The Star (Jamaica)
KaliBwoy wants ‘Recognition’ for dancehall
Describing himself as a dancehall fanturned-artiste, Amsterdam singjay KaliBwoy wants dancehall to get its global flowers.
His stance has inspired an upcoming single titled Recognition, which is to be released on Friday by Pop Style Music. Speaking to THE STAR, Kalibwoy said he’s had enough of artistes who use the genre for a come-up but never acknowledge it by name.
“The influence of dancehall is big,” he stated. “In every music genre they use dancehall, but it doesn’t get the recognition. They put it away as a ‘Caribbean sound’, or they don’t recognise it as dancehall. So this [ Recognition] is a song about that, but also about the culture, like the dubplates and dancers like Shelly Belly. This song is for the industry and the fans to let them know what’s going on, and that we want our recognition as dancehall, and we need it. It’s not like we didn’t earn it. People worked hard for it, gave their lives for it and it doesn’t get the right recognition.”
Born to Surinamese parents, KaliBwoy, whose given name is Natalio Rijssel, was introduced to reggae and dancehall at an early age and soon found himself engrossed in the culture, even teaching himself Jamaican Patois. Listening to acts like Sizzla, Peter Tosh and Buju Banton, he decided to pursue a music career with the encouragement of friends, first with the Dredda Youthz group in the early 2000s. By 2008, he ventured to a solo career and has risen to prominence as a top dancehall act in his country with songs like Don, Bruk it Down and Curadise (with Jhorrmountain and Kempi). While he described the solo move as fruitful, it has also been difficult for a passionate KaliBwoy, who wants dancehall to be mainstream in Holland.
“This is a country where they don’t understand dancehall, so they don’t know the culture or about dancehall music. If I talk to people from Sony or Universal about dancehall, they’re talking about Bob Marley still. If I tell them about Vybz Kartel, they don’t even know who he is, so it’s difficult for me to explain to the people what dancehall is. But I’ve managed to work in the urban scene; and we have a big urban scene in Holland. The artistes here get millions of streams, it’s normal, and I’ve managed to find a gap and work with them. So I’m like the only dancehall artiste who gets recognition for what he’s doing in this country,” he said.