The recurring debate about dancehall’s impact on crime, which has been a controversial topic for decades, was presented to UK recording artiste Stefflon Don, who agreed that there is a connection. Stefflon Don, born Stephanie Allen, was asked this question during a TVJ Entertainment Report interview with Anthony Miller. Miller also inquired about the connection that overseas drill music has with violence.
Drill, a subgenre of hip hop and a form of trap music, is comparable to dancehall because of its grimy lyrics. The 30-year-old rapper shared her perspective on the matter. From her point of view, despite the two having a connection to crime and violence, artistes are not the source of the problem.
While pointing out that the root of the problem would be poverty and neglect, she said, “I know people are talking about what they see, what they live.” Instead of saying that dancehall influences violence, Stefflon Don stated that she was more focused on “what makes them wanna sing about violence in the first place?”
“I like to get to the root of the problem,” she continued. She elaborated that violence in dancehall music was only the aftermath of an unsolved problem. She advised, “We need to tap into why are they singing about that? What’s the reason they are experiencing stuff like that, and why do they feel like they wanna mention these stuff? Why do people like to hear these things?”
When asked about the impact of drill music in the UK, Stefflon Don shared that the UK government has indicated that such graphical songs would be used as evidence in court. However, considering that some deejays only create these songs for entertainment, she strongly disagreed with this tactic. Stefflon stressed that these songs were not the issue because the real problem was present in society before the grimy songs were created.
She also voiced concern about the Jamaican government not “doing much” for the citizens. For instance, she pointed out the garbage on the roads, leading people to feel neglected by the government, and the poor wages, which force people to turn to criminal activities. “I feel like they deserve better living conditions,” she added. “They deserve to have clean streets, clean water…a good home, and a good wage. I think that’s the most important cause a lot of people don’t wanna work cause they not even getting paid enough for their work.”
When asked if dancehall artistes should be less raunchy like Afrobeats, she suggested that deejays should do raunchy and decent songs because there are different audiences. Hence, sticking to only raunchy lyrics would limit their reach. She also noted that she would love to hear more reggae songs. Miller later asked her who the “baddest artiste in Jamaica” would be, and Stefflon chose Masicka while highlighting that Skillibeng would be ranked second.
On the topic of Shenseea receiving backlash for changing her sound for an American audience, Stefflon commented, “You can not buy culture.” She subsequently stated that there would only be one Shenseea, and no one could do what she did. Furthermore, she expressed love for the Lick artiste and added that Shenseea should try whatever she desired.
Watch the interview with Stefflon Don below: