Why Does Dancehall Love Clarks Shoes?
Weird, isn’t it? Jamaican rude boys and dancehall stars have long been obsessing over owning a pair of Clarks shoes for decades. So, maybe it’s no surprise that songs about materialistic stuff coincided with the era of dancehall’s separation from roots reggae and Rasta ideals and the country’s post-independence economic depression.
Al Newman, aka DJ Al Fingers, had long been aware of the connection, but was even more intrigued when Vybz Kartel released “Clarks” a WHOLE SONG on the matter, and decided to pilgrimage to Jamaica, with photographer Mark Read, to document this phenomenon in his new book Clarks In Jamaica. As Al said during our interview, “there’s a comedy to dancehall that isn’t there in roots music.” And it's true, these guys singing about Clarks is not as conscious and shallow as, say, Kanye and Jay-Z asking whether the jacket is Margiela. Jamaican dancehall has a knowing irony to it. Or whatever, maybe I’m reading into it, so I thought it was best to go straight to the expert, and pick his brains about everything from what Clarks really means to dancehall and how Jamaica has affected British music.
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