“Ah links run Jamaica” is a commonly-used and likely-accurate phrase describing the importance that social connections seemingly have over factors such as job performance and academic qualifications regarding upward mobility in the country.
Jamaica’s music industry has been the birthplace of a plethora of world-class musical giants who have shifted the zeitgeists of popular western culture for generations, from Bob Marley and the impact of reggae music to Shabba Ranks, Steely and Clevie who are largely influential in the development of reggaeton in the Latin American markets.
Despite the local musical space’s history of creative majesty, historically it has been plagued by issues of gatekeeping such as through payola which has undoubtedly prevented certain creative works from ever hitting the airways.
Emerging through the Jamaican music space, especially before the prominence of social media, required a combination of musical ability and certain connections built with gatekeepers.
In the entertainment space, a nepotism baby, or nepo-baby, is someone with these advantages due to the influence of their familial connections.
Here are some Jamaicans that could be considered by some as nepo-babies due to the privilege bestowed upon them but have used their ability to make their names in the musical space.
Bob Marley had several children, many of whom have also become successful musicians in their own right. His sons Ziggy, Stephen, Damian, and Julian have all had successful music careers and continue to perform and record music today.
She is the daughter of singer and producer Tommy Cowan and singer Dr. Carlene Davis-Cowan, and grew up in a musical family surrounded by reggae, gospel, and soul music.
Cowan began her music career in 2016, releasing her debut single “Naked” which blended reggae and pop influences. Since then, she has released several singles, including “Paradise Plum” and “Things You Say You Love”.
Tessanne Chin and Tammy Chynn
Tammar Anika Chin, also known as Tami Chynn and Tessanne Chin are part of a larger musical family. Both girls were surrounded by music since childhood as both of their parents were in a band called ‘The Carnations’ and other family members are also musicians in their own right.
Tessanne was able to attend Jamaica’s Little People and Teen Players Club, a top performing arts school in Jamaica and also received vocal training from her mother since childhood. Tami, now a veteran in the music industry has been Tessanne Chin’s manager since 2014.
Known for iconic hits such as Here Comes Trouble, Skankin Sweet and Likes. Chronixx has been behind some of the greatest hit songs in modern reggae history.
His real name is Jamar Rolando McNaughton jr and initially called himself “Little Chronicle” paying homage to his father, artiste Chronicle. He grew up in music and around various creatives. He was later given the name”Chronixx” by his friends. Through his hard work, coupled with the guidance, lessons and opportunities created by his father. Chronixx has been able to thrive in the music industry.
Known for mega hits such as Rasta Love, and Who Knows. Protoje has been one of the driving forces in the reggae revival era in Jamaica.
His real name is Oje Ken Ollivierre and is the son of singer Lorna Bennett and calypsonian Mike Ollivierre, and first cousins with Jamaican producer Don Corleon. With Corleon’s label he released his first two albums including Rasta Love.
Stephen ‘Di Genius’ McGregor
Di Genius is known for his production of hits such as Movado’s Weh Dem a Do, Shenseea’s Blessed, Drake’s Controlla and Damian Marlery’s Stony Hill among other works.
His full name is Stephen McGregor and he is the son of Jamaican singer and musician Freddie McGregor. The young producer had access to his father’s guidance and home studio – Big Ship Records and the privilege of travelling with his family to develop his skill in music from a young age.
This does not take away from the fact that the young producer managed to learn 5 instruments by the age of 10 nor the 5 Grammy Awards that he has earned throughout his career.
Rvssian is known for producing dancehall hits such as Straight Jeans and Fitted, Pull Up To Mi Bumper and Whine ‘n’ Kotch.
His full name is Tarik Johnston who is the son of the late Michael ‘Micron’ Johnston, founder of Micron Music Limited. Rvssian, who learned how to play the piano and drums from his father, followed in his footsteps and started his own production company Head Concussion Records.
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