Respect | I-Bel Campbell

Irie Magazine presents I-Bel Campbell
I-Bel Campbell

I-Bel Campbell

Love Fi Life

Born the year following the visit of Emperor Haile Selassie 1st of Ethiopia to Jamaica; on the eight day in the month of December, Scafford ‘I-bel’ Campbell became the first child for his mother, Mrs. Antoinette Johnson. I-bel, as he is affectionately called by his peers and fans of his music, lost his father at a very early age and his grandmother helped with his upbringing. Thus most of his earlier years were spent with her in the country (St. Thomas, Jamaica) where she resided. There he attended the Airy Castle all age school then Morant Bay High in the parish after which he joined the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF). He spent a short time in the force before asking to leave, after realizing it could never aid him in achieving his goal — he sought to be free.

Being aware of his predicament as a Carbonite (black) here in Jamaica where his own chooses to be everyone else other than who they are, willing to execute their identity and family members for the looks and lifestyle of others; I-bel vowed to seek out and highlight the ‘causes’ to effect change for a better generation. Thus, after leaving the employ of the JDF he freed himself for study and began farming, doing art (murals, portraits, backdrops etc.) and writing a book he titled ìDeep Within Blacknessî ñ soon to be published.

Yet being musically inclined from birth and seeing music also as a medium by which to share his findings; he did a collaboration with now veteran reggae artist ‘Bushman’ titled ìtravel the worldî for the Jammys’ label. He also recorded a single called ‘Babylon a duppy’ (which has not seen the light of day) for the Morgan Heritage, on whose show (East Fest) he also performed twice. Since then, I-bel has become a member of the Jamaica Association of Composers Authors and Publishers (JACAP) (a local royalty company) and Broadcast Music Inc. (BMI) with offices in the United States of America. He has also released an album and a few Eps which are presently on I-tunes. ‘Kazi Yangu’, ‘Roots of man’, street beat, ‘Musical tribute’ and ‘New day’; all published by Royan ‘roots’ publishing.

I-bel has also recorded for ‘Dubophonic’ Label (Cyprus), Royan ‘concrete’ Roots (Canada), ‘Rippas’ Production (his local place of recording), ‘green beats’ (Mexico), Royal Sons production (Africa), Sent-up production (Spain) and ‘Red Star’ (France) just to name a few. I-bel as a reggae artistes will tell you that, truly ‘the work man is worthy of pay’ yet his reason for doing music isn’t about and will never be about making money but to highlight ‘right knowledge’. When asked if he is pleased with today’s dancehall music coming out of Jamaica, he had this to say, “Reggae made ‘dancehall’… Reggae was the music of the so-called ragged people (Rasta) and dancehall was the only place this music could be aired in those days because of their revolutionary messages against the injustice of the official society upon the masses of Jamaicans ñno radio station back then played them. Thus our dancehall was where one would go (literate and illiterate) to learn what to stand for and how to stand for it. Now I bring your attention to the fact that vinyl records played by sound system back in the days, held music on both sides. One held the voice of the recorded artiste backed by the rhythm while the other featured only the rhythm. Thus back then, those who weren’t in a position to voice their opinions on rhythms in a recording studio got their chance in the dancehall to prove themselves worthy ñand the first Jamaican deejays were born. Unfortunately the general belief of our youths nowadays and endorsed by many a deejays; is that dancehall music is different from reggae. This is ignorance indeed yet I must agree that there have been some changes. No longer are our deejays seeking causes where our problems as a people are concerned; to enable them to suggest worthwhile solutions through the music. No longer are our deejays able to direct their people in channelling the ignorance and anger induced by a society that enslaved them to its lifestyle and education not freely shared back to its source instead of upon each other. No longer do deejays seek to enlighten and instil unity in our people.’

I-bel is a serious Dreadlocks Rastafarian who thinks many have forgotten it was the wisdom of the sweet sounds of reggae that made our music and people recognized and respected by millions the world over. Who are slowly losing it because of the blatant disrespect for morality and wisdom by our present so-call dancehall artistes; made obvious through their quest for money and fame (the by-product) instead of the mental upliftment of the whole human race which is the real intent of our music. I-bel intends to continue to study life (to show himself worthy thereof) and share his findings for the benefit of the whole through his art, literature and music. Irie Magazine Logo

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