Jamaican Music

Despite Incarceration, Vybz Kartel Dominates as Most Viewed YouTube Artist in Jamaica for 2020

Vybz Kartel with King of the Dancehall

Vybz Kartel, who was born Adidja Azim Palmer in Kingston in 1976, is a Jamaican reggae and dancehall artist who is also a composer, record producer, and entrepreneur. In 2020, he was the most-viewed artist in Jamaica on YouTube, attracting some 6.27 million views.

He has been cited by Rolling Stone magazine for attaining “folk-hero status” in Jamaica for his provocative songs and public personality. During his career, he has recorded on the Vice, Mixpack Records, and Greensleeves Records labels, collaborated with hip-hop and R&B artists like Major Lazer, Rihanna, and Jay Z, and been credited with inspiring the dance hall vibes in the work of Western artists like Drake. Kartel received a sentence of life in prison in 2014 in connection with the murder of associate Clive “Lizard” Williams. He will not be eligible for parole until he serves 35 years of his sentence. In spite of his incarceration, he continues to release new music and provided more than 50 new songs in 2016 alone.

Kartel has been featured on more than 900 riddims/rhythms from various producers worldwide throughout his career. In 2005 he was named Stone Love’s 30th-anniversary Deejay of the Year, and in 2008, Kartel received a Caribbean Urban Music Award. In 2009, he was named Male DJ of the Year at the Entertainment and Media Excellence (EME) Awards. He also received the EME Lyricist/Songwriter of the Year and Song of the Year (for “Romping Shop” featuring Spice) in the same year.

In addition to Kartel, who holds the top spot with over 6.2 million views, these are the artists who also gained millions of YouTube views in Jamaica in 2020:

2. Skillibeng 6.02M views
3. Alkaline 5.22M views
4. Chronic Law 4.3M views
5. Intence 3.93M views
6. Popcaan 3.65M views
7. TeeJay 3.64M views
8. Shenseea 3.61M views
9. Squash 3.6M views
10. Masicka 2.83M views
11. BabyBus Nursery Rhymes 2.29M views
12. Tommy Lee Sparta 2.27M views
13. Dexta Daps 2.2M views
14. Jada Kingdom 2.13M views
15. Spice 2.12M views
16. Zimi 1.89M views
17. Shaneil Muir 1.84M views
18. Chris Brown 1.57M views
19. Pop Smoke 1.45M views
20. RYGIN KING 1.44M views

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Staff Writer