The monthly goings on in Reggae & Dancehall...
Of course February is REGGAE MONTH & as the month kicks off with two legendary artists’ birthdays - DENNIS BROWN on the 1st and BOB MARLEY on the 6th there are celebrations all over the world. You can check out your local listings here or hit up your local dancehall joint, whatever you do don’t sleep and let the good time pass you by.
One person who’s not celebrating right now is ANTHONY B, the Rasta dancehall artist was arrested last week in Atlanta and charged with possession & intent to distribute marijuana. The 'Fire Pon Rome' DJ could be facing a harsh penalty as the penalties for ganja in Georgia are very strict. According to his attorney, Anthony B was arrested while driving through the state of Georgia on a tour bus with his band. "The police had everyone exit the bus and proceeded to search the vehicle. During the search, a small amount of marijuana, less than 4 oz., and rolling paper was allegedly discovered among the belongings of three band members. These individuals acknowledged at the scene,ownership of the substance that was found. No illegal items were found on Anthony B or among his personal possessions and despite his protestations of his innocence the police nonetheless proceeded to arrest everyone in the bus."
Hopefully Anthony B will get off without any jail time as reggae really doesn’t need any more artists behind bars.
Speaking of which, VYBZ KARTEL is back on Twitter after over a year’s worth of inactivity. Not sure if the Worldboss has a computer in jail with him, but apparently the @IAmTheKartel account is being managed by Michael Dawson, the co-author of Kartel’s book, 'The Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto'. But when you read some of the tweets, they definitely sound like Di Teacha’s voice, like the one that says: “Many ‘big men’ in Jamaica don’t like Kartel becos their women need the Worl Boss music to get in the mood so them jealous of the gazayutedem.”
Ever since hip-hop O.G. SNOOP DOGG was reincarnated as reggae artist Snoop Lion, there has been a debate raging about whether he is really true to the Rasta culture that he shouts in his new music. Snoop has faced plenty of skeptics and critics but his defenders are quick to point out that one of the founding fathers of reggae, BUNNY WAILER, appeared to support Snoop's mission. In his documentary 'Reincarnated' Bunny & Snoop get together and burn a peace pipe at Bunny’s house—and Jah B even recorded a verse for Snoop's album. Everything seemed to be irie while the cameras were rolling but since then things have gone downhill. According to papers filed by Bunny Wailer's management, the Rasta icon has "Rejected" Snoop, claiming that Snoop has engaged in “outright fraudulent use of Rastafari Community’s personalities and symbolism” and that he has failed to meet “contractual, moral and verbal commitments.” Last we heard, Snoop was planning to head down to JA to reason with Jah B and try to sort it all out.
LADY SAW dropped the video for her sexy smash hit 'Heels On', which features Shaggy as her love interest - Mr. Lover Lover of course! The video was shot in and around Saw’s house in the hills above Kingston. During a break in shooting, Saw disclosed that although she talks about getting in some nine inches (heels that is) she couldn't manage that for the shoot—judging by the vid looks like she done just fine with 6. The song seems to be on everybody’s lips, both women & men apparently! Check out the behind the scenes footage from video shoot: "Let me love you with my heels on....."
RDX kicked off the year with 2 hot tunes—just as you finally learn all the words (& moves) to 'Turn Around' its all about 'Naughty Girl' & 'Kotch' – but looks like they're in some trouble with another artist by the name of Princz Charmin who feels RDX pirated his song called 'Kotch It Deh So'. And a nice surprise on the UK front here's LADY CHANN & SHIZZLE's 'supathug freestyle' video from Chann's latest Dun Dem Session mixtape #TheTrilogy #nang
Seems like CHRONIXX is the new kid on the block right now that hot artists in the biz are either working with or want to work with and Judging by the amount of hot tunes he's releasing, this young man must be living in studio - plus he's versatile too, he can sings the praises of girls in cute skirts like on 'The Mini Song' and then turn around and do a reality tune like his latest offering that has the streets on fire 'Selassie Souljah', Featuring cultural acts Protoje, Kabaka Pyramid, and Sizzla. It feels like Chronixx is destined for big things here's him reason about his approach to the mission of music and how he keeps it so cool along the way.
Speaking of PROTOJE he’s about to release 'The 8 Year Affair', the follow up to “The 7 Year Itch.” The album features combinations with Tessanne Chin and Romain Virgo along with his 'Kingston Be Wise' single. Meanwhile, it looks like the Big Ship studio has been busier than ever with FREDDIE McGREGOR preparing to release his new album ''Di Captain''. One of the album highlights is a remake of the Heptones classic 'Equal Rights' with Leroy Sibbles singing harmonies and playing bass. The album also features some nice original cuts. SPLURT ZILLIONZ droped a new mixtape, 'Global Bass Kulcha' is a slick selection that blends dancehall, dubstep, moombahton, trap and more. If you dont already have it you can download it here:
Some hot riddims in rotation to kick off 2013. There are big tunes on the 'Sneak Preview riddim' as MAVADO brings his 'stulla' swag on 'Mr. Tek Weh Ya Gal' - looks like he's going all Mr Louis Vuittion on us— other voicings on the riddim include SEAN PAUL & BEENIE MAN ('Greatest Gallis'), ELEPHANT MAN ('Fashion Statement') & Chase Cross ('Good Good it Good').
Kanambo’s 'Red Brick Riddim' also has some very hot selections. KONSHENS kicks off 'Just A Dweet' especially for the haters “First of all I no make them worry my brain...we doing so much work and there is so much pain".
Meanwhile Big Ship is taking the dancehall back to its roots with their 'Quack riddim' – a remake of a classic Jammy’s riddim called 'The Duck', first made famous by Red Dragon. CHINO jumped things off with not one but two hot tracks on the same riddim: 'Sex Symbol' & 'On Top Already'.
On February 9th the Jazz Cafe will host Lee 'Scratch' Perry (aka Pipecock Jaxson) live and in person.
Then on February 17th Richie Spice will be performing at London’s Indigo02, mixing classic cuts with a few selections from his latest album, 'Soothing Sounds Acoustic'.
And on February 21st it’s the British Reggae Industry Awards at 02 Arena, where the UK honours its own homegrown talent with a night of live performances as well as award presentations.
TO WRAP UP...
SNOOP LION held a screening for his movie 'Reincarnated' late last month at Sunshine Cinemas in downtown Manhattan. There was free ginger beer plus red green and gold sunglasses just like the ones he wears in the flick. Snoop invited a few of his superstar rapper friends for the occasion—including A$AP Rocky, Busta Rhymes, and 50 Cent. Rocking a Brooklyn jacket, Snoop seemed to be in a great mood, even though just one day earlier TMZ published a story that Bunny Wailer “Rejects” his new Rasta persona. [See news item above].
Snoop might be taking some heat for his new image, but after the movie was finished, they premiered his new video for the song 'Lighters up' on the big screen. The song, featuring Mavado and Popcaan, shows both the Gully and Gaza camps repping peacefully with Snoop Lion. Maybe it really is time for unity. As Dennis Brown once said, "Love and Hate Can never be friends." ''put your lighters up'...
See ya next month!
Words by Reshma B