The artiste made the stunning claim on his social media as he boasted about having a Billboard album off his own merits, and he has gotten major backlash as fans and music industry insiders correct him on learning about dancehall history.
“PS: I got a billboard album by ma self,” he wrote on his Instagram Story before addeding, “And the biggest song in dancehall since 2005. Big song and bad song different.”
A year ago, no one knew who Byron Messia was. He was supported by mainly Trinidadian artists who adopted Dancehall and created a version of music called Trinibad. The Jamaican-born artist grew up in St. Kitts and Nevis and credit Trinidadian artist Prince Swanny as one of his earliest supporters in the music space. Messia later linked with Jamaicans, who helped to make the song popular, and it exploded in the Jamaican/Caribbean diaspora. Despite his claims of a dancehall album, most dancehall fans only know of the song “Talibans,” which has been remixed by Burna Boy and a pending version with Chris Brown. The song was also recorded over an Afrobeats beat, but was listed under the reggae/dancehall genre.
The statement made by Byron Messia has rubbed many dancehall fans the wrong way, and manages to upset some Jamaican producers who questioned the metrics used to arrive at his conclusion since dancehall has done anything but decline over the last decade.
Artists like Vybz Kartel, Beenie Man, Bounty Killer, Elephant Man, Sean Paul, Charly Black, Konshens, Shaggy and Spice, and many others, along with younger artists like Shenseea and Skillibeng have dominated the 2005-2020 decade and beyond.
Dancehall producers criticized Byron Messia
In a post by Questimes, “Romping Shop” producer Ainsley’ NotNice’ Morris wrote, “Taliban a not even dancehall kmt.” He added in another comment, “A long time mi nuh see nuttin weh bex mi suh.”
Konshens, who released “Bruk Off Yuh Back” in 2018 and later a collab with Chris Brown, posted a face palm emoji.
A fan joined Konshens’ comment, writing, “@konshens u think he has never heard Bruk off you back, @charlytrelawnyblack party animal @originalkoffee toast, @vybzkartel fever, @busysignal_turf watch out fi this this Ute nu reach no where to rass an inna chartings.”
The consensus was that the statement was inaccurate and misleading as commenters referenced songs that have experienced significant success more than “Talibans” and which continue to be recognized globally while also transforming the artiste’s careers.
These songs include Kartel’s “Clarks,” “Fever,” and “Ramping Shop,” Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh,” OMI’s “Cheerleader,” Kranium’s “Nobody Has To Know,” Sean Paul’s “She Doesn’t Mind,” and “No Lie” with Dua Lipa among many other big dancehall songs were released since 2005 which have been recognized with more than just a Billboard plaque or placement. Songs like Koffe’s “Toast,” was featured on her Grammy-winning EP ‘Rapture’ and was so influential it was even featured on former President Barack Obama’s coveted summer playlist.
“Clarks” producer Shaun ‘ZJ Chrome’ Chablal told Urban Islandz that he disagreed with the statement as he named several songs far bigger than “Talibans.”
“Big up to Byron, that’s his own opinion. It’s fine if that’s the biggest song to him, cool you know what I mean but I definitely don’t agree with that. There are multiple other big songs to make note and [which] are still big songs today namely “Fever” (Kartel), “Hold Yuh” (Gyptian), “Clarks” (Kartel), and more recently you have “Crocodile Teeth” & Whap Whap” (Skillibeng) you know and so I definitely disagree with him. He has a good trending song and it trended for the moment and it’s good but I don’t agree with that statement,” DJ Chrome said.
Veteran producer Sean ‘Contractor’ Edwards, in an invited comment, also noted that the artist’s conclusion was way off.
“Byron Messa Talibans song is definitely a big dancehall song of 2023, but I would definitely like to know what he uses to define Talibans being the biggest song since 2005 and where is it the biggest. No one can deny that the song has done extremely well on the UK singles charts as well as the Billboard charts and even better with the Burna Boy remix. However, in terms of its impact in Jamaica this year, Talibans runs 2nd or 3rd Teejay’s Drift and Valiant’s Mad Out. Also, when he performed it on the Chris Brown show it did not have the impact it should have for being the biggest song,” Edwards said.
Grammy-winning producer Teflon Zinc Fence, who has worked with artistes like Capleton, Koffee, and Chronixx, also chided the artiste.
“Bryon don’t let hype and money get to your head, do your research and come back. When it bigger than toast you call me but for now. Relax check the numbers. Fame is a Rass drug,” he wrote in a comment.
Producer Ron André Elvis Telford, who worked on Koffee’s Grammy-winning Rapture and Beyonce’s Renaissance album, wrote, “Lol he forgot about Party Animal or Toast.”
Producer and DJ Kurt Riley was more balanced in his assessment of Messia’s statement, writing that “the artist has his reason and opinion, we have to respect it,” but he schooled him on the distinction of having a popular song versus a song that endures time.
“His song is popular in the Caribbean diaspora, and we can’t [deny] that. But outside of the diaspora, that is another question. Is the song being played on 500 mainstream radio station across the globe? Is his song getting placements? Are other artists outside of dancehall singing his song in [their] set? Please, I’m not fighting, just sharing my view. There is a HUGE difference between, big song, popular song and a hit song. A big song is in its own space and mind, a popular song is when most ppl know it but it’s being played on radio and everywhere,” he added.
The producer continued, “A hit song is when another artist puts your song in his set plus it has made its way on charts and so on. This means that particular song has global appeal across cultures making it “a crossover record”. As a side note, I’ve witnessed Valiant drop Mad Out and rub out Taliban at all major events here in Jamaica this summer. Byron has a good team, and image and ppl love to see him. We all should support him and buy his songs online so he can achieve RIAA certification. We can make this happen in less than 2 months. 500,000 units give him gold. 1,000,000 gives him Platinum. 2 mill+ units is multi-platinum and 10 mil units gives him diamond. Shenseea went gold with “Pure Souls”. Charly Black went gold with “Party Animal”. I think Sean Paul went gold 7 times,” Riley educated Messia and commenters.
Footahype also chimed in, “Glad u memba,” after a fan reminded others of what he said about the artiste and producer.
“That’s why mi affi love @footahypestr8 because when dem ask if him nuh hear d big song him seh him nah run wid it and give it no push and then guh hear seh a next artist from another country have the biggest song inna dancehall and seet deh to ra*s this bwoy all ready fi hype,” one person commented.
In the meantime, fans also commented on the entire fiasco.
“He was told the last song that entered the top 10 on the Official UK Single Charts was in 2005 which was “We Be Burning” by Sean Paul. Tablians ft Burna Boy made the top 15. He cannot use UK single charts to judge the height of a song. Talibans is not the biggest song since 2005 and could never be. For example: Ramping Shop Shop is listed amongst Pitchfork’s Top 50 dancehall songs of all times, almost every dancehall lover knows that song. So biggest song since what?” one person commented.
“Man a disrespect every dancehall artist just by posting that. You can believe Ina yuh self and humble at the same time,” another said.
“Bro even crocodile teeth bigger dan Talibans! Chill Byron.”
Another warned him that Jamaicans were upset. “Definitely his first and last hit saying sh* like this,” he said. “Fever a di biggest song inna dancehall since 2010 not to mention Clark’s,” another said. One joked, “Suh elephant Man a nuh artist again? Him a footballer?”