By: Ricza Lopez (Buffalo State College)
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If you have been catching up on your Caribbean News lately, you would know that there is some madness going on in Jamaica with the attempt to extradite the leader of the Jamaican Shower Posse. Such drama is already casuing casualities and stipulations in the immediate and out of town community. With such an unfortunate situation taking place, a lot of people failed to realize that we lost one of our own artiste in the indsutry-one third of Voicemail to be exact.
For those of you that arent aware already, on May 26th, 2010, O’Neil Edwards of the dancehall sensation group Voicemail passed away at Kingston Hospital. He died after being in critical condition as a result of a being shot several times from an attempted robbery in his home in Duhaney Park. This is such a sad time for Dancehall culture because this reggae sensation trio were beginning to make a big name for themselves and leave a mark for Reggae and Dancehall music.
The trio know as “You’ve got mail…Voicemail” is consisted of Craig, Kevin and O’Neil. They got into the scene back in 2003 with hits such as “Gangta Rock”, “Wacky Dip”, “Put it on me” , “Nuh Linga and Sweep”and “Weh di Time” just to name a few. All my dancers out there know that some of these songs are the ones that started off these Caribbean Parties and make them sell off. In 2007 Voicemail released their first album on VP Records entitled “Hey” (after their catch phrase “HEYEEEE”). The album did well in the United States but even better in Japan selling over 100,o00 albums. Their sucess continued in Japan with their sophomore and third albums called “Let’s Go” and “Jump Off”, each respectively selling over 80,000 albums in Japan creating a new wave of success for them.
As far as what they were doing this year, after doing a lot of touring overseas, they wanted to come and put themselves out here in the US. They even came to visit Buffalo for the first time back in April for both a school appearcance at Buffalo State College in collaboration with WBNY and Archangel Ent. and a benefit concert at the Town Ballroom. Meeting them, they are very cool and humble guys. As a lover of Reggae and Dancehall music I just had to ask them when were they going to release a new album and it was Craig that explained to “We are definitely working on a album, first it is going to be released overseas and then we will bring it to the states, we are looking at somehere around October”. You already know that I was very excited to see and hear what their new album had to offer and it was then that I knew something very good was coming their way.
Hits that were being played this year that had Voicemail’s name all over it was the latest dance craze “Nuh Behavior” on the popular Trippple Bounce Riddim, their song on the Style and Swagger Riddim and their latest hit “Dance the Night Away” featuring Busy Signal. This all of a sudden death for Voicemail is your 2010 Caribbean rendition of TLC losing Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Voicemail will definitely not be the same without O’Neil because he was the most relaxed and quirky one of the group. He will be remebered as the base and deep tone voice of the group and his unique style of hair. He will especially stand out to me in the song “Bring Yuh Body Come” on the Sweat Riddim. To Voicemail and O’Neil, on behalf of Caribbean music everywhere, our condolences go out to you, your friends and your family. You will definitely be missed. As Demarco said in “Fallen Soldiers”: “Although Your’e gone, we are with you” and you along with your group left and will continue a legacy of dances that will forver live and carry on. May you rest in peace.