Hear Her Roar
Jada Kingdom is unquestionably dancehall’s premier female lyricist; able to write party hits, songs of pain and tracks dissing her rivals in rapid succession.
Fader Magazine has described Jada Kingdom as Jamaica’s alternative voice of pain. As appropriate of a title as that is, it doesn’t fully explain Jada’s impact on Jamaica’s dancehall scene, and the music industry in general. She is unquestionably dancehall’s premier female lyricist; able to write party hits, songs of pain and tracks dissing her rivals in rapid succession.
Case in point, these past two months Kingdom has released three songs: The first, Shen-Heng, a response to rival Shenseea’s attack of her at an event sponsored by Red Bull. Less than 24 hours later, Jada outclassed her rival with a song that has over a million YouTube streams.
A third of the trilogy of songs is the dancefloor jam Heavy, but the song that grabbed my attention is her powerful attack at sexual predators, Execution.
Before we listen to and discuss Execution, it’s important to recognize Jada Kingdom’s place in reggae and dancehall. Koffee has exploded onto the scene with Billboard charting hits at the age of 20. She regularly collaborates with young hip hop and RnB stars. Shenseea is categorized as dancehall, but she’s a pop artist. With multiple charting hits, she’s quickly becoming Jamaica’s answer to Barbados mega-star Rhianna. It’s a different world from the time when hyper-sexual artists like Spice and Lady Saw were the most popular in dancehall. In this time, female artists can take risks. Case in point, Jada Kingdom’s Execution.
There has been a long history of Jamaican popular music being an outlet for unfiltered honesty. What makes Execution unique is it’s candid, matter of fact approach. Also, it’s production. This sounds more like a pop song than a dancehall riddim. It is a pop song…threatening violence towards sexual predators.
That brazen honesty is what is missing from corporately-produced pop songs. They lack the bravery to actually talk to their fans. If you read the comments to the video for Execution, survivors feel comfortable to share their sentiments, as if they’re in a conversation with Jada Kingdom. These are fans that will support her their whole lives.
She’s not the only Jamaican artist speaking on the plight of sexual abuse. This Summer, popular crooner Romain Virgo released his song Dutty Man. After seeing a young lady singing his song on Instagram, he re-recorded the song as a duet with the future star.
However, Jada Kingdom’s lyrical diversity is unquestioned. After releasing, arguably the most controversial song of her career. A song that cuts much deeper than Dutty Man, her follow up was Heavy, a song that celebrates her sexuality, size and freedom to have fun at a party.
If you haven’t been paying attention to her, Jada Kingdom may be the bravest, most diverse, and talented songwriter of her generation. As we roll over to a new decade, if you’re not paying attention to Jada Kingdom you’re going to miss out on something special.