Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Dancehall Artiste Assassin labeled 'Dancehall's crossover king' after being featured on Kanye West and Kendrick Llamar songs

Assassin aka Agent Sasco
"Neither Vybz Kartel nor Mavado, the definitive dancehall deejays of the last 10 years, can boasts appearances on projects as high-profile as Yeezus or Kendricks as-yet un-titled sophomore LP....."

Writer Jessie Serwer published a very enlightening piece about one of Jamaican Dancehall most talented, focused, persistent and conscious artiste on fader.com headed, Why Kanye West and Kendrick Llamar keep putting Assassin on their songs."
Character Breakdown
The piece which describes 'Assassin' also known as 'Agent Sasco' as 'Dancehall's newest crossover king' begins with what seems like a clarification of the name Assassin, known for signing his songs with catchphrase "Ah Murda!" and drew comparisons between the character and other Dancehall characters, his career is notably slim on the controversies and clashes that litter the resumes of colleagues from Beenie Man to Busy Signal. It also outlay a distinction between the alias name Assassin and Jeffrey Etham Campbell, one of few college graduates working in dancehall; and a dad who from his instagram posts, ....his three kids are adorable and he seems like a really great dad.

Admirable Skill and Work Ethics
"He's committed to his work and organized" the piece quoted manager Sharon Burke as saying about Assassin and in regards to his records the piece reports, though, Assassin's voice cut through riddims with a force befitting his name. His rugged flow ---a big, booming, Buju Banton sort of beast ----and appointed, observational lyrics have made him a staple, if not an outright star, of Jamaica's dancehall scene since the early 2000s...

On Assassin's sound, "Assassin has one of the most amazing voices in music" Serwer wrote. Toronto rapper Kardinal Offishall, a friend and collaborator, told me by email, "Me and Bunji Garlin always say how his voice is just unfair, because when he opens his mouth, it's like the whole earth shake."

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait
On the collaborations that have now brought about international scrutiny of Assassin, Serwer wrote; For Assassin, an artist who'd laboured for years in dancehall's trenches with little recognition from the wider music market, the features have been game changing...Neither Vybz Kartel nor Mavado, the definitive dancehall deejays of the last 10 years, can boasts appearances on projects as high-profile as Yeezus or Kendricks as-yet un-titled sophomore LP.  "They (John Baker/Producer Geejam studios) were reaching out to some of the local artistes to lay some stuff down and they would take it back to Kanye" Assassin told Serwer.  "I did some verses here and a chorus here, and I was helping other local artistes who were there put verses together.  I was looking at it as an opportunity for Dancehall, and all music and not there to represent me" he concluded. The rest is history, Assassin would meet Kanye December 2014 when he was introduced to him by event producer Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins and they took a picture.

Though yet to meet Kendrick, Serwer wrote; Kendricks fans may soon be able to put a face to the voice on " The Blacker The Berry " which has become, "an explosive statement on race relations and personal hypocrisy sure to be relevant for years to come..." Kendrick's team has indicated plans to include Assassin in the song's video.

No man is an army
While the Kanye and Kendrick cameos have doubtlessly raised Assassin's profile, it's worth noting that he is not acknowledged as a featured artiste on official releases of either record, leaving it to dancehall fans and astute observers to note and celebrate his role in each.

Assassin the Optimist
Curious for his take on his new found recognition (and occasional lack there of) Serwer quote a telephone conversation where Assassin said, "I can only think about all the good things."  "There is so much great intent in these developments that I can't even see a negative...." Further to that conversation Assassin made it clear that, "controversy sells, but I'm not trying to sell controversy. I'm just trying to do the music that I love, and I hope that my contribution to this artform can help it to continue to move forward."



Rebranding Important to SEO-friendly browsing
Assassin is in a unique position among veteran Dancehall artistes to rebrand himself, and, perhaps his genre. And his occasional use of SEO-friendly Agent Sasco could afford him some freedom to find his place.

To read the full publication click Why Kanye West and Kendrick Llamar keep putting Assassin on their songs

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