Adidja Palmer (born January 7, 1976), better known as Vybz Kartel, is a Jamaican dancehall artist, songwriter and businessman. He has many nicknames, including Addi Teacher and Gaza Emperor.
Adidja Palmer began his career as a teenager in 1993 with his first recording "Love Fat Woman", released on Alvin Reid's label "One Heart", using the moniker "Adi Banton", a homage to Buju Banton. Palmer was later part of the three-member group "Vybez Cartel", keeping the slightly altered name after group split up, and became a protege of Bounty Killer, for whom he claims to have written nearly 30 songs, including "Gal Clown".Vybz kartel also collaborated with underground artist Poizn Ivy song title "Come Lick Mi Buddy".
Vybz Kartel rose to prominence in 2003 after a string of hits in Jamaica. The year culminated in a pre-planned on-stage clash with Ninjaman at the annual dancehall festival Sting in Kartel's hometown of Portmore. The clash turned violent when Kartel's crewmembers, as well as Kartel himself, threw punches and assaulted Ninjaman onstage.
While Kartel's manager initially blamed Ninjaman for the fracas, Kartel himself quickly apologised to Ninjaman and Sting organizers for the fracas. Four days after the incident, the two artists appeared before the press to announce a settlement of their differences and to end any animosity.
He established his own label Adidjahiem/Notnice Records with his business partner and producer Ainsley "Notnice" Morris. In 2010, he released his album Pon Di Gaza 2.0 on Adidjahiem/Notnice Records in collaboration with Tads Record Inc. In Spring 2011, Vybz Kartel released an album entitled 'Kingston Story' with Brooklyn Hip Hop/Electro producer Dre Skull.
Kartel has worked on collaborations and remixes with Hip Hop and R&B musicians Jay-Z, Rihanna, Missy Elliot, Busta Rhymes, M.I.A, Pharrell, Kardinal Offishal, Akon, Jim Jones, Lil Wayne and Eminem.
In 2009 he had two international hits with “Ramping Shop” debuting on the Billboard Top 100 Singles charts, and “Dollar Sign” being in regular rotation on urban radio stations in the US. His 2010 single "Clarks" was one of his biggest international successes, remaining in the top 3 Reggae Singles gaining the most radio plays in North America for 40 weeks.
"Clarks" was also featured on the TV series So You Think You Can Dance Canada, and on a CNN segment on Dancehall dance. MTV's Vice Guide to Dancehall featured Kartel at his weekly dance party, Street Vybz Thursday.
After splitting with Bounty Killer-led Alliance in 2006, Kartel founded the Portmore Empire, a group of Dancehall deejays and singers from his Portmore neighborhood that he signed to his newly founded Adidjahiem/Notnice Records. Current members of the group are: Popcaan, Shawn Storm, Sheba, Indu, Tommy Lee, Singing Maxwell, Singa Blinga, Lenny Mattic. Former members include Lisa Hype, Gaza Kim, Black Ryno, Jah Vinci, Deejay Spice, Doza Medicine and Merital.
Towards the end of 2006, Vybz Kartel left the Alliance. Tensions arose following Kartel's continued association with Bounty Killer's longtime enemy, Beenie Man, including Kartel attending Beenie Man's wedding to Bounty Killer's ex-girlfriend, D'Angel. Vybz Kartel cited his departure as being due to his desire to be a more independent artist.
It was reported that Vybz and Bounty Killer performed together ahead of the annual Sting show. Due to Kartel's defection from the Alliance and his 'parring' (fraternising) with Beenie Man, a series of songs and counteraction songs ensued - the main proponents being Kartel and Mavado.
A very public feud between Vybz Kartel and former collaborator Mavado arose towards the end of 2006, stemming from Vybz' much publicized departure from the dancehall conglomerate group, The Alliance. The feud resulted in numerous diss-tracks released, in which each artist dissed the other and their associates over popular dancehall rhythms. In a police-overseen press conference in March 2007, both Mavado and Vybz Kartel publicly announced an end to hostilities and apologized to fans.
However, by the summer of 2008, tensions flared with a renewal of "diss tracks" from each artist, and a lyrical clash between the two at Sting 2008 left mixed views as to the "winner". Most of 2009 saw a continuation of the public feud, which dominated Jamaican media and, to a certain extent, Jamaican culture, with the two artists' factions, Gaza (Kartel) and Gully (Mavado), being adopted by Jamaican youth, in some cases leading to street violence.
On December 8, 2009, Kartel and Mavado met with Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding in an attempt to end the feud, which had by that time fueled mob attacks in some of the inner-city neighborhoods of Kingston. The two had performed together on-stage the previous night in a sign of goodwill at the West Kingston Jamboree, a concert promoted by drug lord Christopher "Dudus" Coke.After the truce in December 2009, the two artists were scheduled to perform a unity concert March 2010 in Barbados, which was later cancelled by the prime minister of that country.
Kartel has had several collaborations with international hip hop and pop stars. He has released two albums for the UK/US based label Greensleeves Records. He was also nominated for the Source, VIBE and UK MOBO awards, although his 2004 UK MOBO award nomination was withdrawn amidst controversy over allegedly homophobic content of his lyrics.