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Vybz Kartel

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Portmore, Jamaica (1993 – present)

Vybz Kartel (born Adidja Palmer, Jan. 7, 1976) is a Jamaican dancehall deejay.

He was born at Kingston’s Victoria Jubilee Hospital, and was one of six children. Originally from Waterhouse, Kingston, he was raised in the Waterford district in the community Portmore, Jamaica. Adidja attended Calabar High School in Kingston but was expelled as a teenager. Determined to continue his education, he completed his studies at a tutorial technical school.

He was exposed to a wide variety of music from a tender age by two uncles who were themselves aspiring musicians. Every weekend he was treated to new musical offerings, on his uncle’s old component set, ranging from Sam Cooke to country and western ballads to Ninja Man, who became one of his musical heroes.

At 10 his favorites included artists as diverse as Ninja Man, Papa San, Charlie Chaplin, Will Smith and KRS-1, all of whose lyrics he would study word-for-word, performing them later for friends.

He decided he wanted to be a deejay and began writing his own lyrics when he was 11. Eager to flaunt his skills, Adidja and his friends frequented the weekly Gong Talent Show at the Coney Amusement Park on the outskirts of Kingston. To their chagrin, they were always gonged off when they got a chance to perform.

Undeterred by his weekly failure to impress the talent show audience, Adidja decided to hone his skills and concentrate on winning over his own community of Waterford until he was ready for bigger things. With that goal in mind, on weekends he would practise on neighborhood sound systems Soul Signal and Electric Force.

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