Artistes sing for ‘Love in Montego Bay’
Distraught by crime and violence in their city, 16 Montegonian reggae artistes have raised their voices in a song which aims to transmit a message of unity and hope to inhabitants of Jamaica's second city.
Tagged Love in Montego Bay - Artistes Against Violence, the project is the brainchild of Maxie 'Mark X' Kerr, who co-wrote the lyrics with Kingston-based songwriter Patrick 'Black Pearl' Howell. The song was released on social media on Tuesday afternoon, and is already a hit.
Some of the big names supporting the project are: Mark X's mentor, Sonny Ranking, Queen Ifrica, Hezron, Shuga, Peter Lloyd, Mackie Conscious, ZJ Liquid, Rosh Rebel, Imeru Tafari and Sky Frass.
In Love in Montego Bay, Hezron and Shuga sing:
Tired of the killing in Montego Bay,
I pray that the shottas them will change their ways.
Exchange all the sadness for a smile on your face ,
And bring back the unity in Montego Bay
Mark X, who was born in Kinlos, Trelawny, but grew up in Montego Bay, is convinced that no one person or institution can make the changes necessary to eradicate crime in his beloved city, and wants to go back to the days when the village raised the child.
"Montego Bay is our beloved child. And we, the Montegonians, are the village," he told THE WEEKEND STAR.
Mark X reasoned that the restoration of normality to his beloved Montego Bay cannot be left solely to the police or the national security minister, Dr Horace Chang. Anxious for a permanent solution, one that will give the town's youths optimism, Mark X argued that the city has been bleeding for far too long. He said that residents needed to re-evaluate their actions, and begin showing love for humanity, so unity can be achieved.
The St James Police Division recorded 160 murders in 2021, which represents 33 more than the previous year. Instances of shooting declined by 31 per cent, with 108 cases recorded during the year.
Queen Africa and Imeru capture the crime problem facing St James in the their verse:
Hey, body pon body can't count the amount,
All the family members in the amount.
Death a pass through a clear the place out,
tell the shottas them fi change them route
Tell a friend, tell a friend a time to be wise,
All them a do a mess up the paradise,
Anna COVID alone a mek death toll a rise
Mobay open unnu eyes.
Ranking, formerly of the duo 'Pants and Sonny', is hoping that the song will tug at the heartstrings of persons who are causing mayhem in the city.
"My dream is [that] it should reach some of these guys, [and] that by repeatedly hearing the song it will build some type of love in their hearts, and that over time we will see a reduction in crime, the gun shooting and the violence," Ranking said.
"Everybody wants the crime and violence to cease. It may not happen overnight but my hope is to touch even one of these guys," he added.
Mackie Conscious, who played an integral role in the project, said he was elated to lend his voice to the cause.
"The aim of this project is try to bring back the peace to Montego Bay. It was easy for me to be a part of this project," he stated.
He lauded Mark X for initiating the idea and not sitting around and watching his city destroyed.
"Mark X has just started. He wants the ears of Minister of Entertainment and Culture Olivia 'Babsy' Grange and the Jamaica Tourist Board, as well as Minister Chang. I want to see how the music video can be used on their platforms to better reach a wide cross-section of the Jamaican population," Mackie Conscious said.