Photo by Jamie-James Medina
Here is a short interview I did with Mavado after his Stratford Rex show at the end of last year.
Prancehall: I heard you first started singing in public in church when you were a kid. Did you have a good voice back then?
Mavado: Definitely. I have a good voice now, so I must have a good voice back then.
Were you using your "Gangster for life" catchphrase at church in those days?
What's the situation with you and Vybz Kartel?
Well the situation with me and Vybz Kartel, that kind of gone for along the while so I don't really talk about that any more.
Okay. Are you selective about the producers you will work with? You seem to have done a lot of work with Stephen McGregor.
Daseca – my management team, my producing team - they are the ones who do most of my riddims, you know what I mean? And then you've got Stephen [McGregor] so it's like a family so every time they've got a big riddim they know I'm the one to take it off to another level. Every time they've got a big rhythm they call Mavado.
You could have covered your album with collaborations from much bigger dancehall artists and I'm pretty sure it would have sold a lot more. Why did you decide against that?
Well, I could've had more guests on it but this is my first album and I think the people wanna hear more about Mavado, from Mavado, you understand? So that's why I even done this album with so many of my songs.
Is there anyone you would like to work with?
Well, a lot of producers like Sly and Robbie and all those people, and right now I'm really getting together to work with Sly & Robbie. You know, I'm already in the international market by doing some songs with international artists like Foxy Brown and Akon and Busta Rhymes for his album, and Wyclef, Uncle Murda and so many more, you know what I mean?
After blowing up rhythms like Red Bull & Guinness, you must get a lot of people these days asking you to vocal their rhythms...
People always try to approach me with money to do songs for them, but if I nuh like the riddim, if it nuh sound like my kind of riddim, if it nuh sound like my kind of thing and all of that, then me nuh go voice no matter how much you have, 'cos I'm not a person that cheat the music.
That's very noble. Tell me about your upbringing.
Well, you dun know, we from the gully – Kingston, Jamaica, Cassava Piece, Kingston 8, Kingston great, you know what I mean? Growing up now from the gully and ting, life hard, you know? But we still have to pull through and we have to still make it through life and came out to be a better man today. Cassava piece is a ghetto. It's just like you hear about Jungle and all of these places, and Tivoli Gardens and all of that. It's just one whole ghetto, that's why we say "Gully side." You know, 'cos it's just one gully side.
MP3: Lewi White feat. Busy Signal & Mavado - Vice Dub