The latest reggae and dancehall word(s), as told by our resident expert Reshma B...
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Ali Campbell, founder and lead singer of UB40, has said that he thinks the res of the group are “mental cases” – Ali was replaced in 2008 by his brother Duncan. UB40 has been one of the most successful reggae bands to come out of the UK, charting worldwide with tracks like ‘Kingston Town’, ‘Red Red Wine’, ‘(I Can’t Help) Falling In Love With You’ and ‘Higher Ground’. Since being replaced Ali has pursued a solo career – and his statement comes following the release of UB40’s recent departure from reggae to country music with September’s ‘Getting Over The Storm’. Says Ali: “They’ve just released a country album. What that is doing to the legacy of UB40 is untold damage.”
During last month’s BET Hip-Hop Awards, Snoop Dogg aka Snoop Lion announced yet another name change, this time to SnoopZilla (Clash news). The name is strikingly similar to Damian Marley’s alias, Gongzilla. Snoop has previously described himself as “Bob Marley reincarnated”. The rapper and Damian’s elder brother Ziggy Marley are considered favourites for this year’s Reggae Grammy Award.
This summer the Jamaican cult classic film The Harder They Come celebrated its 40th anniversary. BBC Radio 4 takes a look at the movie’s legacy, including its impact on the Jamaican music scene, drawing comparisons between the outlaw lead character Ivan and incarcerated dancehall star Vybz Kartel. Can a movie really be that influential? For the full programme listen here (until November 16th).
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Looks like the first couple of dancehall are at it again. The video for Cham and Miss O’s latest collab, ‘Bend Down’, is now out. As usual it’s a signature blend with O on the catchy chorus and Cham delivering his straight-up lyrics. As for the topic, the title is somewhat self-explanatory. You know how loving couples do.
After headlining major festivals, launching his own clothing label and putting out mad music all year long, it might be a wonder how I-Octane finds the time to squeeze in some real love. But according to his latest release for Chimney Records, “Love is a powerful thing... even when you know you’re right you still want to say sorry.” The dancehall Rasta shows his softer side on the ‘Rising Sun’ riddim. Must be true what they say: behind every Good Man is a Good Woman. Check I-Octane talking about his journey so far and where he visions it going next:
Seems like love is in the air this month as Sizzla drops his video for ‘Good Love’ off his album. ‘The Messiah’. The artist may be known for his fiery lyrics, but on this song he’s got a burning desire too. “First time me see you,” he sings, “me have to ask what’s your name at last.”
Getting out of the love fog and getting into hustle mode, Lil’ Kim (terrifying picture, above) got in the mood for Halloween this year by releasing a reggae joint. ‘Dead Girl Walking’ is the first track released from her upcoming mixtape, ‘Hardcore 2K13’, set to drop later this month. “We live by the gun, die by the gun, don’t trouble we,” Kim spits on this hard-edged track aimed at an unnamed female. Sounds like she’s letting players know where she comes from – and she don’t sound that Lil'!
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Young Vibes Entertainment sets a sombre mood with the ‘Dark Skies’ riddim featuring I-Octane, not one but two songs by Popcaan, and strong performances by rising stars like Versatile, Vybrant, and Jamiel.
For Halloween, Black Shadow productions brought out their ‘Spook Riddim’ with stand-out cuts by Beenie Man, Sizzla, Timberlee and Mr. Vegas, who’s singing about a girl who’s “Twerktastic”.
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The waiting is over – Wayne Marshall is finally set to release his new EP, ‘Tru Colors’. Marshall has been grinding with the crew for a good minute now, so it’s no surprise that his first release since joining Ghetto Youths International will be co-produced by Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley. If recent hits like 'I Know' and the all-star posse cut ‘Go Hard’ was any indication, it looks like Marsheezy’s new EP will be all killer no filler. A full album of the same name is due to drop next year.
Reggae legend Bunny Wailer has made headlines over the past year for his legal conflict with Snoop Lion. But now he’s back to doing what he does best: releasing a three-disc-album called ‘Reincarnated Souls’ with the curious subtitle of ‘Cyber Ras’. The album features two DVDs filled with interviews about Wailer’s days coming up in Trenchtown. This release, which will be distributed by V.P., looks like another must-have for roots reggae devotees.
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It’s all about Stylo G at the moment. After being nominated for two MOBO Awards, the South London Yardie has definitely earned his stripes in the biz. On 16th November he’s scheduled to tear up Camden’s Barfly – so if you've never seen him in action, this would be a good time get some in. Hit this link for more info.
It’s a dancehall weekend in the UK as RDX will be invading Elephant & Castle’s Coronet on the very next night, November 17th. (No rest for the wicked, innit?) It’s the duo’s first performance in the city, and of course they are gonna bring their trademark style of Reggae Dancehall Xtraordinaire. They also have a twerking performance lined up from world famous Sultry Simone. For tickets head here.
On the reggae vibe, the aforementioned Ali Campbell is all set to be performing with his live band and special guests at London’s Indig02 on December 6th – check here for more info and tickets.
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Earlier this month Mavado stopped by BET’s 106 & Park to premier his video for ‘Give It All To Me’, his hit collaboration with Nicki Minaj. It’s been a rollercoaster of a journey for the Gully Gad, and he sure has had some scrapes and bumps along the way. From the Gully/Gaza dispute to parting ways with the Alliance and his mentor Bounty Killer, he went on to sign with DJ Khaled’s US hip-hop label We The Best last year. His first solo release came a few months later in the form of ‘So Suicidal’.
Mavado has always kept it extra real. Feeling the brunt of being “foreign” to yard and controversy over his US visa, he’s survived a trip and a half; but he always seems to keep his swag about him, laced with $1000s’ worth of gear at all times. However, his new release with Barbie puts him back on top of the game. Making a song with a multi-platinum rap star like Nicki would be a major look for any dancehall star, but the track is more than just a look – it’s a hit song. His fans must feel real pleased to see the Stulla back on form!
"People think that you left your roots. But there’s no way I could leave my roots. It’s all about trying to make it bigger than I already am. It’s all about taking it to the top. So that when you look on a BET Awards, when you look on a MTV Awards, you can see somebody from Jamaica.”
Check Mavado here talking about his link with We The Best and his international movements:
See ya next month!
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