There is a saying that if you fail to appreciate what you have then someone else will appreciate it for you. That is exactly what is happening with dancehall music. While many Jamaicans are in denial, the fact is, Japan has become the number one destination for dancehall.
Wee Pow, the owner of Stone Love Sound System not only agrees with this assessment but believes that anyone who doesn’t does not understand Japan’s grip on Jamaican culture.
“People have a good reason for saying that because the Japanese have been smart. They have visited Jamaica and they bought maybe 90 per cent of our vinyl collection and that vault is now in Japan. I talking classic vinyl that your grandparents used to collect. The Japanese came here and they knocked door to door and bought out the vinyl records…so most of our catalogue is in Japan,” he said.
While Jamaican artists and producers were trying hard to emulate hip hop into dancehall, the Japanese were busy buying up every original dancehall music they could find on vinyl.
“We did not see the value in vinyl, and so we were quick to sell them to the Japanese, and now they have all the gold. As a matter of fact, I don’t want to say Japan is the capital for dancehall, because they have a good catalogue of music and not just dancehall. They have more reggae vinyl than dancehall, so they are the capital of Jamaican music. People will have their opinions and are free to disagree,” he said.
Rohan ‘Randy Rich’ Bruce a crew member and selector for Stone Love also agrees with Wee Pow.
“We as a people and the Government nuh really embrace our music the way we should. So the Japanese took it, and they proceeded to do what we should have been doing, and that is the reason why some people would say that they are the capital,” he said.
“Plus, we are yet to unite with each other and take a business approach. Without that sense of unity and business ethics, we are setting up ourselves for failure,” he added.