Justice is as capricious as a rebellious teen, defying expectations because it can. Last week, largely unheralded Jamaican music pioneer Desmond Dekker died of a heart attack, news accompanied by the announcement of Paris Hilton's forthcoming reggae single.
The irony of this rich, talentless, raccoon-eyed tramp singing a style of music defined by oppression and the hope of redemption defies expression. Dekker certainly never benefited from a silver spoon. Orphaned as a teenager, he worked as a welder -- alongside future contemporary Bob Marley.
After a string of regional ska hits in the early '60s, Dekker adopted the then new "rock steady" sound, giving voice to the rude boys and the growing social unrest in Kingston's slums. In sound and content, it presaged reggae, while his 1969 international hit, "Israelites," opened the airwaves for artists such as Marley, Peter Tosh, and Jimmy Cliff. Still a popular live act, Dekker was due for a critical reevaluation, but died on the eve of a big summer tour at the age of 64.
Meanwhile, the Hilton heiress, who's never worked a day in her life (a premise prepping for a fourth season, though the rubbernecking joy ran out long ago), readies the release of her first single, a reggae tune titled "Stars Are Blind." Hilton says of the forthcoming album -- which will also include hip-hop, pop, and rock -- "I want to have something for everyone." (No, she wasn't talking about an STD.)
Hilton's about as multicultural as a Fendi purse. Nicole Ritchie is undoubtedly making an album of dancehall toasting as we speak.