Sunday, October 11, 2009

Busy Signal, band feuds, blogocombat

Blogocombat, ferocious online debate, seems to be surging like relentless waves of confrontation and insult. Attack and deflect. Sideswipe and eject. Confession of crimes, death threats and verbal blunders, the world wilts under the unrealistic heat of the clash and catastrophic depletes.

The party of first attack is usually motivated by envy, vanity, or hostility. After their first assault, they tend to either gloat in their sadism, or retreat paradoxically to a moral highground based on peculiar lies and foolish fabrications. Feigning innocence or righteous retribution for imagined blows, the bully easily reverts into a chronic crybaby status, a moaning mode.

Claiming your defensive strike to be plum crazy, unjustified over-reaction to what was just a good-natured taunt, you are then displayed by their words to be a sensitive soul who can't take a joke or mild critique. It's not unique. They all do this, especially when they're secretly frightened by your combative response and potential future reprisals.

I have mastered, and shared with all my fans, including you, gentle reader. You won't be very gentle by the time I'm through with you. For I reach, then teach and preach, the subtle and brutal ways of blogocombat, verbal battle, and mental warfare. From esoteric trollbot squashings to fundamental oppositional tactics, you grow daily as I feed you what I receive in the trenches and the fields of titanic warrior woeful lands.

Clobbering and overwhelming, sneak attacks and frontal assaults, terrible traps and misconjunctions, all is revealed in language that only the true initiates may comprehend and subsequently put to use in actual live-fire situations.

Let's look at the musical blogocombat arena, as it happens to manifest in the feuds of Jamaican rasta hop. My man Busy Signal (gotcher bakk), is accused of making the music scene stream a "bitter" well of poisonings. Busy Signal has been a creation stepper where even a rat a cut a bottle.

My comments are [bracketed in red].

"Busy Signal: Violence and Feuds in Jamaican Dancehall" on UTNE Reader.


In Jamaica, “where music saturates everything like fluoride in tap water, the water these days has a new bitterness to it,” Edwin “Stats” Houghton writes for the Fader. That bitterness is embodied in the musician Busy Signal, part of a wave of Jamaican dancehall that has garnered worldwide attention, but has been unable to transcend the feuds endemic in the lyrics and origins of the music.

[PLUPERFECTER: Who is he to say that musicians are obligated to hurry up and put an end to nasty "feuds"? Without feuds, musical blogocombat, what would the critics and reviewers have to write about? Oh yeah: the music itself in some imaginary pure state, untarnished by human realities like strife and debate.]

A general angst permeates the Jamaican dancehall scene, according to Houghton, with feuds breaking out between musicians. And some of the fights have translated into real violence in the streets. Many believe the petty fights between the stars of Jamaican dancehall have held the music back from achieving its full potential. An industry professional confided in Houghton, off the record, that the music has, “Too much war and bun chi-chi man. Nobody outside Jamaica wan hear that!”

[PLUPERFECTER: So the same guys who love violence in sports are whining about rough and tumble disputes in the music world? The same dudes who march off to war to kill whoever their leaders tell them to, are bitching about how conflict is having a detrimental effect on the music, which, remember, is supposed to inhabit some pretty little floating cloud world where everybody's happy and cooperating and smiling all the time?]

Busy Signal began at the center of the musical feuds, trading violent lyrics and allegedly pulling a knife on stage in 2006.

[PLUPERFECTER: Big deal. Flashed a knife onstage. Wow. How soon we forget Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimi Hendrix and The Who burning and destroying their instruments in the 50s and 60s. How about the Cabaret Voltaire and the Dada poets who punctuated their recitals with revolvers firing, bullets penetrating the ceiling of the lecture hall? This was around 1930!]

He then took a hiatus from the scene in a an attempt to transcend the fights between his fellow Jamaican musicians. His new music still addresses violent themes, but he now emphasizes a unity among his fellow dancehall luminaries, choosing instead to focus on the music. He told Houghton:

Sundays to Sundays, music. By the sweat of your brow, you eat. Me wan build a museum, an me nuh want no museum built after me dead. We wan do these things before man, so if death come, whatever. Keep Drilling.

The problem, Houghton writes, is that “His voice has become so synonymous with the dark pulse of runnings in Kingston that it seems legitimate to wonder if he is part of the curse or the disease.”

[PLUPERFECTER: So there's no room for repentance, a change of heart and a new start? A man is forever defined by one chapter in his life? Reinvention of persona and mission are impossibilities? One cannot rise above the past and carve out a new identity? Mr. Critic, you're dumb as mud.]

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