Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jamaica, land of wood, water and ...

Daggering : local Jamaican slang word used to describe intense sexual intercourse; more recently extended to include explicit dance hall lyrics and style of dancing which glorify and or imitate rough sex.

Even from the time of the Arawak (Tanios), the native Indians that Columbus met when he re-discovered the island in 1492, Jamaica was known as the land of wood and water. More recently however it seems Jamaica has become better known as the land of wood, water and daggering. A recent public commentary clip saw people divided over the censorship by the Jamaican government to ban all 'daggering' songs and videos from the airways and public transportation. The views ranged from full agreement, to out right disagreement as ' di music nice yah man'.

I am by no means a prude - I must admit to always having liked dancehall and in my hey day, loved the likes of Shabba to Lady Saw. Granted, must admit that they were no way near as crude as what I hear these days. Selective memory? I wonder. Still remember my Mother was adamant that those kind of songs must not be played in her house! Granted we didn't call them daggering then.

My first introduction to this phenomenon of daggering was seeing the video for 'Rampin' Shop' - a collaboration between Vybz Kartel and Spice that has assumed the proportion of a national dancehall anthem. This had some how made it on to Trace, a music channel on DSTV. Though they played the 'clean' version, anyone with a smattering of sense would know exactly what was being referred to. Just to give an insight :

[Kartel:] All wen a nite yuh pu**y feel like sun hot, wen yuh come inna mi ramping shop
Mek sure yuh kno how fi wuk and ah chat yah ah chat, when you come inna mi ramping shop,
Cocky* nuh play, mi will bruk yuh back, when yuh come inna mi ramping shop
Me will quint* it up two time and pop yuh cock*, when yuh come inna mi ramping shop
Me will mek yuh run out a mi house, inna half ah frock*, when yuh come inna mi ramping shop
* ramping shop : local slang for bedroom
* Cocky or cock : local slang for penis
* frock : local slang for dress
* in local slang when a woman says she will 'quint' it , this refers to the tightening of the vaginal muscles during sex.

My brother - an avid dancehall fan - is against the ban totally. Key point for him is that these same politicians and high society don next to nothing every year during the Easter holy season in the spririt of Carnival and 'wine up' on everything in sight - daggering soca style? He thinks that as usual, it's a direct 'fight' against Jamaican dancehall music. He is of the opinion that if the Government cleans this up then clean up everything else - hip hop, R&B, soca, you name it.

Maybe as a lot of people have noted, the ban is all a little too late. Afterall, Jamaican dancehall and dancing have always being sexually suggestive in nature, and daggering is just an new word for old habits.
Frankly, I think that better care must be taken to what is played on air - be it dancehall or any other genre of music, and from that perspective I support the ban. I would loathe for my four year old niece to be walking around singing ' when you come inna mi rampin' shop', or as the lyrics to another says ' ben ' over, ben' over, ben over, backway, back way, girl I want to... 'worse yet, attempting all the moves. Leave that for the numerous dancehall sessions that is held on the various days of the week : Hot Monday,Weddy Weddy Wenesday, Passa Passa, Dutty Friday or wherever else adults choose to be.

Interestingly too since the ban, quite a bit more conscious music is being played on the airwaves, giving credence to the fact that Jamaican dancehall or Jamican music for that matter is more than daggering.


posekyere said...

Gee Denise,
Jamaicans, it seems to me, are extremely hooked by the business.
In my mind your post reads like: Jamaica a land of daggering, more daggering and excessive daggering.

Denise said...

Hmmm, could it be that we are all hooked by the business and Jamaicans are just a bit more explicit about it? Granted sometimes one can be too explicit.
On a more serious note though the general consensus seems to be that this isn't the type of issue that children need to be exposed to.