It was a pretty calm day at VP records, THE intentional Caribbean powerhouse, home to acts such as KONSHENS, GYPTIAN, BUNJI AND FAY ANN LYONS, SEAN PAUL, BERES HAMMOND, SANCHEZ, SHAGGY and many more Caribbean genres, international stars. In 2008 to 2009, anyone who knew me, hung out at my house (which served as the pre-game before "DI LIME" spot) or even to turn their radios on at all, couldn’t escape the sounds of 'THE TEACHER' & 'AH SPICE' with their mega Mash up hit "Romping Shop". Many times we would hear the MISS INDEPENDENT Riddim, also done by R&B singer and mega-super star producer, NEYO and hold our breath to hear the seductive lyrics of the reggae SUPER can! Vybz Kartel was (at the time), proved to be THE most talented, yet controversial and long-standing, internationally renowned "permanent" fixture on the CARIBBEAN scene with years of MASH UP hits such as: "HELLO MOTTO", "SO MEH SAY", "TIGHT GYAL DEM" "LOVE" and "VIRGINITY" were only a few of the massive list of hit songs that the dancehall genius would deliver to the scene. The reigning, lyrical innovator and prince of dancehall, KARTELaka Adidja Palmer wasn't the only voice that made masses around the world go crazy over THE ROMPING SHOP phenomenon. The sweet, yet, cleverly slack (raunchy) female MC appropriately named SPICE, stood her own, and to most, better than her male co-star, Dj Palmer just as fellow Caribbean Queen, Nicki Minaj did with J and Kanye in "MONSTER".
As she ended her interview before she came over to THE C.A.B station (aka. DANES' DESK) the fun-sized, brown skinned beauty, sporting her blue hair simply asked before we got started “Can I just put on a likkle more lip gloss before we start?"
A girl after my own heart!
I smiled and said "sure" as I began to set up the audio for our exclusive Q and A. We are, on some level, familiar and LOVING the spice, but now its time for the CHARISMATIC and, ever-so sufficient GRACE
STARLISA: YOU KNOW YOU COOK FOOD, WHAT ACTUALLY MAKES THE FOOD SO GOOD?
Spice: It’s the “Spice”
Spice: Without de spice it nah go niiiiiiicceeeee, haha!
STARLISA: WHICH SPCE WOULD YOU BE IN THE DANCEHALL SCENE AND WHY?
Spice: I am the SALT, in Dancehall because without SALT in your food, it has no flavor and I am also a likkle peppah, to make it spicy. I, also provide that in DANCEHALL because I am always coming with something different. Whether it's my performance, my entry on stage, from my lyrics to my blue hair and shoes that I wear, I am pepper.
STARLISA: YOU DEFINITELY ARE! NOW, THE MECCA OF TRINIDADIAN EVENTS IS CARNIVAL. TO ME, THE JAMAICAN EQUIVILENT [TO ME] WOULD BE ‘STING’!
STARLISA: FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE NEVER BEEN, TAKE US THROUGH THE STING EXPERIENCE
Spice: OK, so you have never been to a STING, it's a big music festival, nuff people, ah come I hear the music, but also see a good (she pauses) ah GREAT SHOW! But, it is a tough crowd (she lowers her sunshades so she can see me clearly in my eyes) the people dem, the audience WILL "Boo!" you. They will take their bottle and "lick it" [throw it] at you, laugh at you, rate you; it's a rough crowd. People dem are a NO NONSENSE crowd, even a veteran like BEENIE MAN will tell you; I get BOO-ed at STING, BOUNTY KILLER will tell you; I get BOO-ed at STING... DOESN'T MATTER WHO YOU ARE, That's STING. However, over the years I have managed to govern that crowd. They call me "MUMMA" [MOTHER] of STING because every year I go I just bring it, not only fuh mi looks (that earned me another lower of her glasses to show me a clever wink), but, for my lyrics, which are always quite whitty.
STARLISA: INDEED. AND NO MATTER HOW SEXY OR RAUNCHY THE CONTENT, YOUR DELIEVERY IS IMPECABLE AND YOUR WORK ETHIC AS A DANCEHALL PRINCESS IS INCOMPORABLE, AND JUST SO DAMN SMOOTH!
Spice: "That's what they love about the brand SPICE". (She proclaims with humble confidence.) "Always bringing something different. Yuh just cyan DARE me, she confesses as she belts out a wicked laugh, I WILL DO IT ... and that's just ME!
STARLISA: SO, DOES THAT COME FROM WHERE/OR/HOW YOU WERE BROUGHT UP IN PORTMORE, JAMAICA W.I? HOW HAS IT CONTRIBUTED TO MOLDING THE ‘NO-NONSENCE’ DANCEHALL DIVA THAT WE SEE TODAY?
Spice: Well, I was born and half my life raised there and then I left Jamaica and lived in England for a while to live with my grandparents. Funny enough, I was actually brought'll up by doing di likkle "Christian ting" singing In the choir and all of that, (as she takes a second to reminisce about the events of her Christian upbringing as she proceeds with caution with her words) the word I am looking for, "BRUCK OUT" me nah no whey meh BRUCK OUT from (LOL) you know when dem say she "BRUCK OUT" because I was a likkle Christian gyal In church. So I think the whole dancehall arena is what made me come.
STARLISA: NOW, UNLESS, ESPECAILLY IN EARLIER TIMES, NO CAIRBBEAN MUSIC THAT DIDN’T FEATURE A MAJOR AMERICAN ACT WAS HARDLY EVER PLAYED ON MAJOR WORLD WIDE SCALE. BUT, THEN, THERE WAS “THE ROMPING SHOP” THAT INVADED HOT 97, POWER 105.1 AND EVEN 103.5 KTU’S AND Z100 WITHOUT APOLOOGY IN 2008/2009. E-V-E-R-Y-B-O-D-Y [ESPCIALLY MYSELF], WERE JUST IN AWE OF THE SONG LYRICAL CONTENT, RIDDIM [SAME USED IN NEYO’S MISS INDEPENDENT] AND CHEMISTRY BETWEEN YOU AND THE SELF-PROCLAIMED ‘WORLD BOSS’ VYBZ KARTEL, TAKE ME BACK TO THAT TIME, HOW DID YOU FEEL?
Spice: I felt great! It's still hard for me to describe exactly into words. My phone was ringing from places I have never even heard of, wanting to talk, fly me out for shows and interviews. My sister would say ‘someone wants to talk to you from [fill in the blank] and I would be like ‘WHERE?!!’ The song Romping Shop went to all corners of the world, and it felt amazing travelling with them (Grace, takes a moment to reminisce and draws a deep but satisfying breathe) … it was overwhelming (she laughs) STAR, I CANNOT USE JUST ONE WORD TO DESCRIBE IT! It was just AMAZING, I couldn’t even understand the pandemonium.
STARLISA: VYBZ, IS A LYRICAL MASTER. MANY PEOPLE FROM FAN TO INDUSTRY COMENTATORS SAY THAT YOU ARE HIS FEMALE COUNTERPART AS IT COMES TO HOW YOU BRAND “SPICE”, YOUR LYRICAL CONTENT AND YOUR WORK ETHIC. HOW DOES THE COMPARISON MAKES YOU FEEL?
Spice: It’s a HUGE compliment and I take it gracefully, its an honor to even hear that. He (Kartel), is one of THE BEST artists to come out of Jamaica.
STARLISA: So, you know I HAVE to go “THERE”, being with all of the allegations to clearly someone who not only you, but everyone regards as such a megastar, against Vybz Kartel and his trial. Can you share with us a little bit of not “VYBZ KARTEL”, but Adidja Azim Palmer?
Spice: Working with him was absolutely amazing! He is TOTALLY different from the ‘person’ that the public is trying to paint. He is so sweet, always giving me trouble, always ah give joke, you know that pure, kind of JOVIAL person? THAT’S who DJ PALMER is. I know NOTHING and no one else! This other ‘person’ that the media around the world is talking about, I have never met ‘HIM’.
STARLISA: THAT IS SUCH A REFRESHING POINT OF VIEW AND ONE UNFORTUNEATLY, AS YOU HAVE SAID. WE DON’T HEAR ENOUGH OF!
Spice: ”INDEED! (With a sparkle of an English accent coming out, she replies)
STARLISA: OK DEN, BACK TO THE SPICE! WHAT CAN BE ANXIOSLY BE AWAITING FROM YOU IN THE NEXT 2 YEARS?
Spice: MORE HOT MUSIC!
Spice: HAHA! And, I want to visit my fans and spend time getting to know them, getting them to know me as my own entity. I want to go to AFRICA most definitely. I will continue to be one of the leading females in DANCEHALL because I am going to lock myself inna di studio and write and sing and produce until I cannot anymore! I took a break for a while because the BUSINESS and INDUSTRY got very frustrating and, you know, sometimes its like meh cyan [can’t] bother ESPECAILLY AS A WOMAN. But, definitely more HOT music like ‘SO MEH LIKE IT’! I love that song!
STARLISA: AND SO DO WE! IT WAS AN AMAZING COME BACK. NOW YOU MENTIONED THAT THE BUSINESS GETS FRUSTATING, WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR WOMEN COMING INTO THE INDUSTRY?
Spice: Number One would be, GIVE RESPECT TO GET RESPECT! But, more importantly, when I come to work and record, I am not in any JOKING thing with anybody. I make it known that I am here to record, and make good music and then meh go inna meh yard! When you smile up and “giggy giggy” men can read you easily! You act easy, you treated as easy. Bottom line.
As we wrapped up with her doing a few drops for THE C.A.B [718cab.com] CARIBBEAN AMERICAN BUZZ and setting up plans to have drinks at my good friend, international SELECTA and official tour DJ for GYPTIAN, DJ SPIN CITI at his weekly WASTED WEDNESDAYS at SQUADZ in Brooklyn, New York, I realized that SPICE CYAN DONE, her beauty, sex appeal, intelligence, relentless work ethic and charm – not to mention SHE LIMIN’ STYLE! It was then time to pop in my RAGGA RAGGA compilation album, and pre-game before the night’s events. I was Brooklyn bound after a productive day of work. Work and play are an IMPORTANT balance to have!, Mi gent [peeps]. AH SO MEI LIKE IT!
By: Sharlisa Peterson