This Month’s Goings On in Dancehall and Reggae ...
SNOOP LION may have been 'Reincarnated' but apparently he and and BUNNY WAILER still haven't settled their differences. The former member of the Wailers who appeared in the movie 'Reincarnated' later lambasted Snoop for using the Rastafari culture as a profit-making gimmick. Until now Snoop has not commented on the criticism, but this month he finally broke his silence on the matter in an interview with Rolling Stone: "I coulda said, "F*ck that n***a. B**ch-ass n***a." I'm still a gangsta—don't get it f*cked up." Fortunately Snoop's one love spirit prevailed. "I'm growing to a man, so as a man, do I wanna revert back to my old ways and fuck this n***a up, or move forward, shine with the light? It's nothing. I've been hit before."
On the UK front STYLO G is creating waves with his latest track, 'Soundbwoy' on the 3beat label, a London-based indie with major distribution that's home to such artists as Skepta, Duck Sauce, and Steve Aoki. Stylo's work with with label so far has introduced a new electro sound into his usual blend of grime and dancehall. He's been keeping mad busy in the studio, working with a whole heap of producers including DISTORTION, ShyFX, LETHAL B, and Bassment Jaxx. There's also a new dancehall EP to drop some time soon—maybe it's time to get a new pair of speakers! Check out Stylo chatting on his next level movements:
The International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) are set to go down May 4 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. While reggae's represented at all the major awards like the Grammys and the MOBOs, over the past 32 years the IRAWMAs have emerged as one of the most credible ceremonies to focus on the best of Caribbean and world music—including Africa and Latin America. This year's nominees for the Bob Marley Entertainer of the Year Award include JIMMY CLIFF, DAMIAN MARLEY, THIRD WORLD, SEAN PAUL, TARRUS RILEY, ROMAIN VIRGO & STEPHEN MARLEY. For a full list of nominees visit: http://caribbeansurge.com/2013/03/16/32nd-annual-irawma-nominees/
Assassin aka AGENT SASCO has just dropped a new single produced by Di Genius. 'Tell Unuh' sounds like Sasco is not messing about. Maybe it's a good time for haters to fall back. Mad sup'm.
You already know that AIDONIA cuts straight to the chase when it comes to the bedroom tracks. And with his new video for 'Pon Di Pole' there's no misunderstanding Didi's message. If the visuals don't make it clear, his lyrics leave nothing to the imagination: "Skin out pon di buddy and bruk it off." Any questions?
Last week SHAGGY dropped the first track off his next album, which will be produced by legendary drum and bass duo Sly & Robbie. After hearing some early mixes of the project it sounds like Shaggy and the riddim twins are keeping this one strictly roots reggae—very much in the spirit of the Taxi Gang's work with Black Uhuru & Dennis Brown. Shaggy's pulled out all the stops for the album, which is jam-packed with A-list collaborations. On this first song he teams up with Beres for "Fight this Feeling," which of course is all about the girls. Beres's smooth sweetness plus Mr Lover Lover's dancehall twist...
Talking about classics, the album 'Gregory Isaacs Remixed' recently dropped on the Necessary Mayhem label. Producer CURTIS 'Da Grinch' LYNCH revisited several tracks from the Cool Ruler's catalogue hoping to give them a fresher sound and help a new generation of fans discover one of the greats of reggae. Listen to Da Grinch explain how he went about remixing classics like 'Night Nurse':
V.P. has paid tribute the original dancehall king YELLOWMAN with the release of a double-CD anthology called 'Young, Gifted & Yellow' that also includes a DVD of the King in action back in the day. If you caught Yellowman this past Easter in Brixton, you know that he may not be as "young" as he once was, but he's every bit as gifted.
Best of the Best kicks off in Miami on May 26th. As usual their lineup is packed with dancehall and reggae heavyweights, including BERES HAMMOND, COCOA TEA, BEENIE MAN, and KONSHENS. This year seems lighter on the hip hop acts billed but if previous years are any indication, the promoters will keep adding names right up until the last minute. For ticket info and updates check here www.bestofthebestconcert.com
CHRONIXX is reggae's rising star of the moment and he's keeping his movements active. Just after wrapping up a successful European tour, Chronixx and the Zinc Fence band have released dates for his first tour of the U.S. You can check the artist's Facebook page for the full scoop: www.facebook.com/chronixxmusic
The Bass Culture Clash, sounds from Salvador, Brazil and London will compete head to head in Bahia on May 10th and 11th, an then in the UK on May 16, 17, and 18. The HEATWAVE will be representing the UK, backed by LADY CHANN and Natty, while Oquadro will play hip-hop selections from Salvador and Os Nelsons will bring their own unique brand of Bahia. Keep up on all the action at www.basscultureclash.com
RUSSIAN's 'Boom' riddim has the dancehall on lock right about now, thanks to a crazy instrumental and a husband-and-wife one-two punch. Cham's tune "Sell Out" is hitting hard, but O really has really got it popping with her solo tune 'Money Pull Up'.
The '4Play' riddim from UIM Productions is just as sultry as the title would suggest. With tracks by Gaza Slim, Voicemail and Tifa ('Inside Me' might be her sexiest record ever) this one is perfect for private listening sessions.
MASSIVE B's latest release is The 'World' riddim, which boasts a world-class lineup including Burro Banton, Konshens, Mavado, and Mr. Vegas. And don't sleep on Noah Powa's 'Bad Gal Anthem'—that one always seems to get the ladies lively.
It maybe rainy season in Tobago but the little island has sure been on fire this past week. The TOBAGO JAZZ EXPERIENCE, now in its fifth year, saw a number of massive names hit the stage. Despite the downpour Friday's world music night was a hit. The Captain of the Big Ship FREDDIE MCGREGOR sailed in and rescued the crowd from a long rain delay. He performed classics like 'Big Ship', 'Loving Pauper', and 'Africa Here I Come', then closed with a madd tribute to Dennis Brown.
Later that night Trinidad was in Tobago as BUNJI GARLIN and FAYANN LYONS, the royal couple of soca, delivered a hype set backed by the Asylum band. They had the crowd singing along with every word of Bunji's recent smash "Differentology" and Fay-Ann showed her versatility with a soca-fied take on Bruno Mars 'Locked Out of Heaven'. As the sexy power couple explained backstage, the key to success in a relationship is to make sure you keep it competitive and don't ever fall back. Judging by this show there's no danger of them falling back anytime soon.
And there was simply no stopping headliner MELANIE FIONA. She came to Tobago determined to rip that stage. And she did—in her six-inch Louboutins! The R&B phenom worked it with smash hits like 'It Kills Me', and '4 a.m.', but the cherry on the top was when she brought back her reggae alter-ego SYREN HALL. The crowd went crazy to her dancehall hit 'Somebody Come Get Me (Before I Kill This Man)' - Boom! Watch Melanie in the zone & chatting straight off the stage:
On the final night, London-born LIANNE LA HAVAS made her first trip ever to the Caribbean to perform on the Jazz Music Experience stage and she sure left a strong impression. 'Is Your Love Big Enough Tobago?' asked the feisty young singer and the crowd answer with a big Yes! It seems like she was as impressed with Tobago as they were was with her. After the show she explained that she may never accept a new performance contract now unless it's somewhere in the Caribbean!
Of course DIONNE WARWICK came through and dropped hits from her massive catalog - After 50 years in the business she still ranks up there with Madonna and Taylor Swift for the most hits on the charts - Dionne was accompanied by her granddaughter Lealand Elliott, who seems to have inherited her gran's talent.
But then the night changed to another level when INDIA ARIE stepped up to close the show. She opened her set with a prayer that it would not rain—and as if by magic there was not even a drop during what turned out to be a truly magical performance.
It's not the first time India has performed in Tobago and it's very clear she has a strong connection with the Island. She shared a few unreleased tracks from her forthcoming album, 'Songversation', as well as the new single 'Cocoa Butter'. The crowd sang along with full force and a few tears were shed across the field packed with people who had turned up to see one of their favourite stars.
See ya next month!
Words by Reshma B