Japanese deejay records first dancehall song in English
Japanese dancehall artiste ZendaMan is celebrating the release of his first English dancehall song, ChopShop, as he continues to learn the language.
"I went to language school in Jamaica, but most slang [I] learn in street or dancehall," he said, as he admitted that his biggest challenge so far to his music is his lack of command of English.
The Asian deejay, whose given name is Zen Wamura, was born in Iwate, Japan, but has relocated to Jamaica to immerse himself in the culture and to introduce his music to dancehall fans. He said he fell in love with Jamaican music when he was a child.
"My stepfather used to bring me to the Reggae Festival in Iwate. I saw Beenie Man, Jesse Royal's performance when I was in high school, and I was so impressed and began to be affected," he said.
ZendaMan admitted that although his love for the music may have started with reggae, he now prefers dancehall and wants to perfect his art to contribute to the genre.
"I used to sing reggae more, but after coming to Jamaica I felt so much energy and strong vibes from dancehall, I want to be part of that," he admitted. Despite his preference, he said that reggae enjoys more fanfare in his home country.
"Dancehall is not huge in Japan, but definitely, I'm biggest up-and-coming artiste in that genre," he said, adding that he is inspired by the street.
"I came to Jamaica first time in 2019. Dem time trap dancehall just started run them song, so it inspired mi, too," he said.
The influence of trap dancehall on his creativity is evident in Chopshop as he sings, " Dem vex tru mi wholesale full up nawmal a lie ! A Mark X from Japan just pull up dem cyaa duh di do cau we a duh di do ... mi nuh know bout you Clean mi nuh full a mildew".
ZendaMan is preparing to make his debut performance at Sting, one of dancehall's biggest stage shows that will be making its return to the music calender after a seven-year hiatus.
"Very exciting, Sting is still biggest dancehall show to we," he said.