Controversial Jamaican Dancehall Star Vybz Kartel Takes On His Critics

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Speaking of, are you tired of being asked about your appearance – about skin bleaching, especially?
It's played out – come with something different, man.

OK, how's this: You've said that a black man bleaching his skin is no different from women getting weaves and hair extensions. Do you still think so?
Hell, yeah. And cosmetic surgery. Or when a girl straightens her hair, or gets collagen or silicone. I have said in a statement that when everyone stops doing all of that shit, we can all live naturally ever after. But until then, fuck you all!

How many tattoos do you have?
I don't know at this point. I'm just filling in the few spaces that are left. I put two bugs in my ear – a spider and a ladybug. I just put the "13" under a Jason tattoo I had done, near the M16 rifle on my left arm. I'm getting one as we speak – the tattoo artist just walked outside.

You blasted an excerpt from a book you're going to publish. Have you started it?
It's almost finished. It's social commentary on ghetto life as seen through the eyes of Vybz Kartel. Trust me, this is going to be very detrimental to Vybz Kartel's freedom because it's a no-holds barred book, looking into taboo topics like political corruption, abortion, extrajudicial killings, how religion is used to keep ghetto youth under mental bondage. It's called Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto (Or Gaza, If You Prefer). Each chapter is named for a social commentary track that I recorded – and it will remind people of how many so-called conscious tunes I do.

You're also about to star in a reality show to air on Jamaican TV in the fall. What's it about?
This will be another first for dancehall music: a reality show similar to Flavor of Love. Twenty girls from all over the world, vying for the quote-unquote love of Vybz Kartel, vying for my heart. Wherever that is.

What are the do's and don'ts for a lady who'll date you?
The biggest do – it might sound very chauvinistic but I love submissive females. Can I say that?

Your nickname is "The Teacha," and you recently gave a lecture about your life and your art at the University of the West Indies in Kingston. Could you give up dancehall for a professorial post one day?
Sorry, UWI. I love to teach, but not at dancehall's expense – I'll never give it up.

Would you visit the real Gaza?
That's what I would love to do – can you hook it up? I heard it's very complicated, as far as the borders and getting through.

It can't be much more complicated than getting your U.S. Visa back, and you haven't had one of those in years.
Ha! I already gave up on that, a long time ago.

What might surprise people about Adidjah Palmer?
Everything I do surprises people. Tomorrow I might put in color contacts, or go right back to being black. What you can expect from Kartel is the unexpected.

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