After 15 years struggling to bust into the dancehall scene, 2004 saw deejay Macka Diamond reach the number one spot in Jamaica. Riding the Thriller riddim, Diamond dropped the hilarious track “Done A’ Ready,” a scathing ode to one-minute men. Beside the hit being a great personal achievement, she was the first female artist in four years to get a Jamaican number one.
Delivered with the kind of lackadaisical assurance only a mature lady could pull off, the track was the antithesis to the raw slackness or sing-songy styles Jamaica’s other female deejays offer. “That tune bring me back to the people,” says Macka. “Women like to hear woman speak out about situations. If you can do that in entertaining way, you have them.”
Macka (Charmaine Monroe to her mum) has a dogged determination that has to be admired. She started her career in her teens (she’s now 30-something) as Lady Charm and did the rounds of Kingston’s notoriously tough studios. She teamed up with ghetto star Queen Paula until an irrevocable fight split the pair. She briefly became part of Captain Barky’s Worm Dem Crew before going solo and finding success with a counter tune to Major Mackeral’s King Tubby-released “Don Ban;” this led to a producer pressuring her to adopt the name Lady Mackeral. “I was always looking for the right formula,” says Macka, explaining her many guises. “When I was young I don’t think I was ready to do it on my own. I’ve been in it so long now nothing phases me and I can just be myself.”
2003 saw her announce another alias on “Tekk Con,” a response to Vybz Kartel’s “Tekk Buddy.” Kartel loved it and asked her to perform the track at his Up 2 Di Time album launch.With the majority of Jamaica’s musical movers and shakers present, Macka stole the show, her years of experience warming up the hostile crowd and upstaging Kartel’s stiff performance. It was this event that began Macka’s meteoric rise to fame and secured her first ever solo album deal with UK reggae imprint Greensleeves; dancehalls are now ringing out with young ladies hollering her catch phrase “Money-O.”
“Since ‘Tekk Con’ I’ve blown up,” whispers Macka in a feminine tone that contrasts sharply with her no-nonsense deejay style. “There isn’t a day when I not in studio, doing interviews or performing. It’s what me always want.”