Jamaica Gleaner
Published: Sunday | February 1, 2009
Home : Commentary
'Rampin' Shop' - musical poison

As a principal of a school of over 1,930 students with approximately 1,000 being boys, I am faced daily with the fact that as a nation, we are rearing our children on garbage in terms of the values that as a society we are passing on to them.

There are some parents who try to counter the effects of this filth that so permeates our society, but it is becoming increasingly difficult when the Government will not censor the filth that portrays itself as entertainment in the audio and visual media.

This belief that music and videos that promote unbridled sexual expression, violence, the debasement of women and disrespect for authority is acceptable, is further reinforced by entertainers and academics who come on talk shows and interview programmes on the television and speak about the right of the people to express themselves in the dancehall space.

I have a feeling that in the same way that Vybz Kartel does not allow his children to listen to his slackness, that many of these academics do not expose their children to this type of entertainment, which they so glibly promote as being acceptable. I cry shame on them, because I am seeing the damage that their endorsement and promotion of such filth is doing to our children.

x-rated lyrics

My outrage has been fuelled by the knowledge that one of Vybz Kartel's songs, Rampin'' Shop, was being voted on FAME FM in its #1 vote for favourite song for the week recently. I will describe this song to you in as decent terms as I conjure, which is very difficult. The song is done by Vbyz Kartel and Spice. It is done as if two lovers were having violent sex and describing in graphic, vulgar, obscene language, how it should be done. The introduction begins by Vybz Kartel introducing himself as, "ah di teacha", with Spice replying, "And ah spice". They then go on to condemn same-sex relationships, and then launch into what can only be described as something which takes place in triple x-rated pornographic movies.

Who is responsible? We must work together to stop enriching people like Vybz Kartel who create filth and are then paid when they release it on the public. The corporate giants in this nation who are promoting such filth need to come into the schools and see what is happening to the minds of the young. Vybz Kartel needs to have his children listen to his songs and analyse them and give him their feedback. Government ministers, such as the minister of education and the prime minister, need to sit and listen to some of these songs and understand the devastating impact they are having on the psyche of the Jamaican children.

students' views

I will now share with you some of the views of some students on this song. Students from seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th and 13th grade gave 115 written responses. All but two of these students describe the song as being disgusting, inappropriate for air play and having a negative impact on their psyche.

Tenth grade - "The song Rampin'' Shop by Vybz Kartel and Spice can be heard everywhere. While walking on the road it is playing in the cars of motorists passing by. The schoolchildren play it every time on their phones. They play it with the expletives, unedited, having no respect for the other passengers on the bus. It is played on the television, radio and the Internet. A song of this manner should not be available to the underage public. It is poisoning the minds of children and should be banned."

"This song is a total disgrace to Jamaica. I hear it every night when they have dances down the road from my house. Vybz Kartel went all out for this song. It is very slack and when I hear it I feel very uncomfortable about my body because of those hard-core lyrics!! Spice is no better! She is a disgrace as a woman and she is no help in how men view us as women. Sex was created by God for marriage. It is special. Kartel makes it seem like a video game!"

"The edited version does not make sense because even with the edited parts out you can know what is there."

"I think I'm becoming addicted to it because it's basically everywhere I go. I know what the lyrics are saying is wrong but it's hard to resist something that's constantly around you."

Thirteenth grade - "Honestly, that song is lewd and disgusting as, not only is it degrading women, but it also reflects the direction in which this country is going. I see children as young as four years old singing that song from beginning to end. That is basically giving the step by step process of how to take part in sex activity."

Ninth grade - "I think that Spice is not setting a good example for her child and a lot of people look up to her. For her to sing a song like Rampin'' Shop shows she has no self-respect and none for her fans. As a mother, she should not be behaving in such a manner."

Eighth grade - "One night I was singing it loud as if I wanted to do what Spice and Vybz Kartel was doing."

Seventh grade - "In my opinion, Rampin'' Shop has a very negative effect on our youths. We have to listen to these sexual lyrics not because we want to, but because it is polluting our communities."

"I have been disturbed by this song. The morals are very unsuitable for young children, teens or even young adults. They have put together the sketel and badman of dancehall and the product? Immorality. I know that Jamaican teens love it because it is very easy to catch on to, but how does this help our young people?"

All I have left to say is this. Until the decent, well-thinking citizens of this nation begin to be outraged and put a stop to this airing of filth, then we have condemned ourselves as a nation doomed for destruction. We are destroying the psyche of our children - our future.

Esther Tyson is principal of Ardenne High School, St Andrew. Feedback may be sent to columns@gleanerjm.com.

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