Adidja Palmer otherwise known as Vybz Kartel, is one of six siblings, who grew up in the Portmore district of Waterford in the parish St Catherine. Adidja attended Calabar High School in Kingston but was expelled, he was keen to finish his education so he attended a Technical College. Due to his Uncle being a DJ, Adidja was exposed to a wide range of music from a young age. He would listen to amongst others Country & Western, Sam Cooke, Ninjaman, Bounty Killer, Charlie Chaplin, Papa San, Buju Banton, Will Smith and KRS-1. All these artistes have helped him to create his own brand of dancehall.

Adidja started his journey towards a career in music when playing marbles on the playground. At the age of 10, Adidja began writing his own lyrics. Kartel would attend a weekly talent show called Gong in Kingston‘s now defunct Coney Amusement Park. Gong followed the concept of the famous Apollo Theatre in New York City. Unfortunately Adidja was continuously gonged off! Totally unfazed by his attempt to impress at the talent show Kartel, now 12 years old, went on to record his debut single “Fat Women”. Alvin Reid produced the song on the One Heart label. Kartel used the name Adi Banton, using the surname of one of his heroes Buju Banton. The song failed to garner any real interest but Adidja was undeterred and determined to continue his struggle of making it within the music business.

In 1996 Adidja along with his friends Mr Lee and Escobar formed a group and called it Vybz Cartel. They took their name from a movie about a gangster called Pablo Escobar and his drug cartel. Unfortunately cracks began to appear in the group due to internal frictions. The group soon split leaving Adidja again to continue alone. Adidja chose to keep the name of the group changing the C to K in Kartel and hence the new artist we know as VYBZ KARTEL was born.

In 1998, Vybz Kartel appeared at the Champions In Action stage show, which was held in his hometown Portmore. He gave an outstanding performance showing many his raw talent as a deejay in the making. Finally the right doors started to open and welcome him in. It was at this show that Bounty Killer noticed that the young artist had a lot of potential. Rohan Butler, Vybz’s manager, introduced him to the Warlord and a mutual respect was immediately forged. He started to pen lyrics for Bounty Killer including hits such as “High Grade Foreve”, “Warlord Rule The World”, “Gal Clown”. With the help of Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel was ready to start making a name for himself. In 2001 he started to appear and impress on popular rhythms like “Da Rolling” (Scarecrow) and “Woman A Cry” (Bun Bun). But it was his notable collaboration from earlier this year with Wayne Marshall on “New Millennium” and “Why You Doing It” that suddenly and most deservedly catapulted him to stardom in the dancehall.

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