Two months before the 27th anniversary of the death of his elder brother Dirtsman, veteran dancehall deejay Papa San has paid tribute to the Hot This Year singer who fell victim to gun violence in 1993.
“Love my big bro dirts man,” he wrote on his Instagram page, under an early 1990s photo of himself and Dirtsman, bumping fists while sporting huge gold chains known as ‘cargo’ in those days.
Papa San’s son BEAM, who is a recording artiste and music producer, also showed solidarity to his father in reminiscing on the loss of his uncle who died just over two years before he was born.
“Love and Miss you daddy!” Beam wrote before adding: “RIP Dirt.”
Papa San then wrote words of endearment to his BEAM who he affectionately calls Ty-Ty, short for his first name Tyshane. “Miss you too my son ty beam love you,” he noted, and then added: “See you soon Ty beam God bless you.”
Dirtsman, whose given name was Patrick Thompson, was gunned down on December 21, 1993 by four assailants on his verandah in Spanish Town, St. Catherine. He was 27 years old at the time.
For months following his death, a distraught Papa San, born Tyrone Thompson, pleaded to witnesses to come forward with any leads they had in relation to the murder. He even offered a monetary reward, but no information was forthcoming.
The elder Thompson had been recording since the mid-1980s. His biggest hits were Thank You, which was produced by Steely and Clevie in 1989 and Hot This Year, produced by Bobby Digital in 1991.
As boys, Papa San was nicknamed “Sand” and his brother given the name “Dirt” which led to the incorporation of the two names into their Dancehall monikers. Papa San who was the more successful of the brothers, was one of the hottest artistes of the late 80s and early 90s.
Now 54-years-old, Papa San started out on the music scene performing on sound systems such as Black Scorpio and Creation as a youth in the late 1970s.
His breakout song was I Will Survive which sampled American singer Gloria Gaynor’s 1978 classic of the same. The song which was the hottest in Jamaica that year, stormed up the local charts and propelled him into a household name.
At least 17 of Papa San’s songs topped the local reggae/dancehall music charts, among them Animal Party, Style and Fashion, Strange, and Maddy, Maddy Cry and Dancehall Good to We. He also copped several awards for Deejay of the Year, Most Versatile Deejay, Best Dressed Deejay, and Best Video during his secular Dancehall heydays.
Papa San also recorded two huge hits Legal Rights and Round Table Talk with fellow deejay and close friend, Lady G. She has credited him with being one of the main persons who protected her as a woman in the male-dominated industry and within the dancehall space. Many people speculated that the two were dating, but their relationship was only musical with the ‘Animal Man’ treating her as his sister.
A slew of mishaps beset Papa San in the three years that followed the death of his brother. His sister was killed in a motorcycle accident, while cousin was killed by the police, and he himself had legal problems after being arrested on gun charges in 1994.
Papa San was baptized in 1999 and thereafter, started doing Dancehall and Reggae Gospel Music. He is now an ordained Pastor in Florida and his musical style remains authentically Dancehall and Reggae Gospel. Among his gospel albums are Victory, God and I, Journey, Real and Personal, and Higher Heights.