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Spice headed for legal battle with VP Records 

The world has been waiting with bated breath for more than a decade for an album from dancehall's newest queen, Spice. There have been several dates announcing the release of a debut compilation from the dancehall diva but an album is yet to materialise. Earlier this year, Spice told her fans via social media that she had absolutely no control over the album's release date as her record label VP Records had been giving her the runaround. In a feisty Instagram Live video in February, Spice told fans to "Go ask nasty, dirty, stinking VP weh the album deh", adding that she had voiced songs but to no avail. Fans have not heard much regarding the situation since then, but, in a recent interview with THE WEEKEND STAR, the entertainer said she would be heading to court very soon. Speaking in her post-performance interview at Reggae Sumfest last Friday, Spice explained that the album delay results from differences between her and VP Records. 

"I signed a contract with them (VP) from 2009 and that's the worst decision I've ever made in my life," she said. "Up to this day, from 2009 they have not released an album with me, and so I'm ready now to battle with them in court because I have to fight for my fans, my fans need an album from me. They (VP) have left me with no other resort but to fight them to get out of this contract. I've just started the process because I've given them 10 years." The entertainer, who is currently gearing up for her birthday party at Oneil's Place on Hagley Park Road tomorrow night, blasted VP for doing nothing for her. "I don't disclose a lot of things about my career, how hard I work, how I do everything by myself. I finance my entire career by myself because the record company does absolutely nothing for me," she said. "I promote my own music, and I want to tell all the young artistes not to make the same mistakes I made because it's really haunting me right now."

Spice said there were many things she could tell many young artistes based on the mistakes she had made in the past. "Never sign a contract when you're too young. Give it a few years, try to be independent and even put out your first album on your own. Do not sign away your publishing," she said. VP Records could not be reached for a comment up to press time. This is not the first time a dancehall artiste has expressed the belief that their careers have been held back somewhat because of contracts signed with VP Records. Just last year, Ding Dong said that he missed out on a deal with American producer and label owner Swizz Beatz due to the details of a VP contract he signed some 10 years ago.

Oh Shit, the Rihanna Dancehall Album Seems Real 

A Rolling Stone report says the singer is finishing a record that will pay tribute to her "Caribbean roots." Also Skrillex is working on it.
Because pop fans are insatiable, people have been "where's the album"-ing Rihanna more or less since the moment she dropped ANTI back in 2016. I'd ordinarily tsk such needy behavior, but in this case the thirsty fans are right – summer truly doesn't feel quite right without at least one humid jam to blast from your rooftop for a few minutes. But if a new report from Rolling Stone is to be believed, we may not be too far away from a true treat for the year's hottest months: her rumored dancehall record that was first mentioned back in a Vogue profile in May.

Rolling Stone cites eight sources close to Rihanna and Roc Nation that say she's been looking for beats from Jamaica's finest producers for over a year. Some of the names floating around the project include Supa Dups – a longtime dancehall producer who most recently made mainstream waves with the beat for "Controlla" – along with R. City, Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor and Linton “TJ Records” White (both of whom have worked on big records by Vybz Kartel), the producer and singer Ricky Blaze, Tyshane “Beam” Thompson, and local hero vocalists Kranium and Chronixx. Skrillex and Boi-1da have also apparently been around, for whatever that's worth.
Between that massive crew of songwriting magnates and production whizzes, they've apparently turned out 500 sketches of songs that Rihanna and co. intend on narrowing down to 10 for the final record. “Every artist, every producer, every songwriter in Jamaica or of Jamaican descent has been working on [Rihanna’s album] and has little snippets of publishing or production credits on it,” one source told Rolling Stone. “I think they’ve got eight songs, but her A&R is still asking for records.” So it seems still in the works, but it sounds significantly further along than the last time we heard about it, which is reason for celebration. And hey, if we don't get it before fall, that just menas another few months of listening to "Work" remixes, which should be fine. There's plenty of those to go around.

Lawyer blasts judge who convicted Kartel 

JUSTICE Lennox Campbell yesterday came under more fire for his handling of the murder trial of dancehall star Vybz Kartel (Adija Palmer) and his co-appellants as another defence lawyer yesterday accused him of not having an understanding of the law.
Attorney Robert Fletcher, who represents Kahira Jones — one of three men convicted along with Kartel for the August 2011 murder of Clive 'Lizard' Williams — argued in the Court of Appeal that Justice Campbell because of his lack of understanding of the law made several errors during the trial. The veteran attorney pointed out that the judge's acknowledgment that one of the phones was tampered with and his subsequent acceptance of the said phone as an exhibit demonstrated his lack of knowledge regarding the law. “How is that the learned trial judge can put to the jury the fact that the phone was contaminated, tampered and compromised and then ask them to decide if it was contaminated?” Fletcher asked. “I cannot find a word to describe that, except maybe redundant, and what special skills do they have that would allow them to make such a decision?” he further asked. According to Fletcher, the judge did not show any regard for the new developments in the case law that speak specifically to the issue of the integrity of the exhibits and went beyond mere breaks in the chain of custody of the exhibits. He also pointed to other questionable exhibits being admitted into evidence by the judge, such as the video of the alleged murder in which he said no one was clearly identified, and two discs on which materials from one of the phones that were seized were downloaded but the phone went missing.

The attorney also argued that the judge had erred during the sentencing process when he sentenced the co-appellants without having a social enquiry report, which he said is a fundamental principle that is to be observed. “You can't sentence somebody unless you know who they are,” he said, while noting that a social enquiry report would provide all the necessary details about an individual including his or her character and how he or she is viewed by community members and relatives. Fletcher also argued that the judge in sentencing the appellants did not take into account the mitigating circumstances in the case and only focused on the aggravating issues such as the level of planning of the murder, concealment of the deceased body and threats that were reportedly issued prior to the death of the now deceased. Meanwhile, Kartel's attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson urged the court to quash his conviction and that of his co-appellants as their case was prejudiced by the widespread, adverse publicity, primarily from the police. 
Some of the adverse publicity which came from the police, she said, were press releases from the then Constabulary Communication Network which linked a report about a firebombing of a witness's home and vandalisation of a Digicel cell site to the high-profile case, as well as a statement made by the then commissioner of police. Neita-Robertson argued that the judge dealt with the complaints about the adverse publicity in a flippant manner and should have terminated the trial. In asking the judge to quash the conviction she also pointed out that, based on the evidence presented during the trial, her client would not have been at the house in Havendale at the time of Williams's murder. She said that contrary to evidence provided by the cell tower analysis, which indicated that Kartel was in Havendale at 7:52 pm, hospital phone records showed that he arrived there at 7:48 pm. 
Pointing to the evidence given by the eyewitness in his statement that he had arrived at the house at 8:00 pm she said, “It would mean that Mr Palmer would not be at the house when Williams's death happened.” Kartel, Shawn Campbell, Jones and Andre St John were convicted in April 2014 and given mandatory life sentences. Kartel was ordered to serve 35 years before being eligible for parole while Campbell, Jones and St John were ordered to each serve 25 years before becoming eligible for parole.