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Spragga Benz Says Afrobeats Poses No 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.

In a recent interview on the Lions Voice Network podcast, Jamaican artist Spragga Benz shared his thoughts on the rise of Afrobeats and its impact on Dancehall. While some might see it as a threat, Spragga embraces the shift, recognizing Afrobeats’ roots in Dancehall and the importance of learning from successful models.

“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.”

Spragga emphasizes the need for the Dancehall industry to get organized and demand respect.  “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.”

Although not a regular Afrobeats listener, Spragga was impressed by Black Sheriff’s music, which he describes as “just life” and not necessarily Afrobeats.

Despite Afrobeats’ popularity, Spragga believes Dancehall remains relevant due to its emotional connection. “The happiness that gos 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 gos 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, highlighting the creative energy and sometimes differing ideas that led to iconic tracks like 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).

“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,”

Spragga’s message is clear: embrace the shift, learn from success, and keep pushing the boundaries of music. As he says, “A wah add in most cases if you go wid wha him say it work fi you so I don’t want anybody think an anything bad,”

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