Lappaleng: The Gully Boy

by Mar 25, 2024News

Lappaleng - The Gully Boy

Jamaican-born UK-based Karl Wallace is far more than what the naked eye can see. His story, which starts in the Gully, St. James, Jamaica, will tickle your fascination, make you cry with laughter, and wonder how he has escaped the sharks of life, to do music and a bubbling humanitarian.

For the next couple of days, Reggae Vibes will treat you to a three-part series that will make you want to hear all about Lappaleng and his music.

“They used to call me Gully Rat because I was small and swift but I was never the one to hunt food at night like rats. I would be the first to reach the Gully and play, especially when the Gully water runs off.”

“This Gully carries all kinds a things, like coconuts, which I didn’t eat because it was too dirty outside.”

“To me, this Gully was like a gold mine ’cause there were marbles settled at the bottom which I loved to play with my friends. Sometimes I found chains and rings, which I would wear even if these were too big.”

Then there were fish which I would catch and place in wide-mouth bottles. These I would feed with bread crumbs to make them get fat and big.”

Lappaleng explains that the Gully comes from upper Green Pond, St. James through Rose Mount, Albion, Canterbury, ending at the Dump Up Sea in that same parish.

“My father, David Wallace aka “Papa D”, would get worried whenever the Gully came down. This was mainly in the month of May when heavy rain fell. One would hear Dad calling so often, “Anybody see Karl! Anybody see Hippy!” because my hair was tall.”

“I would run out of the Gully as fast I could. Then he reminded me that being in the Gully so often was the reason my cold wasn’t getting better.”

“I later moved to a place called King Street. This was a much better community with concrete houses and built-in toilets.”

“My friends could see the changes in my life. I was black and cool, well dressed with so many girls wanting to be my friend, and I had what it takes to buy goodies for them.”

Lappaleng could do all this and more because his father was always working and putting his money to good use.

“Dad worked with the Government at Parish Council. He was also employed at the hotels. So, he was able to buy his land and built a six-bedroom two-story house.”

“My father loved women like most Jamaican men. I met and lived with three stepmothers. They treated me well except for one, who became my father’s wife. She beat me one day and my father, who had moved to live with her in Salt Spring, sent me back to live in King Street.”

“At 14, I was mature enough to look after myself, doing all my cleaning and cooking. My father gave me the service of a washer-woman and she did a good job.”

“I was going to Senior school, now St. James High. School was not my priority, but I loved mathematics which was my favourite subject. The reason was that I wanted to know how much money I had.”

“As to my favourite teacher, she was Ms. Buchanan; not fat or slender in build, but good enough to get intense stares from males, everywhere she goes. My teacher wore an Afro hairstyle, and knew how to control the class.”

“I wanted to be a mechanic; to learn about vehicles and to own my ride so I could pick up my father whenever I wanted to do so. I dreamt about foreign a lot, not to run away. Jamaica is too beautiful to do such a thing.”

“Music was always on my mind even if I did not talk much about it. I sometimes wonder if everyone around did not realize that today they would be listening to the same Gully Boy, now being Lappaleng, on their radio.”

(Photo & Video contributed)

Read more about: