In his teens, “Gangsta for life” was the signature war-cry sung by one of George’s favourite singers - Mavado. But after Mavado’s epic clash with rival, Vybz Kartel, George saw the line as a mentality...one that had empowered and terrorised Jamaicans for decades. Music, money and murder all feature in this complex case study of Black urban street culture.
Warning: This episode discusses adult themes and has some graphic descriptions of violence.
Credits: Written by George the Poet
Produced by Benbrick and George the Poet
Mixing, recording and editing by Benbrick
With music from:
Mavado - Last Night
Vybz Kartel - Badda Dan Dem
Mavado - Sunrise ft. Vybz Kartel
Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock
Mavado - Hope and Pray
Vybz Kartel - Mr Officer
Vybz Kartel - Bicycle
Stephen "Di Genius” McGregor - Day Break Riddim
Vybz Kartel - Broad Daylight
Mavado - Nuh Bleach Wid Cream
DJ Khaled & Mavado - Unchanging Love
All original music is written by Benbrick and recorded by the BBC Concert Orchestra.
Thank you to: My team Sandra, Vidhu, and Birungi. Dylan Haskins and the team at BBC Sounds, BBC Concert Orchestra, BBC 1Xtra, Jamaica TVJ, Georgette, Aneeka, BBC World Service, Former Commissioner of Police Carl Williams, and finally Aza Auset. And shout out to Cutts barber shop.
Archive: The vocal samples used at 03:38, 03:41, and 03:56 are taken from the Vybz Kartel records "Touch a Button” and “Badda Dan Dem"
The clip of Vybz Kartel used at 04:20 and 05:05 is taken from a 2006 interview with Chris Goldfinger on BBC 1Xtra.
The news report on Kartel and Mavado used at 06:31 and the clips of Mavado and Vybz talking at 07:33 is taken from a 2009 Jamaica TVJ News report entitled “We Are Not Enemies"
The clip of Michael Manley used at 10:45 talking about their friendship with Cuba.
The clip used at 11:47 talking about Edward Seaga is taken from the BBC documentary "Blood And Fire - Jamaica’s Political History”.
The clip of Damian Marley talking about being human used at 12:11 is taken from his interview with Seani B on 1Xtra.
The clip of Bob Marley talking about the shooting used at 12:41 is taken from his interview with Gil Noble for WABC-TV’s “Like It Is”.
The clip of Vybz Kartel used at 15:28 is taken from TVJ Entertainment Report.
The clip of Vybz Kartel talking about dancehall going through a happy phase used at 18:02 is taken from his interview with Robbo Ranx on 1Xtra from the Amsterdam Reggae Festival.
The clip of Former Commissioner of Police Carl Williams talking about Violent Crime, and anti Dancehall Campaigner Aza Auset used at 18:43 and 18:52 are both taken from the BBC World service documentary “Jamaica: Does music shape society?”
Mavado - Last Night 00:17 - 02:55
Benbrick - The Underworld 03:03 - 04:09
Vybz Kartel - Badda Dan Dem 04:10 - 05:01
Mavado - Sunrise ft. Vybz Kartel 05:13 - 05:43
Benbrick - The Underworld 05:58 - 09:01
Damian Marley - Welcome to Jamrock 10:11 - 13:27
Mavado - Hope and Pray 16:13 - 17:06
Vybz Kartel - Mr Officer 17:06 - 17:58
Vybz Kartel - Bicycle 17:58 - 18:15
Benbrick - Empty 18:41 - 20:56
Stephen "Di Genius” McGregor - Day Break Riddim 20:59 - 21:15
Vybz Kartel - Broad Daylight 21:15 - 21:30
Mavado - Nuh Bleach Wid Cream 22:11 - 22:28
Benbrick - The Underworld 23:04 - 24:43
DJ Khaled & Mavado - Unchanging Love 24:55 - 25:21
Benbrick - Empty 25:45 - 27:54
Have You Heard George’s Podcast? is a George the Poet production for BBC Sounds.
Commissioning Executive for BBC: Dylan Haskins