Despite being locked up since September 2011, dancehall artiste Vybz Kartel continues to be the leading entertainer in Jamaica, based on YouTube streaming data.
The World Boss, who is serving a life sentence for murder, is the most streamed artiste in Kingston, over the past 12 months. With 25.4 million views, Vybz Kartel narrowly leads Alkaline (25.3 million), Popcaan (19.4 million), Masicka (15.2 million) and Rygin King (11.1 million) as the top artistes being streamed out of Jamaica.
Alkaline and Kartel are jointly the top streamed artiste in Montego Bay with 455,000 views each. Popcaan (273,000) is at No 3; Rygin King (246,000) is fourth and Masicka (225,000) is fifth.
The title of top song streamed in Kingston belongs to Rygin King’s Tuff. Ella Mai’s Boo’d Up, We Pray (feat. Popcaan), They Don’t Know by Masicka and Popcaan’sInviolable round out the top five songs.
In Montego Bay, Teejay’s My Type is the most streamed song, followed by Vybz Kartel’sDeso It Deh, Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next, Teejay’s Uptop Boss and Trip by Ella Mai.
According to music analyst Donovan Watkis, Kartel remains on top despite being behind bars for seven years because he still maintains a very strong presence in the music industry.
“He is still connected to the culture by releasing new music that are hit songs, more than anyone else in dancehall,” Watkis said, adding that Vybz Kartel uses social media to his advantage.
FANBASE IS UNMATCHED
Watkis said that Kartel has a fanbase that is unmatched by any other artiste in the industry. That, paired with his ability to create songs that go with the times, makes him hard to beat.
“He has built the brand of Kartel and Gaza to the top of the food chain. He could sing “Hmmm” on a track and they (his fans) will love it. Kartel calls his YouTube page vybezkartelradio, so hot or not it doesn’t take much to get people’s attention,” Watkis said.
The analyst likened Kartel’s career to that of artistes like Beenie Man and Bounty Killer. He explained that during the peak of their careers, Beenie and Bounty also had loyal fanbases, but as new artiste emerged on the entertainment scene, the tight hold both entertainers had on the industry was slowly loosened. This appears to be the case in other countries in the region.
The YouTube statistics show Kartel behind artistes such as Popcaan and Alkaline in Trinidad and Tobago, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados.