By Marc Parc
With some of Dancehall's prized veterans such as Beenie Man, Bounty Killer and Vybz Kartelentering the latter stages of their storied careers, many Dancehall observers are eager to find out which young upstarts are ready to carry the genre's torch going forward. In 2011, five emerging male acts are poised for major breakthroughs within the Dancehall industry; sparking hopes for Dancehall's evolution.
One such artiste is a prized protégé of the aforementioned Vybz Kartel. At just 18 years old, Popcaan debuted on the Dancehall scene with his single, "My War," on the Fight Fi War Riddim in March 2009. Popcaan gained clout within the industry & brought along a unique, juvenile sounding voice that made him a standout within the group. The deejay's big break came early in 2010 when he featured on the internationally acclaimed single, "Clarks," alongside Kartel and then new recruit, Gaza Slim. "A weh yuh get dem new Clarks deh dawdie," became one of 2010's regularly used catch phrases & Popcaan's confidence as a solo act grew as a result. Hit singles such as "Gangster City" and "Dream" went on to do well on the charts & showed a more versatile side of the Portmore Empire deejay. Another hit collaboration alongside the "Dancehall Hero," entitled "Hot Grabba," also gained Popcaan recognition internationally. Fast forward to 2011 and, despite many departures from the Portmore Empire, Popcaan has helped carry the banner for the "Gaza" group; unveiling hit tracks such as "Gangster City Part 2," and "Middle Day." However, Popcaan once again earned a breakthrough with the release of the summer smash hit, "Ravin." The single's become one of the most talked about songs for the season & has made Popcaan a hot property within the industry. With Vybz Kartel's tutelage & a growing following, the Portmore Empire is one of Dancehall's most intriguing acts to watch going forward.
One of Kartel's former protégés is another up-and-coming superstar within the Dancehall fraternity. Ex Portmore Empire singjay, JahVinci enjoyed a flurry of success with the Gaza camp; winning the hearts & support of many fans with the street anthem, "Watch Yuh Frenz," along with the pulsating Reggae track, "Baby Girl I'm Alone," in 2009. His
various talents were evident from the get go; adapting well to Reggae & Dancehall sounds
& producing a slew of hit singles along the way whilst with the Empire including "Guide
Me," "Mama Don't Cry," "Money," & "Remedy." Such singles gained JahVinci a lot of buzz; proving his worth as one of Dancehall-Reggae's biggest prospects. However, performing opportunities & noteworthy singles slowly declined regarding Jahvinci over the last year; causing he & Kartel to reach an impasse and JahVinci to leave the Empire this past May. Since leaving his mentor, JahVinci has enjoyed a career rebirth; particularly with the summer hit, "In My Life." The heartfelt single won him many morel legions of fans & chart accolades along the way. Performance opportunities have also increased since his departure; culminating in a successful performance at Reggae Sumfest 2011. Other singles such as "Wah Fi See Mi Fall," "I Love You," and the recently released "Nuh Trust Fren," have not only proved Jahvinci can make it without Kartel, he's poised to become one of Dancehall's biggest superstars in future.