Kingston-born reggae singer Isiah Mentor is making an ardent appeal to Jamaicans to reject gang violence on his plaintive new song, ‘Gang Land’.
The song is one of the releases from his self-produced ‘God A Go Beat Dem’ which was released on the Village Rootz label in April 2020. The single is a biting social commentary on the complicity of Jamaicans with crime. The song is aimed at pushing gangs out of the urban communities and promoting good police-community initiatives that limit the power of gangs.
“I am just saying that we need to run the criminals out of our communities. I am dealing with spreading an anti-gang sentiment, I want to galvanise citizens to burn out the wrongdoers, the gangs are the single most important threat to our security, our future happiness and the welfare of our children,” Isiah Mentor said.
Jamaica’s gang problem shows no sign of abating with some 389 criminal organisations operating in the country up to the end of 2019, and presenting a “clear and present danger” to the society, according to the Minister of National Security, Dr Horace Chang, while giving an update in the House of Representatives earlier this year. Of that number, 250 were found to be active, Chang said.
Isiah Mentor has high hopes for this single after locking down radio earlier this year with his previous single, ‘God a Go Deal With Them’.
“The future is looking good for Isiah Mentor. The first single, ‘God ah Do Deal With Them’ did very well on radio and I’m confident that ‘Gangland’ has the potential to be a hit. I plan to release it officially along with a music video soon,” he said.
Isiah Mentor has fused African sounds and retentions into his music, evident in the harmonies of songs such as ‘God A Go Beat Them’ and ‘Gang Land’.
Born Ian Samuels, the singer was born in Rae Town, Kingston. He attended Tivoli Gardens and Charlie Smith high schools. After graduation, he started his music career recording, using the moniker Lilly Melody, at King Tubbys Studio on the Waterhouse and Firehouse labels. He has had the opportunity to work with producers Sly and Robbie and several of the top musicians in Jamaica over the past two decades.
He released an album, Give It to Me, years ago. He migrated to the United States when he was in his early 20s. Due to his religious beliefs, he relocated to Shashamane in Ethiopia in 2011.