Written by: Nekisha Cyrus
‘Zesser’ a term that was initially coined and heavily associated with the Trinidad Dancehall community has now evolved into a movement.
Defined by urbandictionary.com as a cool confident person who wears the hottest expensive brand name clothing & huge excessive jewelry, this Trinidadian slang originates from the English word ‘zest’ or ‘zesty’ which means to be appealing, appetizing, or sharp. Today this movement, which was birthed within the streets of Trinidad’s ghettos is now making its way to some of the main stages, not just locally but internationally as well.
For the past, several years dancehall in Trinidad has taken a few twists and turns from its Jamaican root resulting in its own unique, distinguishable ‘flavor’ that has become the voice and sound of the Zesser movement. As Art imitates life and music reflects the culture or subculture that produces it, this music from the slums of Trinidad, like its Jamaican counterpart, is filled with the glorification of thug-life, sex, and ‘bling-bling’ and as such has become controversial and is encountering much resistance from the mainstream culture. However, in the end, the fandom has spoken, and the support continues to grow as is evident in the millions of views received by some of the top ‘Zesser’ videos on social media.
Before introducing some of the movers and shakers in the movement, CEH will like to warn readers that some of the videos (mainly 1st & 4th ) contents profanity, vulgarity, and graphic scenes of violence. While it’s our policy to stay away from such contents, their inclusion gives a clear picture of a main aspect of the Zesser movement.
Taryll Swan who goes by the stage name ‘Prince Swanny’ has been considered the leader of the pack when it comes to pushing Trinidad Dancehall music internationally. Hailed as the Zesser King, this Carenage native has been stacking up the views online with every new release.
His strong fan base expands throughout Trinidad and Jamaica, but he’d also been breaking boundaries touring the USA and even appeared alongside Trinidad James on the popular US ‘Sway in the Morning’ show.
With his street-savvy lyrics and outspoken personality, he continues to deliver those hits. Speaking of hits, some of his popular releases include ‘Brother, Brother’, ‘Watch Your Friends’, ‘Bread Winner’, ‘Dreams’ and so much more.
In 2019, he had us all dancing and chanting this popular phrase ‘More Zessing, Less Stressing’ after releasing one of the biggest dancehall songs ‘Zesser’. Yes, we’re talking Akel Mclean aka the one and only ‘Trinidad Ghost’.
One of the most versatile artists in the game, Trinidad Ghost has been honing his craft since 2014, when he first came on the scene. His style of music isn’t just limited to the dancehall genre as he has had success in other genres like hip-hop and soca. Speaking of soca, his 2020 soca release ‘I Ain’t See’ still a crowd favorite and even landed him as a finalist in the 2020 International Soca Monarch.
Some of his popular releases also include ‘WhatsApp’, ‘Touch Down Ouu’, ‘Fed Up of Meh Ex’, ‘I Love Venezuela, I Love Trinidad’, and more.
After releasing one of the most controversial hits of 2019 ‘Gunman in Yuh Hole’, this Trinidadian Dancehall artiste then brought the zess to soca as he had everyone chanting ‘Dyy Zess’ throughout the 2020 Trinidad and Tobago Carnival season after releasing his ‘Power in Soca’ single. Yes, we’re speaking about Kern Joseph aka ‘Mr. Trinidad Killa’ himself.
He won over fans with his energetic persona and his no-bullshit approach to speaking his truth and standing by it. His racy song topics also seem to spark a connection with his fans. Some of his popular singles also include ‘Ms. Corona’, ‘Ru Kung Ku Tung Tung’, ‘Good Morning Badmind’ and more.
Up next, we feature one of the newest on the scene who just happens to presently have one of the biggest dancehall releases in 2020. He hails from Belmont, Port of Spain, and goes by the stage name ‘K-Lion’.
With one of the most unique sounds in dancehall music, his vocals and lyrical prowess already sets him apart. The ‘Malandros’ singer impressive catalog of hits makes him a fan favorite whenever he performs. Speaking of his catalog, some of his favorite releases include ‘Safe’, ‘Private Zess’, ‘Rise Up’, ‘One Link’, and more.
Additionally, 2020 has already proven to be a major year for this growing community as for the first time ever, Dancehall music made its way to the International Soca Monarch stage program during their official ‘Zesser Segment’ which featured many of the top local acts including Prince Swanny, K-Lion, Rebel Sixx, Jahllano, Medz Boss and many more.
And the Zesser movement hasn’t stopped with just music. Have you seen the new Zesser movie that was released earlier this year? Yes, I said movie and it also stars some of your favorite Trinidad Dancehall artists.
Jab Jab, the mass of the downtrodden, the music of the simple man has now ascended into prominence and respectability on the carnival scene. Jab has been around since the origin of carnival, Jab Molassie in Trinidad and Jab Jab in Grenada.
With the likes of new soca superstar Nailah Blackman gaining international recognition with her unique sound, and music lovers struggling to coin new names to describe this modern era of the soca genre, the global demand for the new continues to increase
Mical also holds the ‘Eyeslam Superstar’ title for his single ‘Proud’ released in 2017. As a producer, his impressive credits include the ‘Want Riddim’ which features Patrice Roberts and Olatunji, and also produced and co-wrote the single ‘Bodyline’
Hashtags: #TheZessermovement #ZessMusic #TrinidadDancehall #Dancehallmusic #PrinceSwanny #TrinidadGhost #TrinidadKilla #KLionMusic #TrinidadandTobago
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