Vybz Kartel’s Of Dons & Divas album isn’t exactly Grammy-worthy as was publicised, but it does rack undeniable bangers. The 17-track project debuted on Friday (June 26) and is split between sexy, female anthems labelled ‘divas’, and hardcore joints dedicated to all ‘dons’.
Co-produced by his eponymous label and common-law wife Tanesha Johnson’s Short Boss Muzik, the album starts with the dancehall number, Nice Tingz, supligen for women who are living the “life of a wife, not of a riff-raff.”
Kartel throws shade at women not getting the oxtail treatment, from trips to luxury hotels on the north coast to lunch dates on a yacht.
After getting the ladies hyped, he takes it to sex-ed class on Cute Rider (for which a reggaeton version is available). He urges his wife to ignore the girl who was only a one night stand, and find assurance in having the keys to the cars and homes. The song coincidentally serves as the perfect soundtrack for Johnson, who early this month took to social media to declare that she’s Kartel’s ‘First Lady’ with access to his bank accounts. This was counteracted by Lisa Hyper and Lisa Mercedez who also appear on the album.
Freaky sex enters the listening experience with Bad Gyal, an 808-laced bop which features Tommy Lee Sparta, Skillibeng and female act Jucee Froot. Skillibeng complements the track because of his trap dancehall signature, but it’s truly Tommy who elevates the song, finessing different vocal styles from singing to rapping. The headturner comes close the end, where Tommy shares his fetishes, from spitting on his partner during sex, to taking it R. Kelly style, urinating on the female. There’s also Froot’s booty-eating requirements.
Say A Praya changes the pace of the fast rhythms and sexually-charged lyrics, and stands as a tribute to a loyal woman whose love is unwavering despite his infidelity and deception. The track could have easily made the cut for Kartel’s January album, To Tanesha.
Easy listens include the genre-bending No Prison, Pretty Butterfly (featuring Hyper), It Was Heaven, and Stay With Me, a JonFX-produced afropop track with a breezy vibe.
The ‘dons’ are represented on tracks like Presidential, which features Gaza Empire vice president, Sikka Rymes and Daddy 1. The acts deejay about their ‘gyalis’ profile, street cred and opulence. There is a similar theme on Militant Coup, which hosts sons Likkle Vybz and Likkle Addi, and female act Slimatic.
- Related story: “Mi nuh need fi chase what’s already mine”: Lisa Hyper claps back about Vybz Kartel relationship
Lisa Mercedez appears as a hype woman on State Evidence, a hardcore, trappy track calling out those living a double life of gangsterism in the streets, but are quick to inform or snitch to law enforcers.
Mercedez resurfaces on the ghetto anthem World Boss (featuring Red Boom), which sees Kartel lashing out against societal ills, from educated youth being underpaid or jobless, to corrupt politics and neocolonialism because of China relations.
Rymes also reappears on Depend On You, a motivational track, likewise Big Bizniz which features Teejay, and offers tips to youth including making smart financial investments.
Dancer-turned-artiste Danii Boo is featured on Dons & Divas, a Bonnie & Clyde-themed bop.
The album ends with the eargasms of Jump on the Beat, which features Likkle Vybz and 6ix boss, Squash. Kartel carries the track with his expected lyrical prowess, delivered across multiple vocal styles.