Usain Bolt and his manager Nugent “NJ” Walker recently sought to defend themselves on Television Jamaica’s weekly programme the Entertainment Report, after their recently-released song was rubbished by the Unruly Boss, Popcaan.
The song, Living the Dream, had dominated the news over the last several days after Popcaan, having listened to an excerpt which Bolt had shared on Instagram, implied that NJ, who did most of the vocals, lacked musical acumen, and admonished Bolt, to help ‘some youth wid real musical talent’ because “them dey ya nuff”.
“NJ a mi fam, but please just give some hungry youth wey actually have the talent tha platform deh,” Popcaan had continued, later adding: “Me done say wey me say and me nuh b-mboclaat sorry,” after receiving a huge backlash from some Dancehall fans.
Usain, who had shared a cryptic response to the controversy on Instagram titled ‘What is investment?’, shied away from getting further entangled when probed by entertainment journalist Anthony Miller in the ER interview.
“The only thing I have to say is ‘Popcaan, happy new year an you a mi general’,” Usain said.
NJ who did most of the talking about the controversial topic, said that the song was done in a bid to help an aspiring producer, who goes by the name Rajah, to achieve his dreams. This explanation came after Miller reiterated that Popcaan said the “money would be better spent investing in some talent” and why had Bolt not sought to assist needy upcoming artistes.
“The irony is that the project is to boost the career of Rajah. He is a producer that I have been trying for years now to get a break. He has sent many riddims to many artistes and they have not responded,” NJ said.
“So when he came to us again – we did Olympe Rosé wid him and he is like ‘it is still hard out there’ and we were like ‘don’t worry, we are going to try with you again. We are going to try speed up the thing’ and the irony about it is that a him wi a try buss. All we a try enhance him career fi people seh ‘if NJ can sound suh pon a riddim, imagine a professional artiste’”.
NJ also mentioned that he was about to release a new EP.
However, what was not mentioned in NJ’s interview was that the producer in question, that he and the World Record holder were trying to ‘help’, is the sprinter’s cousin Rajah “Plugs” Nelson, who had already received what could be considered a big break as producer of the Olympe Rosé beat, which was pushed by Bolt.
His statements about Nelson having it hard even after Olympe Rosé, are also contrary to those made by Bolt in an interview with The Star tabloid in 2019, a few months after its release.
Bolt had told The Star that international companies had been “contacting us, wanting to secure the rights to the riddim for games, documentary” and that “hopefully, my management can work out terms for some of these projects”.
The Olympe Rosé, a trap-influenced Dancehall beat, saw Bolt as executive-producer of a series of songs featuring his friends Christopher Martin, Ding Dong, Munga Honorable, Dexta Daps, and retired international footballer Ricardo ‘Bibi’ Gardner.
In the meantime, Bolt and NJ’s Living the Dream has also faced some jeering from retired West Indies cricketer Marlon Samuels who reposted a video of a local comedian mocking the song and dismissing it as f–kery.
“Plenty nah go like him I don’t give a f_k. Me love when people speak them mind laughing is good people one life to live get the f_ck out yall feelings 2021 the year of the bad people dem,” Samuels said.
Music selector Foota Hype though, has come to Bolt’s defence, arguing that NJ ought not to be dismissed for his musical efforts. He said that in his opinion, Popcaan was provoking Bolt in order to get attention.
“First ting, me feel seh Popcaan jus waan hot up di internet an hot up di place. Me feel suh. Me feel seh Popcaan just want get di tabloids up, get di internet crazy and gwaan wid a bag a tings. Becaw yuh caan tell Usain Bolt seh him caan deejay or him nuh fi meck a song,” Foota declared.
According to Foota, Bolt, like the other Jamaican sportsmen including Chris Gayle and Samuels, is free to voice songs and do as he pleases with his money, just as Popcaan has been doing unfettered.
The veteran music selector said Popcaan ought to remember that when Vybz Kartel introduced him to the music scene, most people thought his voice was annoying and thought he would be an ‘iron balloon’.
“When [Blak] Ryno an Popcaan dem roun Gaza, memba everybaddy did a seh dem nuh soun good…dem used to say pappy an Ryno, a pure noise dem meck. Poppy caan come an seh a lie mi deh tell. Ryno can come she a lie mi deh tell. Suh mi tink Poppy coulda lowe Usain wid dat meck him enjoy him likkle one-song glory,” Foota Hype said.