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With Vybz Kartel in lockup, many have expressed the view that dancehall has become stagnant. However, some industry insiders believe the industry is still very active.

The artiste has been in jail since October and is currently facing two murder charges, conspiracy to murder, illegal possession of a firearm and possession of ganja charges. In addition to some of his older songs being played on a regular basis, Kartel has also maintained a presence in the dancehall with recently released tracks like Back To Life, Summer Time (part two) and Reparation doing well.

Although he is missed, Stampede, the creator of Stampede Street Chart, says dancehall is not stagnant due to his absence.

“Kartel alone couldn’t keep up dancehall. It get stagnant because street party and stage show nah keep no more fi keep the thing exciting. Radio can’t buss a song, you need street fi buss song,” he said.

“No more new artistes nah rise like one time. Yuh nuh find no artistes a come wid no new style again. The business stagnant, the same set a song a play. How yuh fi have a summer and 50 artistes a do summer song?”

He, however, noted that the youth seem to love Tommy Lee.

According to DJ Smurf from Irie FM, acts like Konshens and Tommy Lee have risen to the forefront and others like I-Octane and Cham remain relevant.

“Those are just a few. It’s just that you have other artistes stepping up and doing dem ting. We miss Kartel’s presence but is not like we aren’t getting anything from other artistes,” he told THE STAR.

Executive vice-president for 21st/Hapilos International Digital Distribution, Johnny Wonder, agrees that acts like I-Octane, Tommy Lee and Popcaan have been keeping dancehall alive.

“I don’t see it as stagnant. You have rhythms that Kartel isn’t on that are doing well. I don’t think it is stagnant but dancehall misses Kartel. I see it move everyday, I see people making money. Artistes are still travelling, money is still being made,” he said.

Selector Boom Boom also believes Konshens, Mavado, Popcaan, Tommy Lee, Vegas, Bounty Killer and RDX have been making their presence felt.

But, “it nuh slow down ’cause Kartel voice a whole heap a song and the producers always a release dem. Every night mi get a new Kartel,” he said, noting that Kartel is missed from stage shows.

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