Positive vibrations

A group of young men in Trench Town — the gritty neighbourhood in the West Kingston Police Division plagued by intermittent violence — is trodding in the musical footsteps of the community’s world-famous superstars, among them Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, in order to avoid involvement in crime.

The men, who range in age from 23 to 31, formed a team called 1 Brinks Music and have set up a one-room studio on Columbus Road in which they have been recording music.

“We have been doing music for more than 15 years. It started off with just us freestyling until we did a little stage show and the people seh we fi tek it serious. From there, we got the inspiration. We built this studio and I took it up as my responsibility to be the engineer, because we never had the person to do that. We got our computer and started to build rhythms and everybody just start join in pon di dream from deh suh,” Anthony Morris, otherwise called Ingenious Brinks, told the Jamaica Observer on Tuesday.

According to Morris, who is also an artiste, engineer and the creator of rhythms, the team members felt neglected by the country’s leaders and saw too much crime occurring around them that they thought it necessary to start expressing their feelings through music.

“The negative influences affected us, but they also inspired us. We lost a lot of friends in the war and we decided that the way to get over it is to sing and produce music so people can understand what is happening,” Morris explained.

“Not everybody in the garrison do bad things. You have good youths a do good things. How will they know that we people are doing good things down here? Nobody nah really come een and ask we anything. The Observer is the first to do that, to just pop up and inquire about us. The bigger heads care about the wrong thing,” Morris said.

From January 1 to December 31, 2022 a total of 76 murders, most caused by gang violence, were recorded in the Kingston West division, according to statistics provided by the Jamaica Constabulary Force. The division accounted for 109 murders in 2021.

Morris’s colleague, 23-three-year-old Kymani Mason, whose stage name is TopScot, explained that negative influences are very strong throughout the community.

“We could have been doing other negative things — and I mean any negative thing that we want to do. We decided that we want to do music. The place we come from, people do other things, but we choose to do what we want to do. We were chosen for this,” he insisted.

Another member of the team, 27-year-old Anthony Barnett, argued that there is a need for change in the community and he firmly believes that change can be realised.

“Music is a great distraction. You will be here and the world is tumbling down and you don’t realise. We a deal wid music round yah suh. We a do music from high school days so we done have it inna wi mentality. This is what we want to do. We can be the ones to help make a change. We decided to be different to achieve that. Change is overdue,” he said.

“People believe that everybody around here is criminal. They just look pon the road and say nothing progressive nah gwaan roun’ deh suh. Like how Observer drive past and try to get something from us, others always tell themselves dat nothing nuh roun’ yah. That is one of the things mek nobody never really end up roun’ yah fi interact with us and highlight us,” said Barnett, who goes by the stage name 40 Brinks.

“We managed to have a little studio by ourselves. We build our own rhythms, voice ourselves, mix and master and distribute our own songs, and we do it from scratch. We have to big up people like the artiste named Stalk Ashley who believes in us and supports us,” Barnett told the Observer.

Other artistes who are a part of the young musical team are Anthony Martin, whose stage name is Joshii Brinks, and Kemal Lecky, who goes by the stage name Hotdrappsboss.

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