International Dancehall producer and artist Rvssian yesterday blasted producer Kyle Butler, branding him as a sub-par footballer with no musical acumen, this after the Reggae Boy labeled his assertion that there were no longer “gatekeepers in Dancehall music” as “nonsense.”
On Sunday, Rvssian shared a snippet of a Quest Times interview in which he pointed out that the music landscape had evolved with the advent of the internet and digital platforms, resulting in independent artists now having more opportunities to reach audiences directly. Rvssian had also said that indie artists could now bypass some traditional gatekeepers, who were, overall, becoming less influential.
“Gatekeeper? Show me di gate,” Rvssian had replied whilst looking around. “Hear di ting, zeen. Mi woulda seh maybe 40 years ago, gatekeeping in the music industry was more. Now, di yutes dem don’t need no gate,” the Head Concussion producer said.
“Di last 30 Dancehall artiste dem, dem buss widout no major producer. Dem buss wid just YouTube and TikTok. No gate nuh ded-deh bro. Once di yutes dem have talent and know how fi use di internet…,” Rvssian added.
The term “Gatekeeper in music” has been used loosely by many, oftentimes in the wrong context. But, in reality, in the music industry, a “gatekeeper” refers to people or entities who control access to opportunities and resources and have the power to decide which artists or musicians get, for example, exposure, access to recording contracts, airplay on radio stations, inclusion in music festivals, and other significant opportunities.
Traditionally, gatekeepers in the music industry included record label executives, radio programmers, and music/entertainment journalists, who, by virtue of their positions, had the authority to determine which artists received widespread recognition and success.
However, Butler, who joined forces with Jerome “Bhad Twin” Reynolds and Tyrique Reid in 2020 to form Dynasty Records, headed into the comments a few hours later and tackled Rvssian about his statements.
“This is nonsense. You have managers , producers that invest heavily in the early stages of an artist development with nothing to gain in return, these are the unsung heroes that put these artists on a platform to make “major” producers notice them … not YouTube and playing with the internet.. 🤦🏾♂️”
But Rvssian — who grew up playing piano and drums, studied music at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, and who produced his first hit song Good Girl Gone Bad song, at age 20 — would have none of it. He asserted that Butler was, among other things, not aware of music industry jargon and was clueless about music composition.
“Kyle Butler, you ever produce a hit song? You can even build a Riddim? You can’t even play football good 😂😂 my point was internet buss new artist. Anyway me nah go argue with no man who have ‘but’ in him name,” the Good Girl Gone Bad producer jeered.
“Kyle Butler, long time me hear you don’t like me. So see it Deh,” Rvssian replied, mockingly a while later.
Butler, seemingly rattled by Rvssian’s response, went on the counterattack.
“Rvssian, do you build Riddims you stay taking beats from composers and putting your tag in it as if you build anything and leaving them in the dark and taking all the credit as if you did sh-t. Maybe I should list out the ghost producers to the world? You are on the internet giving people the wrong impression. Make sure your statement is clear from the jump instead of feeding the public sh-t. I’ve never met you before ni–a,” Butler replied.
Bulter, in another comment, wrote: “Who knock over dutty money riddim? Who build Skeng – full moon? Who build jada x nine – turn me on? I can go all day- this n**a ain’t nothing but a fake and taking all the credit and have the nerve fi ask me if me have a hit song him need fi pree the catalogue.”
He later challenged Rvssian to ‘re-build’ his currently popular Dutty Money riddim on Instagram Live for “one million dollars” to prove his production skills. Rvssian responded with a “receipts” video showing that the riddim, a remake of his Go Go Club production, had first been conceived for an unreleased Ding Dong song in 2009.
“Look pon this? You see what it name? Ding Dong Busta. You see when it was built? April 30, 2009. You know why it name Ding Dong Busta I originally build this riddim for Ding Dong and Busta was the inspiration. So a man really kinda owe me a million dollars even though me know him don’t really have it. Mi would put you pon a payment plan though,” the producer said.
“If I didn’t build the riddim, why would I have the file with old machines, projects, all of my sessions? This is an old laptop, took me 30 minutes to turn on this junk,” Rvssian added. “I need mi million dollar by mawning.”
On Twitter, Butler claimed that Rvssian failed to credit a composer, TJ Torry, for the updated Dutty Money riddim, which included new beats and instruments not found in the original.
However, during an interview on Jaii Frais’ Let’s Be Honest podcast, Rvssian had credited Torry for contributing the new saxophone elements to the riddim.
Many of Rvssian’s fans who listened to the post agreed with his comments.
“He told no lies since Covid about 15 artist buss pon them own we gate keeping ago!!!” one woman stated, while neeky_mince added: “He’s correct! Can’t blame him when there are several ways to buss; Eg [1Biggs Don’s] “BWOY AFFI” That was a street freestyle”.
“Man Neva tell nuh lie.. anybody weh a complain bout gatekeepers, you just not a good enough artiste and a try find someone else to blame for your lack of success,” alextahj added.
“Rvssian, in all honesty you have to gatekeep tho you are the owner who nuh like it bite it. If you never gatekeep all mi would go make my song and trust me I cannot sing 😂 Ppl need to google the meaning of gatekeep,” another woman said.
Butler’s Dynasty Records had released its debut riddim titled Private Jet in 2020, which featured tracks by Jahvillani, Skillibeng, Intence and Quenga. At the time, the footballer had said that the music had never been “a big part of his life.”
“Dynasty Records was established after Tyrique approached me about the possibility of producing music and using our popularity to sell it. We linked a week later and got straight to work… To be honest, it did not come naturally. I more saw it as a business venture than an actual passion, but after my first day in the studio, I automatically felt why music production is so beautiful,” he had explained to The Jamaica Observer at the time.
One of Dynasty’s most successful riddims was My Letter To You (2021), which featured songs such as Rytikal’s Chosen and Squash’s Rate Who Rate You. They also co-produced Jahshii‘s 25/8 and Kraff’s Sinna.
Rvssian, whose given name is Tarik Johnston, rose to national attention after producing Vybz Kartel’s Life Sweet and Straight Jeans and Fitted in 2010. Since then has also produced songs for a slew of other artists, including Sean Paul, Shenseea, Demarco, Tarrus Riley, and Konshens, as well as overseas acts such as Farruko, Chris Brown, Future, Rauw Alejandro, Juice WRLD, and Lil Baby.
He recently revealed that he is doing production work on Rihanna’s R9, her long-awaited Reggae-inspired album.