Black Kat sound system top man, Pink Panther, has made a brutal assessment of the current state of dancehall music, saying that enough 'hardcore' tracks are not being recorded.
He also claimed that there are several members of his 5-Star Camp Production such as Fyah Mouth, Tattoo, Singing Sunshine, Red Lawd, Speng Shell, Trinidadian-based Supreme, Galla Wasp, Tender Baby, and Ingineer Zig Zag who are ready to fill that gap. Panther has built a reputation over the years as a ferocious 'sound clash' selector, but he now thinks that the traditional hardcore nature of dancehall is fast dying and selectors like him will suffer, especially at major sound-clash events.
Despite his recent announcement that he would he taking a two-year sabbatical from 'sound clash', the dynamic veteran said that artistes must get back to the roots of dancehall music as, according to him, there is too much hip-hop dancehall music being produced. He also made reference to the recent World Clash as several contestants drew mostly from their archives of 'clash songs' Panther, in a recent interview with the WEEKEND STAR, said that only a few songs since 2009 were worthy of being used in sound clashes. "I remember the days when artistes used to record a variety of songs. It looks like the current crop of artistes doesn't recognise that dancehall is about hardcore music," he remarked.
However, the 22-year music veteran insisted that while he understood that the current form of music marked a paradigm shift, especially given the Broadcasting Commission's policies and the general public's need for clean and uplifting music, the true nature of dancehall must not be neglected.
Instead, he has challenged artistes to continuously find ways to make dancehall relevant, through controversy, without breaching the policies of the necessary authorities. "Dancehall reached where it is now through controversy. 'lyrical war' is the root of dancehall music, and I'd like to see more artistes challenging each [other] in that regard," said Panther, who also acknowledged that the situation could have a negative effect on society. "Not everyone in the public will understand that it is just music. But the artistes can help to make it very comprehensible to the public that is just music. But the hardcore in dancehall is losing its position," he said. Panther emphasised that he was currently nurturing a group of talented upcoming dancehall artistes, who, he believed, could spark that change. "I have artistes for all purpose. If you want soothing music, party songs, or even 'war tune', they are here," he said, with reference to the nine artistes signed to his label.
When asked if he expected a mixed reaction from the public to his disclaimer, Panther said: "Of course! but I am speaking from the standpoint as 'sound clash' selector." Panther also stressed that he understood that music was a business, and if there was no demand for your supply, the product sales would decrease.