About this Artist
Mack Diamond Charmaine Munroe was born in Kingston and grew up in Portmore. She attended Holy Childhood High School and even then her focus was more on becoming a deejay than on her. Her father, Phillip Munroe, is a record producer who not only worked with Gregory Isaacs but who was also friendly with Sly & Robbie and King Jammy’s and young Charmaine grew up surrounded by music. It was after hearing artists such as Sister Nancy (aka Mama Nancy), a female deejay trailblazer, that she decided she too was going to become a deejay. Unfortunately her mother did not share her dream but after she had emigrated to the USA the way was left open for Charmaine to head for stardom.
She asked a friend to show her where Lady Junie, another foundation female deejay, lived and she went round and introduced herself. Lady Junie was not slow to realise Charmaine’s potential and she began to take her protégé around and introduce her to some of the movers in the music business.
Charmaine had decided to call herself Lady Charm but after she had made her first record, an answer version to Major Mackerel’s ‘Don Ban’, the producer insisted it came out under the name of Lady Mackerel. Apparently Charmaine cried when she heard this but the producer was insistent and so she went along with it for she knew that her time would come and that she would eventually make it under her own terms. ‘Don Girl’ proved to be a hit and she went on to record for Sound System champions Stone Love, King Tubby’s Kingston 11 label and in various combinations including live work and recording with Captain Barkey and Wicker Man.
She never stopped working, developing her own individual style and stage persona, and she became a stalwart and dependable feature on Kingston’s dance hall scene building all the time towards her big break:
Charmaine decided that she had finally outgrown her Lady Mackerel epithet in 2003 and changed her name to Macka Diamond; along with the new name came a different, more aggressive lyrical approach. That year Vybz Kartel’s massive hit ‘Tek Buddy’ had put forward the theory that women were after pots and pans in return for sex so Macka Diamond came straight back with the answer tune ‘Tek Con’.
All Macka Diamond’s hard work finally paid off in the summer of 2004 when ‘Done A Ready’ topped the Jamaican charts. This was the first time a female had topped the charts in four years. Her unapologetic dig at men who failed to meet the required standard touched a nerve deep down with the female audience who had grown tired of dancehall’s relentless boastful machismo. Someone was telling a different side to the story: a side that was not usually mentioned in ‘polite company’. It touched a nerve with some of the island’s deejays too but Macka was more than able to deal with this:
Macka Diamond could never be described as an overnight sensation and her fifteen years of working non-stop in the hyped up environment of Kingston’s dance hall scene could be counted as enough experience to fill any number of lifetimes. Her measured delivery and unbridled humour cut across any hint of the shrillness of “a lady who protests too much” and by giving her legions of fans exactly what they want her popularity is sure to continue to grow:
After shocking out at the Sumfest 2k4 stage show where she appeared in a dress made of laminated high denomination dollar bills and with her ‘Money O’ catch phrase currently on everyone’s lips the future looks brighter still for Macka Diamond. After this mesmerizing performance, Macka cemented an endorsement deal with Wray & Nephew Rum cream to be their spokesperson for 2005 and it was subsequently renewed for 2006. Her long awaited debut album entitled, naturally enough, ‘Money-O’ delivered what had long been promised.
Macka Diamond is now set to take on the rest of the world… and if she can put the men of Jamaica in their place then she should have no problem at all in doing the same everywhere else!