In a newly released episode of The Buss Earz Podcast, music producer Taugea “Countree Hype” Dayes discussed his career in dancehall and revealed that incarcerated artiste Tommy Lee Sparta was paid $400,000 for a song the entertainer still has not voiced.
Dayes, the founder of the independent record label Countree Hype Entertainment, is regarded as one of dancehall’s rising and increasingly influential producers. The Spaldings Hill, Manchester, native gained his first major hit after collaborating with Shane O in 2017 on the single Take It Tell Me. Dayes has since garnered much success working with artistes such as Alkaline and Jahvillani, and produced Intence’s Clutcha and Yahoo Boyz.
Sitting down with actor Dale Elliott on his Buss Earz Podcast, the producer spoke about his budding fascination with music at a young age and why, after becoming a certified chef and nursing assistant, he chose a musical career instead. After touching on the current state of dancehall and the rise of the sub-genres drill and trap dancehall, the conversation switched to the business side of the industry, which Dayes referred to as unstructured. When asked about the process of securing independent artistes to record a song for his label, he explained that a lot of entertainers are expecting to be paid a hefty sum.
Noting that he suffered major losses at the beginning of his career, the producer recounted reaching out to Tommy Lee in 2017. According to Dayes, the deejay was paid $400,000 for a song he did not record.
“Tommy Lee Sparta yuh know yuh self…yuh neva voice fi me.Yuh tek me money and yuh neva voice, yuh know how it go.” Dayes stated.
Dayes said he learned from the experience and that many producers in the music industry face the same challenges with artistes, but you have to play it cool.
“Yuh know how artiste ting guh already, badness. Yuh cyah really diss artist. Artiste lick yuh ina yuh face, entourage kick yuh dung. Yuh affi know weh yah do.” Dayes joked but said Tommy Lee still owes him.
“Yuh need fi look in a yuh self, and just voice… a song,” Dayes stated.
Tommy Lee is currently serving a three-year prison sentence for illegal possession of a firearm and two years for illegal possession of ammunition. The deejay pleaded guilty to both offences in 2021 after he was initially arrested in December 2020. He released his album Transition after his incarceration that same year, as well as his collaborative single Protocol with Skeng.
Watch Dayes full interview below.