Vybz Kartel (born Adidja Palmer), 35, is arguably Jamaica’s most popular dancehall reggae artist but his greatest skill may be his ability for spinning his controversy-fueled stardom into several prosperous businesses including a rum brand, a line of footwear and even condoms. But can Vybz Kartel business empire survive without the guidance of his highly regarded business partner, Corey Todd? On May 23rd, Mr Todd, an American living in Kingston (Jamaica), and partner in Kartel’s “Unlimited Daggering”, which owns and distributes Street Vybz Rum (which earns approximately up to 2% of Jamaica’s $65 million annual rum sales), announced the demise of their three-year old association. Mr Todd alleged that Kartel threatened his life.
According to Billboard magazine, Kartel said their split stemmed from “irreconcilable differences,” adding, “Vybz Kartel will not be associated with the Street Vybz Rum brand and Todd cannot use my image for anything.” However, lawyers representing each party are currently negotiating a settlement of Unlimited Daggering’s assets, which includes the Kingston nightclub “The Building”.
Furthermore, Kartel plans to introduce another rum beverage in July 2011 with Dennis Gordon, his partner in “Vybz Cake Soap”. ”Di Teacha” Kartel employs roughly 30 people through his assorted Gaza enterprises, which include a forthcoming Vybz Wear line of self-designed tees, belt buckles, and dog tags, and shoes. The Vybz Kartel brand is generating revenue, paying taxes and showing corporate Jamaica that dancehall is a viable economic force.
Kartel will star in his own reality dating show, Teacha’s Pet, on Jamaica’s CVM TV network in September, sponsored by Jamaica’s telecommunications giant Lime and renowned beer brand Red Stripe Bold.