Trouble seems to follow dancehall DJ Vybz Kartel ever since he split from Bounty Killer’s Alliance crew to form his own Portmore Empire posse. Now comes word that his car may have been suspiciously torched. The artist maintains that his vehicle had electrical problems that may caused the fire. Police are investigating the possibility of foul play, particularly since Vybz has been in a verbal sparring with the Alliance-endorsed artist Mavado.

As mentioned in last week’s PDW column, Spragga Benz (Carlton Brown) suffered an immeasurable loss when his son, 17-year old Carlton Brown Jr., was shot and killed by Kingston police after an alleged gun battle. Benz spoke to the press upon arriving in Jamaica last week and said that he’s requested three independent pathologists to examine his son’s body when the police conduct their postmortem.

Rumors are flying that venerable reggae label VP may close its flagship Kingston office. The label, which was founded more than 25 years ago, when Randy’s Records opened at 17 North Parade Road in downtown Kingston, maintains offices in New York. This year, VP bought rival U.K. label Greensleeves and is said to have made layoffs since the acquisition.

Skatalites trumpeter and founding member, Johnny “Dizzy” Moore, who died August 16, will be remembered 11 a.m. on Saturday, September 6 at the Ethiopian Orthodox Church in Kingston.

Reggae superstar Shaggy, a former U.S. marine, is publicly backing Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama. The Shagsman told, “[Obama] gets you charged up to do something and he’s a symbol of hope. I doubt he’ll change the world, but he may just provide us with the motivation.”

The massive Irie Jamboree concert in New York this past weekend, which included the first U.S. appearance of Mavado in months, was reportedly a big success. Sizzla, Tarrus Riley, Beenie Man, Elephant Man, Coco Tea, and Admiral Bailey all rocked the capacity crowd, and newcomers Demarco and Konshens were also well received. No word yet on the alleged fight that broke out during Mavado’s set.

Dancehall and safe sex seem to go together. So, it was really no surprise to hear the announcement of Vybz Kartel’s new “Daggering” condom brand. “Daggering” is also the name of Mr. Vegas’ latest soca-dancehall club hit.

On the new riddims tip: F.R.E.E. Entertainment/Bambino Muzik’s Warhead features new singles from Vybz, Wasp, and Leftside, to name a few. France’s Irie Ites label is back with the one-drop Only Solution riddim, featuring Jah Mason, Chezidek, and Lutan Fyah. George Nooks, Kashief Lindo, and Glen Washinton have a sweet remake of Alton Ellis’s Can I Change My Mind riddim on Jah Ruby.

U.K. Dancehall Charts
1. Mavado “So Special” (TJ)
2. Mavado “I’m On The Rock” (Baby G)
3. Stephen and Damian Marley “The Mission” (Tuff Gong/Ghetto Youths/VP)
4. Assassin “Guide & Protect” (TJ)
5. Mavado “Money Changer” (Juke Boxx)
6. Busy Signal “Tic Toc” (VP)
7. Mr Vegas “Mus Come A Road” (Delicious Vinyl)
8. Dwayne Stephenson “August Town” (VP)
9. Etana “I’m Not Afraid” (VP)
10. Vybz Kartel “Fatter Den Da Pound” (Open Ear)

Pictured: Shaggy.