“You know how long we nuh go outside?”
Speaking for the voiceless people of Jamaica is what dancehall legend Cham does best, and in his latest tune, “Lock Down,” he gives voice to a rising sense of restlessness and frustration.
“I don’t give a f**k [No!],” he declares, reaffirming his rebel mindset. “We need a little fun before we go back and ah work.” But don’t get it twisted — Cham’s argument goes deeper than fighting for the people’s right to party. “Caan get fi hustle so we revenue shrink,” he spits on the track. “Yo man de people dem a get push to the brink.”
Never one to shy away from speaking truth to power, Cham also reminds Jamaica’s political leaders — who have a tendency to blame the social and economic issues on dancehall — that they asked people to come out and vote last September. “Election keep, how them say a pandemic?” Cham queries. “Me nuh trust the numbers; me feel them ah edit. So them can claim say a dancehall a spread it.” In a recent Instagram post, Cham addressed the controversy surrounding the tune. “What’s the plan leaders?” Cham stated. “That’s all we are asking.”
Dancehall culture has always been a much-needed release as well as an economic engine and a means of communication and community building. But even without street dances, the art form allows artists like Cham to speak truth to power. In this case, the same Prime Minister who held elections in the midst of the pandemic—and hired dancehall artists to voice dubplates in support of his candidacy—and has now instituted a total lockdown.
The hardcore juggling released under the A-Team Lifestyle imprint features such top talents as Vybz Kartel, Teejay, Charly Black, and Christopher Martin—with Cham being the latest addition to the star-studded lineup. The artist formerly known as Baby Cham blazed a trail throughout the ’90s and 2000s with Jamaica’s iconic Madhouse productions, collaborating with the likes of Alicia Keys, Rihanna, and Damian Marley.
“Lock Down”— not to be confused with Koffee’s song of the same name—was produced by Usain Bolt, who’s been known for breaking records in track and field competitions since the late 2000s. More recently, he’s been focused on making records in the studio. Famous athletes sometimes dabble in music as a hobby or a vanity project, but the world’s fastest man has become a legitimate force in the dancehall arena, as Bolt’s new Clockwork riddim clearly demonstrates.
Check the single’s visuals and get ready for an exclusive Instagram Live chat with Bolt and Cham today, hosted by Reshma B on VIBE’s Instagram page.