Mentor or Shotta; Do you know the real SPRAGGA BENZ? || Ambassador 5
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OUR AMBASSADOR5™ SERIES SHOWCASES 5 QUESTIONS/FACTS WITH A CULTURAL AMBASSADOR WHO IS ACTIVELY PROMOTING CARIBBEAN CULTURE THROUGHOUT THE WORLD.
‘Tantilize Mi Body, Mesmerize Mi Brain….Jack it Up, Jack it Up;’ the rude lyrics and infectious beat of Spragga Benz’s break out hit was on everybody’s mind and mouth from the time he exploded on the scene in 1992. That song kicked off a journey that has led the talented artiste down many different paths and he has not pumped the brakes yet. With almost twenty years under his belt in the music industry, a cult following for his role in the iconic film Shottas and numerous collaborations with musical heavy weights throughout the world such as Wyclef Jean, Krs-One & Lady Saw, its almost expected that he would have an ego to match all those accomplishments.
Instead, dancehall star, Spragga Benz has a very calm demeanour and a stoic expression that belies the many successes hidden under his belt. Like his namesake car, he makes a smooth and silent entrance wherever he goes. Designed to make you look twice, but, its only when you look under the hood that you see the powerful engine pushing the machine. I guess that’s how it goes with best in class; cars or dancehall artistes. Quiet entrance. Lasting impact.
In addition to producing numerous hits such as, Dolly House, Nah Ready Yet, A1 Lover and Shotta Culture; this multi-dimensional artiste has also established a music production studio called Red Square Productions. Its a movement that was created to nurture the musical skills of talented young artistes in his community. He started the ‘Stay In School’ program which provided help for needy students in his hometown of Franklin Town. Benz also founded the Carlisle Foundation, with the aim of helping local youths*. He is a musical artiste, actor, mentor and philanthropist to name a few.
In his career that spans over twenty years, he has seen a lot, conquered even more and is determined to reach even higher. But if it wasn’t for that mischieveous smile that occasionally runs across his face, you would never guess how much was going on underneath the surface.
The 2Bkaribbean team caught up with the artiste to talk music, culture and what comes next.
On his secret to success and staying relevant
For Spragga it’s a simple formula for success in an industry where only the strong seem to survive-he just has fun. In his words the ‘fun cyah done.’ He uses his music to spread joy and happiness to his listeners. But he also balances that with bringing them awareness and knowledge. At the end of the day, he just wants to show love to his surroundings, and by doing that he hopes to continue to get the love for his music in return….Learn more in video
Spragga refrains from categorizing his music into any specific genre. But he does acknowledge that the music you play on the streets may be different from what you play on the radio. When he started in the industry, his audience was from the streets so he used his music to share messages that they could relate too. He also wrote lyrics for the ladies which he thinks is much more challenging than writing a gangsta tune because it requires more thoughtful words. But, he was up to the challenge. As he grew with his music, he looked for song lyrics that would make women stop and think, that would uplift them or sometimes that would simply express how he feels about them….Learn more in video
For Spragga, spreading Caribbean culture worldwide is just a ‘natural happening’. He believes that if you exude good energy, you will attract the same and that’s what generates the interest in the music and the culture. It’s also a way to spread a deeper message about doing things the right way by making it fun. …Learn more in video
On what we can expect next from Spragga
Spragga Benz is expanding his talent and exploring the world of video directing. As is evident throughout his career, he always wants to do different things and learn new things. For him, video production is way to help others express the things they cannot say…Learn more in video
On if he sees himself as an elder training the youth
Spragga Benz has always been someone who lifts the younger crew up with him as he climbs. He credits the elders in the business who opened the door of possibilities for him in his music career such as Ricky Villa and Buju Banton. They encouraged him to pursue the path even though he really didn’t want to, and, in spite of the critics that didn’t like the tone of his voice. They encouraged him to be himself. And after his first song became popular, he saw that as a way to encourage the others around him who wanted to do the same such as Benjilus, Frisco Kids, Nado Ranks and Wayne Wonda (artistes & school mates). In his mind one iron sharpens iron and that’s what he intends to continue to do….Learn more in video
Sound Off: What is your favorite Spragga Benz song?
MISSION: To elevate the brand of Caribbean culture in the fields of MUSIC, BUSINESS and the ARTS by celebrating the work of cultural ambassadors while advocating for upcoming Caribbean talent1.