It has crossed everyone’s mind at some point or the other and despite defusing assertions from his team in the past, the question still stands — Does Vybz Kartel make music from prison?

According to the dancehall deejay in a 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, he stated that the correctional facility he is currently serving time strictly prohibits the use of cellphone, laptops or any internet-capable devices. However, at the time he had already released hundreds of songs, then fast-forward to today that figure has perhaps octupled by now.

Kartel insisted that the material used to produce the songs back then, after his incarceration, (and presumably now) were from unused music archives he had made before he was sentenced to life in prison. He said, “I’ve always been a prolific songwriter, and I record at breakneck speed as well, so I have a lot of surplus material to choose from”. While there might be some truth to that, it doesn’t explain the use of present day lyrics in his songs.

Well the true test is here, the Department of Correction Services (DCS) in Jamaica has restricted visitation to the island’s facilities as of today Monday March 16th. This is done in efforts of preventing the spread of COVID-19 within the prison population.  The prison authorities even said that there are no guarantees that visits to its facilities will resume after the prescribed incubation period of two weeks have passed.

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Vybz Kartel with protege Sikka Rymes during a prison visit

So while friends and family can rest assure that the Worl’ Boss will be kept safe during this worldwide pandemic, it has left his fans perhaps confused. When will we be hearing another Kartel master copy? After all, much have speculated that the only way he has been able to release new music is to do so on a device that was brought into the facility.

Since the beginning of the year, there has been a steady release of music coming from The Teacha, so if this lock down does affect that trend then it would simply mean that his ‘unused archive’ has been used up. Kartel however is an unexplainable marvel; it would be more intriguing to know that it’s the pulling from his musical collection, from before his incarceration in 2011, that is being used to dominate dancehall to date.

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Vybz Kartel

Whether he’s secretly recording music behind bars or delegating to his team which songs or lyrics to use from his file of music, this visitation ban is expected to affect the frequency of his musical releases some how.

Fans are waiting to see what happens next, in the meantime let’s hope the DCS have protocols in place to ensure Jamaica’s favorite deejay is being cared for in the manner he’s grown accustomed to since his incarceration and not deprived even further during this volatile period.

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