The Month's Goings-On In Dancehall and Reggae...
Condolences to the family and friends of CAPTAIN BARKEY and TRACEY BENNETT. The dancehall artist who gave us hits like "Go Go Wine" was killed in the Bronx on October 14th along with his girlfriend Tracy Bennett, who came from a musical family in Jamaica—her relatives include Lorna Bennett, who sang the classic 'Breakfast in Bed', the dancehall artist Protoje, and producer Don Corleone. The shooting was allegedly committed by Tracey's jealous ex-boyfriend. This tragic incident is sad beyond words.
MR VEGAS has also been going through a painful episode, which he shared with all his Facebook friends. Apparently he caught the mother of his baby daughter messing around with another man and Vegas decided to share his accusations via social media. Of course the blogs and radio waves were buzzing with all the gossip and scandal. Sad as it was to see the pair going through so much pain, the bright side is that Vegas poured his feelings into some great new songs: 'Rise Again' and 'Bare Tingz'.
Meanwhile celebration is in the air for BUSY SIGNAL as a judge ruled that the DJ is due to be released in November after serving six months behind bars for absconding bail long before he became a recording artist. Busy's manager Shane Brown of JukeBoxx records gave the credit to attorney Bill Mauzy for showing the court all the good that Busy has done with himself since his arrest on drugs charges over 10 years ago. Nice to hear some good news—maybe now Busy will get a chance to promote his big collaboration with No Doubt, 'Push and Shove'.
As TOMMY LEE is holding the fort for the Gaza crew it's no surprise that him and the Warlord have been locking horns. BOUNTY KILLER and KIPRICH released a dis track called 'War Fi God' and Tommy Lee responded with a track of his own called 'Goat Head'. Looks like these two will have to settle this onstage at this years Sting in Kingston (December 26th). Let's just hope these two can settle their differences in a lyrical conflict as opposed to a physical one.
From backing Bob Marley as one of the I Threes to teaching the world how to do the 'Electric Slide', MARCIA GRIFFITHS has done it all. It's been a minute since she got her start as a teenager singing with Bob Andy back at Studio One, but Marcia can still hold her own with the young boys in the studio. If you need proof just check out "Marcia Griffiths & Friends," the new double CD produced by Penthouse and distributed by V.P. Records. Marcia teams up with everybody from Busy Signal and Buju Banton to Gentleman and Beres Hammond. And let's not forget her duets with Lady G and Tanya Stephens. No matter who she's singing with you can always bet that Marcia will always look just as A-mazing as she sounds—which is to say supa dupa fly. It's a girl thing, innit?
It's been a long time coming, but STEPHEN MARLEY is finally getting close to releasing his long awaited Revelation Part 2: The Fruit of Life. RGAT was in the lab with Stephen in Miami last year while he was working on his latest masterpiece, which picks up where 'Revelation Part 1: The Root of Life' left off. "The timeline is now," he recently told Rolling Stone, and revealed that the new album will feature Wyclef, Black Thought from The Roots, and Rakim. But based on what we heard in the studio, fans still have a few more treats in store. Stay tuned for a full interview.
The weather may be getting chilly but it's been a Heatwave affair this month for sure. The UK bashment sound presented LADY CHANN's latest mixtape, Dun Dem Season: The Trilogy. Volume three of her Dun Dem series is a tasty blend of up-to-date dancehall and hip-hop tracks, including guest appearances by Glamma Kid, Gappy and Lemar. Chann mashed up the dance floor during the launch party at the Heatwave's Hot Wuk night in London. The whole thing was very Nang. Lets just say the girl knows how to murder some lyrics! Check out HERE. The 'Star Gyal' keeping it extra British real (if that's even a saying!)'
'At any given time you always talking that you want me now...blah blah blah blah I don't want to hear your talk talk talk'' Listen HERE.
Also from the HEATWAVE this month was a new remix—RDX & friends on the "Jump" refix. The boys put this together during a recent boat trip in Croatia and of course they were inspired by the girls! Heatwave's selector GABRIEL chats tunes and how they do things on the dancefloor HERE.
AIDONIA must have something about feet. He's gone from ''bend over and touch your toe ring'' on the smash hit 'Tan Tuddy' to his latest track, a sexy number called "Tip Pon Yuh Toe." Whatever takes your fancy—each to their own—but Didi sure is inspiring his listeners to do some new moves. In keeping with the foot theme, the queen of the dancehall's latest release, 'Heels On' is another x-rated classic. Mixed by the TRUCK BACK team the song might be a smooth slow burner but pay attention to the lyrics if you want to learn how to get down between the sheets. Muma SAW is giving away some good tips. Seems like MAVADO and Di GENIUS are on a roll lately. Just as 'Disrespect' drops on the 'Face Off' riddim Stephen blasts out an even madder tune called 'This Morning (F*ck Gal & Bus Gun)'. The title alone is crazy but wait until you hear the tune. I'm still trying to figure out what one thing has to do with the other. Guess it must be a starbwoy thing.
The Outlaw JOSEY WALES teams up with UK singing sensation BITTY McLEAN for a blazing new reality tune called 'Running Over'. The song was produced by SLY & ROBBIE and the Taxi gang, so you already know it's well put together. And the way Bitty's singing on this track, you best believe the "wicked ago feel it."
Does STEPHEN McGREGOR ever take a break? The man never stops—guess that's why they call him Di Genius. Just like clockwork he dropped another hot juggling this month. The 'Face Off" riddim brings together the usual suspects—Chino, Laden, Stephen himself, and Elephant man. One of my faves is Sean Paul's 'Tallest''—DuttyPaul is the "professor in the bedroom" here. Meanwhile Mavado's voicing lets everybody know that you might get "clap up on your head" if you disrespect the Gully Gad.
The Green Lion crew is about to drop the 'More Spiritual riddim', featuring cuts by MILLION STYLEZ, YT, and two tunes from UK dancehall artist MR WILLIAMZ. You might be familiar with the fact that he 'Runs England' right now, but his second track on the riddim is dedicated to the 'Herbzman' all over town. No matter what the subject, Mr. Williamz has got a fresh foundation style of chatting on the mic that's going to keep him in rotation for years to come. RGAT got to kick it with him in London this month just before he sets off to India—he spilled about his 'favourite hobby' and let us know what girls in what countries know how to "siddown steady" (Interview to follow).
Mr Williamz is not the only dancehall act that will be performing in India this November. In timing with the festival of Light SEAN PAUL will be hitting the stage in cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore & Pune - for info & tickets visit: http://www.kyazoonga.com/Events/SeanPaul_India_Tour_2012/441/1#
And In Europe Poland hosts the One Love Sound festival on the 17th . Headlining acts this year include Max Romeo and Mr Vegas get tickets here.
BERES HAMMOND & Friends were in town, and RGAT had the privilege of catching up with them during the London stop of his UK tour at Wembley Arena. Beres drops his new double disc 'One Love, One Life' November 16th – its a combo of Love and Reality tracks. The show was called Beres & Friends and this time around reggae's #1 Soul Man brought ROMAIN VIRGO and TARRUS RILEY along for the ride. It was Romain's first time performing in the UK and even though Tarrus Riley is a big artist in his own right, both he and Romain said they were awestruck to be sharing the stage with the legendary Beres Hammond.
"This is dreams coming true," Tarrus told me (Interview to follow.) It's always an emotional rollercoaster watching Beres perform – the tunes always hit straight to the heart. He let me know that London holds a special place in his heart and judging by all the love he was getting back from the crowd the feeling is definitely mutual. See ya next month!
Words by Reshma B