Over to our regular correspondent on such matters, Reshma B, for what’s cooking in the reggae and dancehall worlds…
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In the three years since Gyptian’s massive hit ‘Hold You’ was released it’s been remixed by Nicki Minaj and covered by Lady Saw. Now comes word that he’s sold a half a million copies of the Ricky Blaze-produced scorcher in the U.S. alone. Gyptian is the first reggae artist to earn a certified gold single since 2005, when Junior Gong moved 500,000 copies of ‘Welcome To Jamrock’.
Some good news for Buju Banton, who had a new day in court on June 26, when a federal judge threw out the reggae star’s gun charge conviction and ordered one juror to be charged with criminal contempt. The drug charges are still in place from Buju’s 2011 conviction, but his prison time has been reduced from 15 to 10 years.
The very next day another incarcerated reggae star, Vybz Kartel, was rushed to hospital complaining of chest pains. He later took to Twitter to deny rumors that he had been poisoned, assuring fans the World Boss was okay.
The 2013 BET Awards paid tribute to reggae music with an all-star medley featuring Dawn Penn, Chaka Demus & Pliers, Beenie Man, and Elephant Man, with extra vibes provided by MC Jabba. Judging by the way the stars in the audience were skanking to the beat, it looked like they wouldn’t have minded a few more tunes.
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Sean Paul feat. 2 Chainz and Juicy J’s ‘Entertainment’ finds the Dutty Bwoy in the club with a couple of rappers who know how to get turnt up. The song is all about naughty girls who “need a spanking”. (Guess bad girls really do have all the fun?) Between this one and ‘Other Side Of Love’ it seems like we may have Sean Paul on the playlist all summer long.
Snoop Lion’s still dropping new videos from his ‘Reincarnated’ album but he’s already back in the studio making new reggae joints. He and Eddie Murphy have teamed up for a reggae tune called ‘Red Light’. It might seem like an odd pairing, but it’s not the first time Eddie has dabbled in reggae. He and Shabba Ranks did a song together back in the day.
Assassin aka Agent Sasco has been in the limelight lately thanks to his blazing feature on Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’. Although some dancehall hardliners have complained about Kanye’s oral sex lyrics on the track ‘I’m In It’, there’s no denying that it’s a good look for Assassin. He’s been serving up some hot tracks of his own lately, particularly a tune called ‘Shell’ that’s currently shelling down the place.
It’s been a while since we heard new music from Luciano. But the legendary roots crooner is back on the road and in the studio. He recently released a rootical selection called ‘You Can Try’ and he’s been working with longtime producer Derrick Barnett on some brand new tracks at HC&F Studio. Check out what Jah Messenger had to say about Snoop Lion:
Stylo G (pictured) blazed the stage at this year’s Glastonbury. You already know the UK dancehall don has been creating waves for a minute. His track ‘Soundbwoy’ has taken on a life of its own in the last few months with many remixes. This month Stylo drops a new one called ‘Ready’; but here's the latest ‘Soundbwoy’ refix by the HeatWave:
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The new juggling this month includes JRK Music’s ‘Brixton Bounce’ riddim which features Konshens and Elephant Man plus veteran dancehall stars like Mad Cobra, General Degree and Mega Banton.
On the softer side, Penthouse comes through with the smooth ‘Street Of Gold’ riddim. Vocals include Busy Signal, Romain Virgo, and R&B singer Jimmy Cosier.
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Di Genius released ‘Labwork Vol. 3’, a compilation of his hard-hitting dancehall productions distributed by VPAL. Lots of Big Ship bangers here by Assassin, Aidonia, Mavado and of course Stephen’s brother Chino.
In the coming weeks VP will launch a new imprint called Dub Rockers in association with the Vans shoe company. The first release is a compilation, Dub Rockers Vol. 1, which blends Jamaican acts like Eek-A-Mouse, Capleton and Tarrus Riley with US reggae and ska groups including Soja, Slightly Stoopid, Bad Brains and Fishbone.
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Beres Hammond, Marcia Griffiths, and Morgan Hertiage are making the rounds in the UK. They will play London’s IndigO2 on July 17th and then the O2 Brixton Academy on July 21st. Morgan Heritage play in support of their first album in five years, ‘Here Come The Kings’. And there’s nothing like hearing Beres and Marcia singing duets like ‘Live On’. If you've never been to a Beres concert before, don’t forget to take a pack of tissues, as it’s an all-round emotional experience.
Reggae Sumfest kicks off July 21st in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Attractions include I-Octane closing the Dancehall Night and international stars like Flo-Rida and Barrington Levy headlining on the 27th. Miguel shares the bill on the 28th with Damian Marley, Chronixx and Romain Virgo.
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TO WRAP UP
You know the UK loves Sean Paul and anytime he touches down the girls start heating up. So when the Dutty Bwoy announced last month’s gig at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, tickets went fast. Long before show time the whole joint was on fire. Girls in the crowd were shaking their thang and guys were sweating watching all the action.
Sean flung down his classics, from ‘Like Glue’ and ‘Get Busy’ to ‘Temperature’. All of which went down more than a treat. Keeping the show updated, tunes came remixed to suit Paul’s ‘Tomahawk Technique’ style. Every now and then he unleashed a little segment of ‘Tomahawk…’ madness: if you hadn’t been to the gym that day, you were gonna get a work-out regardless.
Sean kept the evening frenzied by closing with ‘Got To Luv Ya’ and ‘She Doesn’t Mind’, from ‘Tomahawk Technique’. But the icing on the cake was his 2013 hit with The Saturdays, ‘What About Us’.
Throughout the show it looked like his dancers had come straight out of his music videos. They’re choreographed by Toronto native Tanisha Scott, who will surely be working with Sean on the videos for his next album, which is already in the works. To get up on the moves, check out Tanisha breaking down step-by-step instructions on some classic SP moves – and why she has the best job in the world!
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Words: Reshma B
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