Dancehall artist Deva Bratt is on the run in the United States after a warrant was issued for his arrest.
Bratt, who has been based in Florida for the last few years, has his legal troubles grew deeper when he missed a court date earlier this month. A judge immediately issued a warrant for his arrest but cops have been unable to find him ever since.
Deva Bratt, born Sheldon Smith, was to appear in court on a traffic violation in West Palm Beach. The dancehall deejay was pulled over and cited for driving without a valid licence.
Sources close to the deejay, told Urban Islandz that he could be deported to Jamaica upon his arrest or worse case could be sent to jail.
“He could be deported back to Jamaica if he is arrested,” our source said. “He will most likely held without bail also so the longer he is on the run is the worse things get for him.”
Amid Vybz Kartel's legal battles, there comes even more news from the 'Gaza' camp as the 2007-formed Portmore Empire has been disbanded. Shortly after his much-publicised fallout with Alliance head honcho Bounty Killer, and his exit from the group, Vybz Kartel looked to his hometown of Portmore, St Catherine, to raise his own musical force, which would later be aptly titled the Portmore Empire.
At the time of its origin, the group consisted of mainly young artistes like Blak Ryno (now Ryno), Craig Dennis (deceased), Omeil, Lisa Hype (now Lisa Hyper), Nuclear, Dosa Medicine, Shawn Storm, and Deva Bratt, who was touted to be Kartel's right hand and the one who was "leading out the Empire". A few fallouts and scandals later with artistes like Deva Bratt, Lisa Hyper, Gaza Kim (now Kym), Jah Vinchi, and Ryno, the size of the group has dwindled.
In recent days, the Empire came to boast acts like Popcaan, Gaza Slim, Sheba, Gaza Indu, Shawn Storm, and Tommy Lee. However, in a recent release sent to The STAR, Adidjahiem Records announced news of the disbanding with a statement from incarcerated boss, Adidja 'Vybz Kartel' Palmer.
It read: "Dancehall fans worldwide, it is with great regret that I, Adidja Palmer, have decided to disband the Portmore Empire. These artistes have been under the Adidjahiem leadership for years, where they have honed their craft and made their mark, and as such, are well on their way to becoming major forces in dancehall." It continued: "They have reached a level where they are more capable of taking on their careers by themselves, and it would be unfair to them, based on the limited resources of Adidjahiem Records, and the current legal woes of the Adidjahiem CEO, and team members. I wish them the best, and I am confident that they will live up to my expectations. In the future, Adidjahiem will continue to bring out new acts and groom them for stardom. Thank you."
It also stated that members of the Portmore Empire, Vanessa 'Gaza Slim' Saddler and Leroy 'Tommy Lee' Russell are moving on with their careers under a newly formed label, PG 13. "PG 13 is the new name right now. a just deh so di ting deh, and that's all mi haffi say," When pressed as to how she felt since the group has now been dissolved, Gaza Slim said she had no comments and would only be focusing her attention on the new PG 13 label. In similar manner, Tommy Lee said PG 13 was where he would now be based. "A PG 13 me say straight. A dat me a say," Both artistes have been part of the Portmore Empire since 2010. The 'gaza prefect', Popcaan, who rose to the heights of fame under the guidance of Palmer, has been doing well for himself. Efforts to contact him, however, since Kartel's incarceration proved futile.
The other standing member, Shawn Storm, was whisked away by the authorities as he is said to be implicated in the legal woes with Kartel.
Just when you think L.A. Lewis is finished, he always comes with something new. This time around, it isn't so much about a beef with an artiste or about his islandwide graffiti, it's about his latest idea, the Gaza Federation.
Deejay Vybz Kartel brought the Portmore Empire group to fame soon after its 2007 inception. The group later started the 'Gaza' movement. Now, with Vybz Kartel's court woes, the 'seven star general' has made it his duty to "run the Gaza while the boss is away". "Mi live a Portmore and mi like wah Kartel did a do...a buss the youths but now dem a frame him so we just a continue it. Mi a run di thing because nobody nah really run it. When him come back him a di boss still, but for now me a run it," he explained.
Lewis told The STAR that thus far, the Gaza Federation members include Lackchat, Chin, Dolla Speng and long-time Portmore Empire member Dosa Medicine, among others. He plans to approach Deva Bratt to join the group and is giving deejay Popcaan one week to join or face the consequences.
"Everybody have him as a Judas so mi a give him a week fi come sign in back," he said.
When contacted Deva Bratt said he has no intention of joining the group.
"No time! A Krucial Konflict mi a seh right now, mi an mi artiste dem happy right now and just a work," he told The STAR. He is currently working with young acts like Askel 45, Polka Dot, Lando Swizz, Hotta Mud, Toxic and Fire Flames and has the Uncle and the Exorcist rhythms now out.
He went on to say that with all his legal run-ins now behind him, he is aiming to develop a working relationship with all musicians and disc jockeys. "Mi songs them a reach overseas and the people are asking how comes them not hearing me out here on the radio, but don't worry I'm still here. Right now I'm just getting ready to start working with the disc jockeys again," he said.
Lewis is also looking to release the first rhythm from the Gaza Federation titled War Season.
He plans to now go by the stage name War Angel, aka 7 Star General, reserving L.A. Lewis for the business part of things. He recently fired warning shots at deejays Lyara and KipRich in songs like Warning Shot and War Season and is now warning them that the Gaza Federationwill crush anybody in its path.
"Mi do three tune fi KipRich an all now him nuh answer like a scared him scared. Lyara a KipRich spouse so mi just a rub out di whole a dem and di corruption. From yuh fight against wi system yuh a fight against the Gaza Federation. A we a di secret society," he said. He plans to approach Deva Bratt to join the group and is giving deejay Popcaan one week to join or face the consequences.