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Sizzla Defends His ‘Gun Songs’: “It’s Just For The Sake Of Sound Systems”

June 25th, 2024

Sizzla Kalonji says he’s long accepted criticisms and flack for doing “gun songs” and gangsta music despite being a Rastafarian artist.

The Reggae and Dancehall veteran, whose most popular gun songs include Run Out Pon Dem and Gangsta Nuh Lef Dem Gun, described these songs as “raggamuffin” and explained that one of his motivations for recording such violent lyrics was to support sound system culture—a core aspect of Jamaican dancehall.

“I did a whole lot of those songs, same as I did a whole lot of conscious songs and girl songs, but naturally, in Jamaica, you have a culture called sound system culture,” he explained during an interview on The Fix podcast.

“Whenever I pen a song and it’s like hitting the gangsta rhymes, it’s just for the sake of sound systems, dancehall sound system and sound clash. So we turn around the lyrics now and put it in a soundsystem clash to find out who is the best lyricist, the best deejay, the best song, the best selector, you get your trophy, you get your money, so if you can see it in that sense then it is really good.”

However, the Good Ways singer was clear about the distinction between music and real-life violence. “For you to be making gangsta songs and you are going to encourage persons to go out there now and act it out, that’s not what it’s about,” he said.

Sizzla (Photo by Claudia Gardner)

Sizzla admitted that Rastafarian elders disapproved of his decision to record such songs but further defended his artistic choices, comparing them to literature and film.

“The elders are never gonna be happy with anything wrong and with anything that they see is bringing any sort of feud or leading the children astray,” he said. “So the elders hold their path because they have to do the duty of the Almighty and the same thing for us but you know because we are like youths.”

“It’s apart of the music, it’s literature, it’s historic. If you know about writing and you like literature you know much about the story narrative, it’s the same thing, not much different from the movies, it’s just that this is the music.”

Sizzla also sees these songs as showcasing his versatility and lyricism, crucial for an artist, especially when catering to a demanding Jamaican audience. “ If you go out there and your lyrics don’t hot dem ago boo you offa the stage,” he said.

“You will have some of those songs too that I use to quell like real gangstas having dem feud against each other so when dem see Sizzla on the stage and mi a do mi songs it just calm dem,” he reasoned.

Ultimately, Sizzla emphasized context. “In Jamaica you will have shows in the summer when it’s just for the girls, you can’t be going there singing certain songs,” he explained.

“They don’t wanna hear no gun songs, you have to be singing girl songs and you have some other places you haffi go deh with gangsta songs else come offa the stage and it’s reality, it’s true , you haffi be banging out there or else they will say come off you not doing anything and it’s a peace concert.”

This content was originally sourced and posted at DancehallMag »
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