The illustrious Vybz Kartel a.k.a. Adidja A. Palmer arrived for us in a moment when we needed him most: on Friday, June 26th, 2020, Addi, as he is commonly known, dropped his umpteenth studio album, Of Dons & Divas, a firm, reverent, compilation of bops and tunes to stay your mind, tune your vibes, and key your heart to the venerable things of this world: respect, relationships that you can trust, fortitude, and forward movement.
Dancehall music has reached its good heights because of Vybz Kartel, and I anticipate its further arrival into the mainstream just because he has allowed it.
This is an action packed album, with almost all of the eighteen tracks featuring collaborations with at least one of his many protégés. Lyrics are classic Kartel: verdant, vigorous, and straight to the point — and to the satisfaction of his audience — many of his guests can keep up. My favorite tracks are many and truth be told, there is still much to reap from this album in the days ahead. "Of Dons & Divas" plays its refrain in my head, while "Cute Rider [Reggaeton Mix]" was keeping me company as I mumbled in my sleep a couple of nights ago. Then there is "Jump on the Beat," "Pretty Butterfly," "Stay With Me," and "Presidential" as stellar tracks to soften the blows and ease the mind from a difficult time; no doubt there is much to glean from these tracks as Mr. Kartel calms and soothes while delivering verses that align people with sense and recompense for those whom reap it. "No Prison" is beautiful; Mr. Kartel's musicality is underrated by some but it had better not be for long, as his ability to adjust his style to suit the music and the message is innate and unlike any other reggae artist that we have ever seen. This, coupled with his ability to deliver clever verses that shine, underline, and sweeten his good vibes of virility, stoicism, and charm is unmistakable evidence of his worth. Dancehall music has reached its good heights because of Vybz Kartel, and I anticipate its further arrival into the mainstream just because he has allowed it.
[H]is ability to adjust his style to suit the music and the message is innate and unlike any other reggae artist that we have ever seen.
His music is friendly, alive with zeal and conscious, as he bids his listeners to "Don't let go" and "Fight it" on "Depend on You," a relevant message today. This is not new, as Mr. Kartel has always taken time at various points in his career to remind people to remain focused, firm, and distant to negative energy. His kindness is evident in his music, while his intellect is second to none; he is skillful, soulful, and sound itself, and his art is his alone to rule and to conquer.
While the world awaits the arrival of its World Boss, we are allowed to savor his tracks, and this album is Mr. Kartel's way of extending his lead on the pack and sharing the gains with his fortunate few. I hope you would sing along.
WRITTEN BYOdetta A Fraser