Monday, October 24, 2011

Jamaican Halloween Spooktacular 2011 - Track Sixteen - Vampire

I used to like vampires... I used to think Dracula was a pretty cool guy, as far as monsters go at least. But popular culture has now made the vampire a lot more heartthrob and a lot less scary and personally I think that sucks, if you'll pardon the pun.

I think a lot of this modern popularization of the genre began with 1987's The Lost Boys and it has been rolling steadily downhill ever since. To be honest, when The Lost Boys was released, I was in high school and my obsession with horror films was in full swing, and I found the movie absolutely unwatchable. It was trying so hard to be hip and modern that it absolutely bored me to death. But regardless of how I felt it was sadly and inexplicably on the list of people's top horror films.

Regardless of the fictional bloodsuckers cinematic demise the "real" vampires from folklore are still adept at inciting nightmares. Especially in Jamaica, where the vampire in reggae serves as a metaphor for the evil, corrupt bloodsuckers in the places of power that bleed the defenseless and the "sufferahs" dry. Take for instance the next tune in our Spooktacular... this one is by Trinity (born Wade Brammer, 1954, Kingston)and it's appropriately called "Vampire." This one was originally released on 7" circa 1980-81 on Trinity's own Flag Man label. And on the surface this appears to follow dead-on with that preconceived theme... but if you dig a little deeper, I may be going out on a limb here so correct me if I'm wrong, this is actually an "attack tune" on fellow DJ Errol Scorcher. You know, reggae DJs have been going about these verbal wars long before the East Side and West Side feud in hip hop.

Much like a vampire, Trinity starts off by going straight for the jugular by insulting the belief that Scorcher didn't have proper education about the bible or that his mother was negligent in not teaching him to be a good, god-fearing person. He therefore draws the conclusion that his bad upbringing and belief in obeah (black magic) makes him disregard human beings as mere insects; "You shouldn't call the people dem roach." Trinity makes reference to three of Errol Scorcher's popular records from the era by giving him grief about using the human/roach metaphor in his 1979 hits "Roach In A De Corner" on the Aries label and his follow-up "Roach In De Toilet" on the Scorcher imprint from 1980. Brammer's third reference in "Vampire" to Errol Scorcher's purported belief in obeah is "Frog Ina Water" also released in the same era on the Tippa label.

I could go on and give you more on my argument but I've got five more blogs to write for October and I'm starting to run out of steam... give it a listen!

1 comment:

Waskrijt said...

luckily you didn't run out of the steam, cause the 'ramblings' and information are really appreciated.

thanks for another great tune!