Black Immigrant Daily News
This week’s featured development as Newsmaker of the Week just ended is entertainer Sizzla Kalonji’s public burning of two plaques that were presented to him in commemoration of American rapper and producer DJ Khaled’s Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) platinum certification for the albums ‘Grateful’ and ‘Father of Asahd’.
The Jamaican artiste is featured on both albums, and his tirade has been the subject of much talk since the firework.
As such, the main question on the lips of many Jamaicans this week was whether there was bad blood between the reggae-dancehall artiste and the American record producer.
But after fuming and ripping the plaques to pieces, then torching them, Sizzla, in response to heavy and stinging criticism and some support from his fans for his actions, deleted the videos he saved of his dramatic act that even made international entertainment news headlines.
The videos, however, have been widely circulated, with some persons expressing the belief that Sizzla has damaged the prospects of future opportunities for local artistes to collaborate with major foreign acts.
There are concerns, too, of possible ripple effects the actions could cause for other local musicians.
In an Instagram Live on Thursday morning, which was posted to his news feed on the social media platform, but has since been deleted, Sizzla was seen wrecking and then torching the broken remnants of the plaques.
“You insult mi DJ Khaled man. A weh yuh a duh,” Sizzla said during his rant.
As he tore a photo of DJ Khaled’s son, Asahd, from the plaque that certified double platinum sales of the rapper’s ‘Grateful’ album, and placed the child’s photo on a wall, Sizzla said: “Babies are innocent”.
People in the background chanted, ‘Holy Emmanuel I, King Selassie I’, while the ‘Nah Apologise’ deejay continued to pull the plaque apart.
“Not even mi name mi cyaan si pon dis,” Sizzla mumbled before eventually seeing it.
Someone off-camera chimed in: “You need magnifying glass fi si dat”.
Sizzla contributed a verse to the ‘I’m So Grateful’ single on the album, ‘Grateful’.
‘Grateful’ is Khaled’s highest career first-week sales to date. It debuted at number one on the US Billboard 200 with 149,000 album-equivalent units, of which 50,000 were pure album sales.
Other Jamaican deejays also received plaques for their contributions to DJ Khaled’s albums, including Capleton, who was seen in a photograph on social media posing with his plaque.
But for Sizzla, he was still fuming that Khaled had insulted him, and he went on to destroy another plaque for the platinum-selling album, ‘Father of Asahd’.
In addition to Sizzla, the 15-track project featured Jamaican superstars Buju Banton and Mavado, who teamed up with rapper 070 Shake and Sizzla himself for the track, ‘Holy Mountain’.
Later on in Thursday’s Instagram live, Sizzla created a pyre, with even the shipping company’s packaging, and doused it with a flammable liquid, then torched it.
“Yuh insult the deejay, Khaled!” a man is heard saying off-camera.
Though deleting the videos by late Thursday, it is unclear what Sizzla was upset about, as he and DJ Khaled have always had a great relationship.
In fact, the rapper has visited the deejay at his ‘Judgement Yard’ base in August Town, St Andrew on several occasions.
On social media, there were mixed reactions to the footage of Sizzla destroying the plaques, with some persons describing the act as utter disrespect to Khaled who, on several occasions, has shown his love for the dancehall/reggae culture.
“Bad behaviour like this is holding the entire local music industry hostage and preventing it from flourishing in the way that we know it could,” tweeted @keestroke.
“Why would anyone take us seriously and want to do business with us?” the user asked.
Tweeted @TheMacVillian: “Want to see cultural rot in all its glory? Watch this and tell me Jamaican culture hasn’t reached the lowest point ever.
“This is despicable behaviour towards a man who has only shown Jamaica and its artistes respect and admiration. I feel shame. #CrabsInBarrel #BadMind.”
On Instagram, dancehall producer Cordell ‘Skatta’ Burrell sympathised with Sizzla feeling insulted, but said the artiste’s actions were not welcomed.
“As a featured artiste on a compilation album that went platinum, I understand how he feels, however, one must remember this is Khaled’s project.
“He’s been doing this for years and also has the biggest artistes in Hip Hop, e.g. Jay Z, Drake, Kanye, Eminem, Future, Lil Wayne, on this album. For any dancehall artiste to be featured on this is something to be extremely proud of and celebrated,” said Burrell.
Downsound Records executive Cordell ‘Scatta’ Burrell (right) with Heavyweight Sound Clash winner Tony Matterhorn (second right) and fellow judges Colin Hinds and Dr Sonjah Stanley-Niaah at the 2017 event.
He added: “Until we as a people are able to market our music and show support for our own, we will forever be relying on others to lend that support.”
Meanwhile, Burrell said he hoped that the actions of Sizzla have not “jeopardised” opportunities for local dancehall/reggae acts.
“Hope this hasn’t jeopardised any opportunities for others who would have gotten the chance at another big feature. We really need more support from the international community,” he said.
“Let’s not forget this is a business. Managers are needed to get between artistes and labels to squash these things before it gets out and hit the internet. NOT A GOOD LOOK,” Burrell declared.
Amid the slew of criticisms of Sizzla, some persons came to his defence.
“I see some people here calling Sizzla dunce, dark – all the names. You all please stop and think,” wrote Facebook user, Lauren Williams.
“This is deeper than your shallow thinking. Trust me, he (Sizzla) is seeing what you are not seeing. We just need to pay attention,” she added.
Stated Facebook user, Krystal Hill: “All you people saying Sizzla is illiterate must know what is happening behind the scene, because we can’t use a video and judge, so Sizzla must know what’s up.”
Commented Nichea Blackwood: “Sizzla, big up yourself. Do what you have to… u (You) know what u worth.”
Shared another Facebook user, Mark Russell: “Clearly it has to be more than the size of the name on the plaque. Drake, Justin Bieber etc – all of them got the same plaque with the same size name.”
Still, the criticisms against Sizzla came.
“One verse? Just one verse and the man want big feature? Something can guh suh!!!????” asked Dalton Spence.
“So he (Sizzla) contributed a verse on a song and is reacting like this? I really don’t understand this behaviour,” Stephanie Gordon indicated.