Spragga Benz: Before The Music
This year, 2022, marks some thirty years since Spragga Benz – the last of seven children for his mother – popped out into the dancehall vineyard. He became an instant hit blossoming with songs like “Jack it Up” and “Girls Hooray”.
The deejay, born Carlton Grant, has passed through many twists and turns to reach stardom. From dubplate collector to co-star in “Shottas” and a lead role in “Second Chance” movies.
Starting today, Reggae-Vibes will give you exclusive stories in a seven-part series starting with Spragga Benz: Before The Music.
“Growing up in McIntyre Villa of Dunkirk, an east Kingston community, I was a no-nonsense person. I didn’t go around with a permanent screwface, or an unfriendly look, but you got to know about survival and this means serious and being street smart. I knew what mom and dad wanted me to become in life; someone they could be proud of in the future. So, passing my exam for Camperdown High School meant a lot to them.”
His parents got excellent scores for being caring and responsible, but Spragga wanted to be independent.
“I didn’t have this feeling that my parents should give me everything I wanted in life. Beyond the role of providing, say a comfortable place to live, lunch money, books and uniform, I saw other things I wanted, like a wallabee (Clarks) to wear whenever I was going to a school concert.”
“I didn’t go to mom or dad and say, I saw a nice pair of pants or shirt, that I would love to wear. I could also give them a surprise by having these things through hard work. All this, I felt was preparing me for adulthood. And, this had played out, even today, as I try going the extra mile in everything I do.”
Spragga did holiday jobs at several places.
“I worked at Grace Kennedy and Kingston bookshop. And, I had an uncle who had a welding shop. I would go there and work. I met a lot of people, mainly adults, who taught me a lot about life, like saving for rainy days and getting the best out of my life.”
Spragga Benz, unlike many students, graduated from Camperdown High School when he was only 15 years old.
“I entered high school when I was ten years old having five years to prepare for CXC examinations. I could have gone on to sixth form if I had wanted to do so.”
“I was fascinated about joining the army as a soldier or the police for two main reasons. These uniforms stood for authority, and I wanted to be in the position to promote discipline. I was also thinking about how best I could improve the image of the police force and reducing crime and violence.”
“Being a Commissioner of Police would be just great. I would be in a position to fight crime. So, I did the police test and passed with flying colours.”
“I was working at Tanners along Spanish Town Road and being a lover of football would play six-a-side football matches for the company.”
“I had a supervisor at Tanners who seems to get on my case. So, I just couldn’t take it any longer and told him what was on my mind. I had a feeling he wanted to get back at me. I was at the Police Academy, Twickenham Park for an interview to start training as a police officer. I happened to glance on a table next to me and saw a letter; it was from the same supervisor. So, I knew my dream was shattered.”
Be sure to read Part 2: Spragga Benz: Expelled from Maritime Institute.
(Photo below contributed by Spragga Benz)
Spragga Benz (extreme left), along with his mom and siblings