The Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files: Kardinall Offishall’s Dancehall Daze

Brian Raftery / January 16, 2007

As part of our ongoing effort to spotlight cruelly ignored songs, artists and albums, we present another installment of the Coulda-Shoulda-Woulda Files. Today’s C-S-W entry is from Peter Rubin, a man who can parse patois with the best of them:

Artist: Kardinall Offishall
What happened: In the long and spotty marriage of dancehall and hip-hop, there haven’t been many artists to actually serve both genres well. Sorry, Shinehead. Sorry, Mad Lion (two monster singles, but still one-dimensional). Sorry, uh, Born Jamericans (whose biggest success of the last decade was having their poster adorn a character’s office wall on the late UPN laff-fest Half and Half). Enter Toronto’s brightest hope, Kardinall Offishall, a man whose voice possesses damn near KRS-One levels of baritone authority.
Why he deserves to have a hit: Kardi’s got a plenty passable patois and a love for beats both hip-hop and vintage reggae–“Maxine” actually does justice to the ubiquitous and classic “Stalag” riddim–and while he’s been popping up on A-list artist remixes for some time now, he can’t seem to crack the American market. His Canadian Coke mixtape, which features collabos with everyone from Fitty to dancehall don Vybz Kartel, might just change that…if only more people knew about it.

Kardinall Offishall feat. Vybz Kartel – Everybody Gone Gangster[MP3, link expired]
Kardinall Offishall – Maxine[MP3, link expired]
Kardinall Offishall [MySpace]