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Biography: Vybz Kartel

Adijah Palmer (born January 7, 1976 in Portmore, Jamaica), better known as Vybz Kartel, is a Jamaican dancehall artist and lyricist.

At a tender age Kartel was always interested in music. He attended a prominent all boys high school in Kingston, Calabar High School, but he was expelled before graduating, as a result of a dispute between him and a gym teacher. He however, continued his schooling at a private school where he graduated with four C.X.C subjects notably in English Language, History, Geography and Literature. It can be said that it was these subjects that have enabled him to be one of the best lyricist Dancehall Music has ever come across.

From an early age Mr. Palmer was exposed to a variety of music by his two uncles who were aspiring musicians at the time. On weekends he would be listening to new music to wet his appetite for later on in his life. He would assist in arranging music from Sam Cooke to country music and even Ninja Man's music that was one of his idols at the time but later will become one of his musical foes. At the tender age of 10 he would write down lyrics from Charlie Chaplin, Papa San, Will Smith and KRS-1 then he would memorize them and later perform for the entertainment of friends. It was on these same weekends that Vybz would practice performing on his neighbor sound systems which was Soul Signal and Electric Force.

In his late teens in 1993 Adijah Palmer recorded his first single "Love Fat Woman" for the One Heart Label using the name Adi Banton in tribute to one of his role models Buju Banton. He continued to record tracks for local producers until he formed a group with his two friends. The name for the group came about after they watched a movie called Pablo Escobar and his infamous cartel hence the trio were known as Vibes Cartel. The group was eventually disbanded and Kartel went solo.

It was not until 1998 that he was recognized by a popular Dancehall artist Bounty Killer who took him under his wings and virtually introduced him to the public where he had rave reviews and a lot of praises. He continued to make chart topping hits which enabled him to collaborate with international artists which helped his career to quickly rise.

In 2002 he was crowned Deejay of the Year at the Stone Love 30th Anniversary celebration. In terms of singles sold, he has had the second-best year on the reggae charts for 2003 (outsold only by Elephant Man) and has released two albums for the UK/US based label Greensleeves Records. He was also featured twice on the Def Jamaica project, and nominated for the Source, VIBE and UK MOBO awards, although his 2004 UK MOBO award nomination was withdrawn amidst controversy over allegedly homophobic content of his lyrics.

Towards the end of 2006 and due to disagreements and internal rivalries, Vybz Kartel left The Alliance, a group of dancehall artists founded by Bounty Killer. Tensions arose following Kartel's continued association with Bounty Killer's longtime enemy, Beenie Man, including Kartel attending Beenie Man's wedding to Bounty Killer's ex-girlfriend, D'Angel. However, it was reported that Vybz Kartel and Bounty Killer performed together ahead of the annual Sting show. Vybz Kartel said that he had departed because he wanted to be an independent artist.

Following Vybz Kartel's departure from The Alliance, a very public feud arose between him and his former collaborator Mavado. Numerous diss tracks were released, in which each artist verbally attacked the other one and his associates over popular dancehall riddims.

The feud threatened to escalate beyond lyrics in the following months, with shootouts at the popular hangouts of the artists, and on-stage scuffles between members of each camp. This intensification prompted a police-overseen press conference in which both Mavado and Vybz Kartel publicly announced an end to hostilities and apologized to fans.

After splitting with Bounty‐Killer led Alliance in 2006, Kartel founded the Portmore Empire, a fiercely talented group of up and coming Dancehall deejays and singers from his Portmore neighborhood that he signed to his newly founded Adidjahiem/Notnice Records. Members of the group are: Vybz Kartel, Blak Ryno, Shawn Storm, Doza Medicene Merital, Jah Vinci, Popcaan, Indu, Gaza Slim, and Sheba.

His exit has also enabled him to venture on the entrepreneur line and in 2008, Kartel launched Vybz rum and Daggerin' condoms. The rum is yet to be officially distributed, but is planned to be done by Vybz Distillers Limited, a subsidiary of the company that created Pimp Juice.

He has released five albums: Up 2 Di Time (Greensleeves; 2003); More Up 2 Di Time (Greensleeves; 2004); Timeless (Greensleeves; 2004); JMT (Greensleeves; 2006); and The Teacher's Back (released independently; 2008). His latest album Pon Di Gaza, released in late September 2009, is his debut album on his newly established label Adidjahiem/Notnice Records.

Crossover singles like "Tekk," "Gun Session," and "Ramping Shop" have earned Kartel international recognition, in addition to collaborations and remixes with Hip Hop and R&B stalwarts like Jay‐Z, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, M.I.A, Pharrell, Kardinal Offishal, Akon, and Jim Jones.

In 2009, Kartel has had six number one singles in Jamaica: "Last Man Standing;" "Million By A Morning;" "Ramping Shop" featuring Spice; "Mama;" "Dollar Sign;" and "Completely" featuring Indu. In addition, he scored two international hits with "Ramping Shop" debuting on the Billboard Top 100 Singles charts, and "Dollar Sign" being in regular rotation on popular urban stations in the U.S.

In 2010 he was recognized by the EmE (Excellence in Music and Entertainment) Awards for Song of the Year, Lyricist/Songwriter of the Year, and Male Deejay of the Year.