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  • Writer's pictureO'Brianna Johnson

The Illusion of Badmind in the Jamaican Popular Music

Many of us have seen the viral video of Popcaan critiquing Valiant’s performance in front of the audience. The video was taken at the stage show Trelawny Explosion in 2019. It shows Popcaan interrupting Valiant’s performance and, in essence, telling him that he needs to improve his performance skills. Popcaan’s actual words were a bit harsher, but his comments were inherently valid, as Valiant’s performance was subpar. What got my attention, though, wasn’t the video but the comments under the Instagram post that the Questimes official page shared. “Popcaan a waste man,” “Popcaan badmind”, and other comments of that nature were shared under the post.

The comments that stood out to me especially were the ones accusing Popcaan of being badmind. I know many of us are familiar with the meaning of the word badmind but just for further context, let’s look at the definition. According to the Jamaican Patois and Slang dictionary, badmind means envious or jealous. Now, let’s ask the important question, which part of Popcaan’s criticism indicated that he was jealous of Valiant? I’ve watched the video multiple times, and all I heard was some harsh criticism from a seasoned artist to an up-and-coming one. The only issue I had wasn’t even with what Popcaan said but where he said it as it could’ve been said privately. However, it still doesn’t warrant calling Popcaan badmind.

The comments highlight a major issue within the Jamaican music industry where critics are often mistaken as “badmind” by artists and their fans. In this instance, the fans are the ones making the badmind accusations. We see it constantly with fanbases bashing and ridiculing someone unnecessarily for unfavourable comments they made about their artist. Criticism can indeed be rooted in jealousy or done to make fun of the artist, but there are also many times when it is for the artist’s benefit. As a fan, it is important to remember that criticism is crucial to an artist’s career because without it, how would they grow? How would they know which part of their artistry needs improvement? Any genuine fan of an artist accepts this and learns not to take it personally. In the case of Popcaan and Valiant, the critique of Valiant’s performance was for his benefit, and the artist agrees with this sentiment.

In an interview done after the stage show, Valiant was asked how he felt about Popcaan’s comment, and he stated, “Me did feel a way but me know me neva perform good… A real talk him (Popcaan) did a mek.” The interviewer went on to ask Valiant if he respected what Popcaan said. He responded with yes because it allowed him to grow, and he even made a song titled ‘Blessings’, expressing his appreciation of the experience.

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