itS been some time since Mavado has had a hit song in the United States… five years to be exact.
The self-proclaimed ‘gully god’ is eyeing a return to the Billboard charts, and he’s getting some help from a rap legend.
This week, the dancehall artiste spoke with Splash from his base in South Florida about Hustler, a song he recently did with LL Cool J. Mavado said the link came through Grammy-winning producer Jerry ‘Wonder’ Duplessis.
“I was told that LL was in town (New York City) and that he was interested in doing a collaboration with me, so we met up and went in the studios and began recording,” he said.
Hustler was recorded in the Big Apple and produced by Duplessis. The song was released in late July.
A video for the track was shot in sections of Flatbush and Queens, New York.
Mavado has been working the pop circuit since inking a record deal with DJ Khaled’s We The Best rap label. Other collaborations include Emergency featuring rapper Ace Hood and Survivor with singer Akon.
Though he has remained consistent on the dancehall scene, he has not entered the Billboard charts since 2009 when I’m so Special made the R&B list.
Mavado first made that chart in 2006 with Wha Dem a Do. Getting a hit in the US, he says, is important.
“This is where the bigger and larger music market is. If I can break the ice in the United States it would be a huge step for my career,” he said.
Mavado (real name David Constantine Brooks) has been chastised by critics for what they believe are violent lyrics. In his defence, he said those songs addressed situations he was exposed to growing up in Kingston’s gritty Cassava Piece community.
“I sing about the streets because that’s where I came from. I have been there and I see all the positive and negatives that it entails,” he explained. “It’s not about me jus’ singing ’bout violence as a means of getting airplay, it’s about my encounters.”
Some of those encounters were with his arch-rival, deejay Vybz Kartel, who is currently serving a life sentence for murder.
Their Gully/Gaza conflict got national attention six years ago with the police high command stepping in to calm their feuding supporers.
Mavado said he has reached out to Kartel since he was sentenced in April.
“It’s about growth, we have build two musical column in the industry that can never be destroyed and it doesn’t matter where each of us are and the circumstances that we are faced with,” he stated.