It has been over 42 years since Disc Jock Clive Campbell, known as DJ Kool Herc founded the genre “HIP HOP”. Campbell was born in Jamaica, moved to New York in 1967. Without DJ Kool Herc, we wouldn’t be talking about hip hop now.
Hip Hop’s popularity has been on a steady rise on local radio, TV and the streets of Jamaica since it made its way on the island in the late 80’s, early 90’s. Slick Rick, the late Biggie Smalls and Busta Rhymes, who are of Jamaican descent and have never hidden their Jamaican heritage, are among some of Hip Hop’s biggest names.
Fast-forward to 2016: Inspired by Hip Hop legends like The Notorious B.I.G. and The Fugees, who inspired UK-born Jamaican rapper Shinehead — who made waves with his single “Try My Love” in 1992 — is also UK-born Jamaican rapper Vinton Hulcome known by his stage name Vindon.
The 25-year-old Jamaican-based Hip Hop artiste has released, what he calls “a futuristic approach” to the sound, his new ‘2020’ EP, his fifth project since his first in 2008.
The 7-track EP sees Vindon doing something he has never done before, paying homage to Reggae and Dancehall music by adding elements of both genres in all his singles as well as incorporating the Jamaican Creole in his rhymes. “It felt natural to me,” Vindon revealed to I am a Jamaican in a telephone interview.
Who would have thought that Vindon, a son of Dancehall veteran Ninja Man, would become a rapper?Click To Tweet
Born in Nottingham, England, to an English woman, Vindon moved to the parish of Manchester, Jamaica, at the age of three and had been living on the island ever since. It was not until age fifteen Vindon met his father Desmond John Ballentine popularly known as Ninja Man. During the interview, Vindon took a minute call Ninja Man. “He said I’m about the 9th or 10th child of his,” he revealed.
Vindon, who revealed that he is the only son doing music, admitted that his mother introduced him to Hip Hop.
“My mother played a lot of Fugees and old school hip hop around me, and I gravitated to it,” Vindon recalled. “I wrote my first rhyme in Grade 6, so I would say it started around that time, I couldn’t really imagine myself doing anything else. I used to daydream a lot in class,” he added with a chuckle.
Vindon later explained that he started recording at the age of fourteen with friends; two of them being children of the late reggae singer Garnet Silk. “My friends (Blu Rok) and I used to record with headset microphones in a closet, then we would go around to any studio we could until we found one that worked for us. Eventually, we started investing in our own equipment so we could record at home.”
Before ‘Biggie’ performed at Sting 1996, Jamaica’s Super Cat was featured on the remix of one of hip hop’s most popular tracks of that era, “Jump” by American duo Kriss Kross in 1992 and he also collaborated with them again in 1993 for their song “It’s Alright”.
When asked about the underground Jamaican Hip Hop culture, Vindon said it is thriving and pointed out that it is on the brink of going mainstream, citing there are hip hop shows, talented Hip Hop artistes and producers in Jamaica. The ‘2020’ project was produced by himself as Vin!gma, and two other talented Jamaican Hip Hop producers SOS Dynamikz and BNJMN (Benjamin). His last project ‘Seeing Colours’ was released in 2014.