Spragga Benz Says Afrobeats Isn’t A Threat To Dancehall

Jamaican artist Spragga Benz says Afrobeats has taken over a spot once held by Dancehall, but he doesn’t see the shift as a problem.

“It’s a shift in the musical arena definitely, it shuffle round,” the She Nuh Ready Yet artist recently told Kwasi Bonsu on the Lions Voice Network podcast. “It [Afrobeats] deh inna a position where dancehall was, economically and even being pushed to the extreme but I don’t see it as a problem or a threat or nothing at all because it still derive from Dancehall just like many other genres of music derive from reggae and dancehall so a still we.”

Benz emphasizes the importance of learning from successful models. “We need fi get ourselves organized as an industry still weh demand the respect weh others want,” he said.

“The structures deh deh weh can follow, we no have fi tek everything but you know we can take good parts weh work fi we and as me say we need an organization fi try set that so the upcoming youths dem understand tha trod deh.”

Despite Afrobeats’ popularity, Benz believes 90s dancehall remains relevant due to its emotional connection. “The happiness that 90s had, it wasn’t so dark, it wasn’t digitized yet to lose the warmth of the sound and that contributed to that sound from the 90s and then we really never a go so hard or so graphic as people think, we still kind a contain wi self, certain way. We never a go affa shock value, nowadays dem say a shock value so a shock value,” he reasoned.

The interview also touched on Spragga’s work with legendary dancehall producer Dave Kelly, which includes Things A Gwan on the Pepper Seed Riddim (1993), Machinegun Kelly on the Medicine Riddim (1995), The Test on the Murderation Riddim (1995), Hunting on the Joy Ride Riddim (1996), Girl Watcher on the Stink Riddim (1996), We Nuh Like on the Showtime Riddim (1997), Do It and Done on the Bruck Out Riddim (1998), and Can’t Get No Gal on The Bug Riddim (1999).  

Benz explained how magical it was to work with Kelly, though it wasn’t without creative differences.

“It was always a good creative energy fi know say Dave a build the riddim while at the same time mi a think of an idea or couple ideas , you know we ago bounce it affa each other and ask how this sound but is a youth weh basically know weh him wah hear so him know how fi tell you exactly weh him wah hear which might not be wha you wah say but Dave is a great producer,” he said.

“A wah add in most cases if you go wid wha him say it work fi you so I don’t want anybody think a anything bad,” he clarified.


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