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Welcome to 'Dancehall Disney World'

SONIC BOOM Seani, right in conversation with Boom Boom in Kingston

THE CAPITAL of Jamaica, Kingston, is a very special place for so many different reasons.

The hustle and the bustle of Half Way Tree or downtown Kingston is enough for you to tap out and go to sleep by early evening. However, if you were to do that, you would miss out on a unique party experience that I don’t believe you can get anywhere else in the world.

In Kingston it’s not a problem to party in the infamous street dances seven days of the week and see the same faces night in, night out. Wet Sundaze and Bounty Sundays, Mojito Monday and Uptown Mondays, Boasty Tuesdays, Weddy Weddy Wednesday and Magnum Wednesday plus All Star Thursdays are some of the events that will keep you entertained during the week in Kingston.

Friday and Saturday night are club or party night outs – standard. As part of this unique experience that I like to label the “Dancehall Disney World” because of its entertainment value, you have unofficial workers of this night time trading that are essential.

The parking attendants, food vendors, higglers (hustlers) that sell cigarettes, gum, sweets out of a box, the all important Ganja Man, the skankers, modellers, spenders, video man, photographers and promoters are just some of the people who keep the wheels turning.

To me, it’s very clear that dancehall nightlife is an industry that evidently looks after the less financially fortunate of Jamaican society. I am sitting in Grants Pen, Kingston, with top selector and DJ Boom Boom, who agrees with me wholeheartedly.

“From Sunday to Thursday during the week, events keep us in the streets. It all kicks off on Sunday, which is my event – Boom Sundays. “You see so many stars come up here,” Boom Boom tells me. We have to salute people like Raheem Sterling, who comes up here to have a good time, the same for Usain Bolt.”

Boom has been a top tier selector in Jamaica from 2009 after being crowned the selector of the year by Stone Love and The Star newspaper. His success, however, didn’t come instantly.

PICTURED: Boom Boom doing the rounds with fellow selector Harry Hype

“It wasn’t until 2014 that the ting really took off internationally,” he explains. To become number one in this fiercely contended market you have to be armed with the right tools – music, entertainment, speeches and slangs. At his “tourist board approved” event of Hot Mondays he displays on a weekly basis why he holds the coveted position.

A mass crowd would wait outside until Boom Boom and selector Harry Hype enter what he has dubbed “the stadium”. The party starts when Boom hollers “ball game, operationnnnn!” down the mic.

He has his “cheer- leaders” and “skankers” that assist in creating a vibe in the party. Look at the tourists, they ood the streets and you never hear one of them complain yet that they have got bad treatment,” Boom explains. “You haffi give respect to the dancers as they contribute to the tourists coming here.”

He adds: “The skankers are a very big draw for the European tourists that come to the street events. During the day they take classes and then come to the events at night to show off what they have learnt. It’s a very good income for them right now, dem ting tun up loud!”

Many records that become anthems start out in the “system” of Kingston. “It’s not a one- man ting,” Boom says. “Many of my coworkers like Stone Love, EarthLink Sound, DJ Tom and Ravers and Ruxie put in the work. The whole a we come together and play the ball game.”

During my stay in town I’ve heard a few hotshots in the streets, plus a few artists that seem to be getting support. “Seani, right now we haf go all out with the young artists Kibaki and Fully Bad,” Boom says.

“Also big up Quada Don from Popcaans. Unruly camp, ‘cos he found two big songs last year, but I haven’t heard anything yet this year.”

He adds: “My breakthrough artist has got to be Jada Kingdom. I like her voice. The female artists a gwan wid a ting right now, Shenseea and Koffee.”

To close I cautiously ask Boom Boom to tell me his three top songs. Politically, this can be dangerous!

“From the songs that are released so far this year I would say Teejay’s Owna Lane, Tommy Lee’s Blessings and Jahmiel’s Mankind.”

At this point Boom Boom screams out one of his slangs – “I wonder if dem hear, operationnnn...!”

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