He crowned himself as the Dancehall Pele, World Boss, Addi The Teacher, Addi Innocent, King of The Dancehall and Gaza King just to mention but a few. Prominently known for his Gaza group, Vybz Kartel is Jamaican born deejay, songwriter, musician and businessman officially called Adidja Palmer. He born on 7th January 1976, and grew up in Portmore, Jamaica. He was completed his studies at a tutorial technique school. His great desire for music started growing up at a younger age due to influences from his uncle.
His music career started way back in his teenage life under inspiration of the then hitting artists like Ninja Man, Papa San and Buju Banton when he started writing lyrics and succeeded to record a singlehe called “Love Fat Woman” while using the name, Buju Banton. He continued writing and recording more songs and deejaying as a way of improving his skills and career. He aspired to first capture the audience of his local fellows by frequently performing on the neighborhood sound systems before heading to the larger community, a mode which really worked out well.
Kartel joined arms with his two friends, Mr Lee and Escobar, and formed a group in 1996 which they named Vibes Cartel. This where he would later borrow his stage name, “Vybz Kartel” after the group split up. Bounty killer noticed his talent and took him into his group called The Alliance as his songwriter and also guided him in music. His popularity started rising and he released some best-selling singles of the time like ‘badman’ and ‘war organizer’.
Vybz popularity advance more in 2003, when he released more hit tracks and had a pre-planned stage clash with Ninjaman in a popular dancehall festival called sting that happens every year. That year, it was held in Portmore, where Vybz came from. The event did not turn out well since he turned violent and punched Ninjaman. His crew members backed him up and this brought chaos. He later apologized to sting management and Ninjaman and agreed to settle his disputes.
In 2006, he parted ways with Bounty and liaised with Beenie and immediately started producing diss tracks like “Mavado di Failla” targeting Mavado who was the new protégé to Bounty. It is during this time that he formed his group which include his own record lebel called the ‘The Portmore Empire’, also called Gaza, in which he signed up Black Ryno, Popcaan, Gaza Slim, Jah Vinci, Lisa Hype, NotNice, Tommy Lee, Shawn Storm, Sheba, Gaza Kim and Gaza Indu. Some members would later part ways with him and be independent. His empire brought some young and talented artists to the limelight and this saw his popularity grow. His continuous diss tracks towards Mavado grew and a rivalry developed between the two which saw Mavado start his empire, ‘Gully’.
The musical rivalry grew so much that even spread out to the youths. Those from Kartel’s territory claimed that only his fans, followers and music were accepted in the area while those from Mavado’s region,just a neighbour to Portmore, had similar claims but in favor of Mavado. This raised up gangs and rival groups in the society that frequently fought and brought chaos. The violence would even grow and spread out of Jamaica tp other carrebian countries after Kartel beat Mavado in a musical stage clash on sting in 2008. Vybz kartel remained to maintain that his rivalry with Mavado was musical and he could not take the responsibility of every fan who took music to another lane. The rivalry saw the Prime Minister have a seating with both of them as a way of trying to settle the already spread disputes.
In 2010, Kartel released a track, “clarks” that would see the shoe line company market rise to the peak. The song remained in the top play list in different stations and helped Popcaan and Gaza Slim who had been involved in the track gain popularity. At one time, Kartel claimed that the shoe line was not giving him anything to at least thank him for promoting their company but after the company saw more celebrities in the shoe went back in a thanksgiving mode to Kartel.
In his life, Kartel appears not only to be a good artist but also a good entrepreneur and businessman. In 2008 while in a partnership with Corey Todd, he introduced a liquor line and called it street vybz rum and also launched a condom line called the daggering condom. He also associated to Todd in a club ownership. He went on to introduce the “cake soap” which is a detergent that he is also thought to have used to lighten his skin. He is a prominent business man attached to other business.
Kartel’s problems started in 2011 when he was first arrested and charged with position of illegal drugs but the charges were later dropped. The police proceeded to search his house and was found with an illegal firearm. He was accused with illegal possession a firearm and also accused of murdering Bossie, a business man and a music promoter Clive Williams. The case concerning Bossie was dropped due to lack of evidence but the case concerning Clive Williams remained pending. In 2014 he was found guilty out of a text message evidence and was imprisoned for 35 years. He appealed for his case and in April 2020, he got a small win when court reduced his years in jail to thirty-two years and six months.
In 2012, after he arrest, He went on and declared publicly that he had disbanded the popular Portmore Empire that had his follower artist take different paths. His two sons popularly known as Little Addi and Little Vybz followed their father’s footsteps and have even been futured in one of his album. The two boys even went ahead to release a diss track directed at Popcaan claiming that he is a betrayer.
Kartel has astonished the public because even after him being jailed, he still remains to release more music and complete albums for his audience. After being interviewed by a popular media station, he still refused to disclose how he manages to release more music while still behind bars. He keeps on insisting that it is hard work and commitment. At one time he even claimed that the music was from his unused music archives.
Kartel has won several awards in his music career which include; deejay of the year in 2002, songwriter of the year in 2009 and song of the year-romping shop featuring spice in the same year.