr. Vegas from the new campaign.
In an Instagram Live video on Tuesday, Vegas clarified that he was never signed to the UK label, nullifying Harding’s story about a payment request.
“I was never signed to Greensleeves for Greensleeves to order US$30,000 for me to appear on a song,” he said. “It doesn’t make any sense… Why would I know that Greensleeves wanted US$30,000 for me to appear on a song and not do something about it if I was even signed to Greensleeves?”
Released in 1999 on the Street Sweeper riddim, Hot Gal Today – per Harding and Mr. Vegas – was inspired by lyrics from a pilot who hung out at Harding’s 2 Hard recording studio at the time. The deejays split the bill on a music video and the track took off, grabbing the attention of VP Records.
This is where things get murky.
Mr. Vegas said the label wanted them to re-record the song on the Punaany riddim for Sean Paul’s debut album Stage One, and he agreed on condition that he, too, would get the song for his album. But Harding recalled a US$30,000 request from Greensleeves, which he said Mr. Vegas supported.
“VP was their competitor so they [Greensleeves] thought, ‘we’re not gonna help VP get any hit record if we can’t benefit from it too because Vegas is our artist’ – even though Vegas had recorded the song for Steely and Clevie…” Harding said.
“Greensleeves got involved and said, ‘No, technically he’s our artist regardless… If you guys want Vegas, you’re gonna have to pay us US$30,000 for Vegas to be able to participate in the new music video and for Vegas to be a part of this new promotion.”
“I’m not trying to dig at Vegas like he did something wrong. He sided with his label who he was signed to, which would have been the right thing to do,” he added.
Striking back, Mr. Vegas also said it would have been illogical for Greensleeves to want payment for that feature, and not all contributions he made to Stage One, like Tiger Bone, Check It Deeply (which he produced), and the Nicky skit.
“Time sometimes cause memory to decay,” he said.
Still pointing out “inaccuracies” in Harding’s story, Vegas said there would be no need for VP Records to pay that money when he had already re-recorded the song, which, according to him, changed the master owner.
“What happened was Steely and Clevie begged me to re-sing the song and dem tell me seh mi can get it fi mi album… Dem trick me because once me go in deh go sing it over…it change the master because Greensleeves owned the original master…”
On that note, he said VP Records was able to release the song without the payment as they now owned the masters. He recalled seeing his credits removed from the song when he ran into Sean Paul at the airport.
The “inaccuracies” addressed, Mr. Vegas agreed with Harding that the labels were instrumental in the divide with Sean Paul.
“He is right when him seh they were their competitors. Me and Sean Paul get caught in two companies competing against each other with two artists that were doing well.”
But he’s past the situation, adding, “Sean Paul moved on to be one of the biggest Jamaican artists. Mr. Vegas still doing fairly well. A just one of dem things deh. Sometimes things nuh work out inna life and a just suh it go.”
Harding also has no ill feelings toward Mr. Vegas, stating, “Vegas was an integral part of the whole development of the 2 Hard Records sound at the same time because that record was a monster record… It’s all love with Vegas and we wish him the best and Sean has ‘collabed’ with him before and we still wish each other the best.”
According to Billboard, VP acquired Greensleeves for US$6.2 million in 2008.
In December 2022, Mr. Vegas reached a settlement with VP Records in a copyright infringement and breach of contract lawsuit he had filed over his four Sean Paul songs in Stage One, and several of his solo singles, including Heads High.