Before They Were Stars with Macka Diamond

Posted: December 14, 2011 in HOME

Macka Diamond real name Charmaine Munroe

Prior to emerging as one of Jamaica’s most accomplished female deejays, Macka Diamond developed fervour for music as she envisioned becoming a prominent Dancehall artiste. That long-standing desire for stardom has helped her elevate to a highly-acclaimed status that few artistes can reach, much less, maintain.

Macka Diamond was born Charmaine Munroe in Kingston. Growing up in Portmore, she later attended Holy Childhood High School where her dreams of becoming a star musical began evolving. Often, Munroe would skip class to practice her deejaying skills at the back of the school.

However, Munroe’s musical roots can be traced back to her family traits as her father, Philip, was a long-time producer who worked with legendary Reggae superstar, Gregory Isaacs. Additionally, she was an avid listener of Sister Nancy (aka Mama Nancy), one of Jamaica’s first ever female deejays. All things considered, Munroe elected not to attend sixth form at Holy Childhood in 1987, as she elected to pursue her career.

Munroe, through a friend, introduced herself to another foundation female deejay, Lady Junie, in an attempt to showcase her skills. Whilst performing for Junie, the veteran deejay too note of Munroe’s beaming potential; making Munroe her new protégé.

Under Lady Junie’s tutelage, Munroe met several industry players while perfecting her musical craft. Munroe initially dubbed herself, Lady Charm; recording her debut single, Don Girl which was a counteraction for a song by Dancehall veteran, Major Mackerel. The song’s producer told Munroe that it was released under the moniker, Lady Mackerel. Though upset by that development, Munroe went along with the stage name and her debut single became a hit amongst Dancehall observers. The song paved a way for Munroe as she later landed recording session with veteran deejays, Captain Barkey and Wicker Man.

Developing her lyrical dexterity while out growing her moniker, Munroe transitioned from Lady Mackerel to Macka Diamond in 2003. That year, Macka Diamond scored her first mainstream success with the hit single, Tek Con, a well-received counteraction to Vybz Kartel’s controversial single, Tek Buddy. The song earned constant airplay locally, showcasing an aggressive lyrical delivery with strong sex appeal. In keeping up with her aggressive persona, Macka Diamond took on fellow emerging female star, Queen Paula in a heated lyrical clash at STING 2003.

The following year, Macka sought to show her range; releasing singles such as Hotness, Pickney Nah Wear and The Right Stuff. Additionally, she created the popular catch phrase, Money-O; never more evident than her performance at Reggae Sumfest 2004 when she wore a dress laminated with several dollar bills. However, Macka Diamond’s highlight came when she unveiled her second major hit, Done Already which once again proved that her thought-provoking lyrics elicited intriguing responses.

After 2005 produced singles from Macka Diamond including A That Nah Go Work as well as Lexus and Benz, 2006 saw the emerging deejay rise from interesting newcomer to elite status amongst her fellow female artistes by unleashing the popular dance song, Hula Hoop that became a sweeping sensation across sessions and charts locally; earning her first #1 single in the process. As if that didn’t solidify her budding status enough, Macka released a controversial, yet female-empowering single entitled, Bun Him alongside Black-er. Both singles helped Macka Diamond gain traction on an international level as some Dancehall observers weren’t hesitant to brand as the new-age version of highly-acclaimed Dancehall superstar, Lady Saw.

2007 witnessed Macka Diamond’s continued growth as she released the “bad gyal” single, Don’t Move along with the effort, Hot Gal. As the calendar turned to 2008, Macka Diamond once again dominated the local charts with hot singles such as the dance-influenced, Dandy Shandy as well as another hardcore tune, Robbery. Furthermore, the deejay continued to assert herself on the Dancehall scene with efforts such as Laptop, Tight Like a Virgin and Hide alongside fellow female star deejay, D’Angel. Meanwhile, Macka Diamond showed that she could also become a success within the soca genre as she released the song, Groovy Soca while performing alongside soca songstress, Patrice Roberts.

In 2009, Macka scored successful collaborative efforts; particularly her single alongside dancer/deejay and friend, Unicorn dubbed Think Bout Mi. The racy single tested boundaries but triggered its desired effect, with the accompanying video charting well locally. Additionally, she joined forces with selector turned deejay, Tony Matterhorn, for the single, Fantasy.

2010 saw Macka Diamond fallout with Unicorn but rose up with song such as Hot Like Wi and the Stephen “Di Genius” McGregor produced song, Don’t Talk To Mi. On the contrary, Macka Diamond’s most recognizable effort was the song, Too Much Bull, a hard-hitting single aimed at disc jocks and radio stations who opted to seldom play projects issued by female acts. The song featured fellow, prominent female personalities such as ZIP jock, ZJ Sparks and well-renowned dancer/artiste, Mystic Davis amongst several others in an attempt to show that females were far from intimated by a male-dominated music industry. Their effort earned a strong reception amongst their peers and across radio stations locally and overseas.

In the Spring of 2011, Macka Diamond once again showed diversity in her lyrical content as she unveiled the catchy dance single, Cowfoot. The song raised her popularity level a few more notches as it once again charted well locally and internationally while building a dance craze that quickly resonated across events nationwide. However, Cowfoot triggered a somewhat unusual beef with former Magnum Kings & Queens of Dancehall fan favourite, Tanto Blacks, who claimed Macka stole his dance routine; igniting a lyrical war between the deejays.

Along with controversy came an element of misfortune as the deejay found herself the victim of a robbery outside the Louise Bennett Theatre in August 2011 while performing inside the premises. Though several valuables, including travel documents were stolen from her, Macka Diamond refused to allow this setback to keep her down. She’s since released another international hit single, Wine which premiered via American media and has released her new album overseas, entitled, Don’t Disturb Mi, the follow-up to her 2006 debut album, Money-O.

Macka Diamond’s essence within Dancehall music spans two decades and resonates with a continually growing fan base that looks up to her as one of the mainstays with the genre. As she continues to evolve, Macka Diamond’s reputation as a Dancehall superstar seemingly will go unperturbed.


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