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Vice Blog

BARBADOS - MURDER ONE

March 19, 2009, 1:49pm

While on a romantic tropical vacation in Barbados I stumbled on a self-directed mission sparked by posters of a true gangster named Seth. With rainbow knock-off Oakley sunglasses obscuring half of his cross-tattoo covered face, camo hoodie (hood up), and face set in a decidedly defiant expression, the guy on the poster looked like a fucker who'd come find me and slice my ears off if I didn't like his hit single, which I gathered from the poster was called "Murder One." We had fantasies of discovering a heretofore unknown artist and using our record industry connections to break him. As conscientious tourists, it was our duty to seek out some local underground shit to get a real taste of the island.

We cruised St. Lawrence Gap looking for him. Finally we spotted the mysterious Seth shirtless in sweatpants painting the trunk of a palm tree next to one of his banners. But that slippery Caribbean leprechaun disappeared before we had a chance to talk to him and we figured we had missed our chance. That was pretty disappointing, but not as much as realizing that dude looks less street-tough murderer rap star than street-smart homeless man. Still, we held on to a shred of hope for a second glance.

On our last day in Barbados a friendly man on the street flagged us down asking, "Hey, you two into music?" Why yes, we were. Holy shit, it was Seth! After days of looking for him he'd found us. He sold us his single and made us a couple of wire figurines while telling us about how his website was taken down by the government for being too political. He was wearing grey sweatpants covered with strange yellow stains. He passed me a manila folder containing various newspaper clippings and the registration for Safe Society, a charity in his name from 1995. The entire time he spoke to us his eyes kept darting left and right as though government agents were ready to pounce. He told us his single was about the military killing civilians, quoted Bob Marley twice, and asked us to get him radio airplay in the states so he could get royalty checks. He also charged us $20 Barbados ($10 US) for the single and two wire figurines we hadn't asked for.

First thing we did when we got back to New York was listen to Seth's single. Predictably his brand of "political techno" wasn't very good. In fact, it kind of sucks. In an endearing way.

BEVERLY HAMES