Dancehall’s vibrant scene witnessed a firestorm since international rising star , Byron Messia, boldly stated that his hit song, “Talibans,” was the “biggest song in Dancehall since Sean Paul’s 2005 ‘Temperature'”. His claim was met with skepticism and a slew of rebuttals naming other chart-toppers since then like “Hold Yuh” by Gyptian, “Party Animal” by Charly Black, “Fever” by Vybz Kartel, and many more.
Byron’s confidence was apparent from his series of Instagram posts, where he not only championed “Talibans” but also highlighted his “No Love” album’s success. While it’s indisputable that “Talibans” has garnered attention, especially with a remix featuring the African Giant Burna Boy, to call it the biggest since 2005 might be a stretch. Notable figures in the industry, like Ron André Elvis Telford and Khxos, joined the debate, reminding Byron of several hits he seemed to have overlooked.
But before the controversy could spiral further, Byron’s PR team stepped in with a clarifying statement, emphasizing unity within the Dancehall and Reggae genres. “Every Artist seh dem a di baddest thing and dem song a di biggest song, a just Artiste talk it wasn’t meant to be taken literally,” Karl Durrant, publicist for Byron Messia, stated. He also pointed out that Byron achieved his success without traditional dancehall gatekeepers, possibly leading to the media’s “false narrative.”
One can’t help but wonder if Byron’s age played a role in his controversial statement. Being only 23, it’s plausible he might not have fully grasped the numerous impactful Dancehall tracks released between 2005 and now. But there’s a bigger picture at play here.
There’s a growing concern in the Dancehall community that the standards for success have been considerably lowered. With modern metrics like YouTube trending lists and American celebrity endorsements becoming the yardsticks of success, the true essence of what makes a Dancehall track ‘big’ might be getting lost.
One could argue that the very media platforms, artists, and fans that criticize Byron’s comments also played a part in shaping the current perception of success. In a world where a mere shoutout by an American rapper or a brief cameo performance can be labeled as a “big break,” is it really surprising that an artist like Byron feels his track is monumental? Byron Messia’s track “Talibans” has surpassed all the new standards of success in dancehall by hundreds of miles, and it achieved this without the stamp of approval from overseas celebrities that dancehall media, young artists, and fans often look to in order to measure a song’s success.
To conclude, whether you agree with Byron Messia’s claims or not, it’s undeniable that “Talibans” has made waves in recent years. And as the debate rages on about the song’s place in Dancehall’s pantheon, one thing is for sure: every win for an artist like Byron is a win for Dancehall as a whole. The community should perhaps use this moment as a reflection on what success truly means in the modern era.