Vybz Kartel recently spoke on his feelings towards dancehall artistes and his former proteges Popcaan and Tommy Lee Sparta chiding, “no one’s perfect.”
Rumored tension among the Worl’Boss and his compatriots Popcaan and Tommy Lee Sparta, goes way back to his 2012 murder trial. Kartel was looking at life behind bars for the killing of Clive “Lizard” Williams, and he had apparently felt abandoned by Popcaan and Tommy Lee. The artiste alluded to both his proteges having stabbed him in the back as he claimed neither of them had made any attempts to visit him in prison upon his arrest. In a statement to the Jamaica Star at that time he wrote, “Despite being denied bail recently, and being betrayed by Popcaan and Tommy Lee while going through the darkest hour of my existence, I am unparalleled in my determination to remain positive.”
In an Urban Islandz article in 2012, Popcaan shared his thoughts surrounding the abandonment and betrayal claims made against him by Vybz Kartel. He stated, “Since his incarceration I have not visited Vybz Kartel, nor have any members of the Portmore Empire visited him to date. In September 2011 it was explained to us that only family members were allowed to visit at set times once a week.”
Popcaan revealed that he made inquiries on several ocassions only to be turned away. He added that Kartel told him to stay away from the police and focus on his career.
Several diss tracks aimed at Popcaan by Vybz Kartel and fellow Gaza Empire member Shawn Storm followed but Popcaan insisted that he had nothing but love and respect for his former mentor. “I am grateful and am loyal to Vybz Kartel for the opportunity of working with the Portmore Empire, for everything I learned from him about the music business, life, friendship and family. He is a brother, a father figure, ‘mi real chargie.’”
Vybz Kartel and Popcaan rekindled their friendship in September of 2018 after Vybz Kartel posted a clip of him and Popcaan performing together as a throwback tribute. Popcaan commented on the post, and things were said to be alright between the two. Vybz Kartel had also patched things up with Tommy Lee a few months prior to that.
Three weeks ago, social media was in an uproar as allegations began to circulate that Vybz Kartel had planned an assassination attempt on Popcaan back in 2016. The idea was incited by YouTube vlogger, Sir P of Politricks Watch. He stated that Vybz Kartel was jealous of Popcaan, who was on the fast-track to success and was afraid that his former protégé would now outshine him. However, the assassination attempt was thwarted by the police, who provisioned for Popcaan and his entourage of vehicles to navigate a long line of traffic along Hellshire Main Road where the road was blocked. Allegedly that is where the hit was expected to take place, but Popcaan unbeknownst to him narrowly escaped an ill-fated attack. Both artistes did not seem to take the accusations seriously, though, as Vybz Kartel posted the claim on his Instagram Story writing, “I wanna kill someone, but s**t, roadblock!! Mi na badda,” with two laughing emoticons. Popcaan reposted Kartel’s hilarious quip.
On the heels of his new album “Of Dons & Divas,” which was released on June 26, 2020, Vybz Kartel rehashed his feud with Popcaan and Tommy Lee, explaining that he has forgiven them. In a new feature for Boomshots, via Vibe, Kartel was asked if he considered including Popcaan on the album. He was also asked about the infamous betrayal he spoke about 8 years ago.
“I mean, I’m a forgiving person so I have forgiven as I have been forgiven because at the end of the day no one’s perfect, and sometimes when you address stuff while you’re angry you usually say some hurtful stuff,” the incarcerated deejay said. “It is what it is though, and I’m proud to see their victories… It all started from Bounty Killa, this “buss artiste as an artiste” thing (as far as I’m concerned), so I just pay forward and that’s the result. Time is the healer still.”
The positivity beaming from the Teacha’s statements is commendable, and maybe one day, we will be blessed to see both him and Popcaan collaborating on a track together. Currently, dancehall artiste Tommy Lee is being detained at the Freeport Police Station as he was listed as a person of interest by police. Still, there are prayers going up with fans hoping that he will be released soon.
In light of this interview, a track boasting all three artistes would be highly welcomed.