Reggae & Dancehall #35: Wiz Khalifa, Chronixx, Kes

Reshma B with what’s hotter than hot, right now…

Your monthly fix…

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NEWS

Chronixx has been one of reggae’s most chatted-about talents for the past couple of years now. But last month he got a major boost after performing on The Tonight Show. The host, Jimmy Fallon, discovered his music while vacationing in Jamaica. His appearance sent the ‘Dread And Terrible’ EP to the top of the Billboard reggae charts and his free concert in NYC was attended by the likes of Mick Jagger. Since then he has played a sold-out concert at Brixton’s Electric in the UK and is now set for a tour of Europe.

Known for their witty character impersonations and social satire, Twin Of Twins’ outrageous ‘Stir It Up’ mixtape series now stacks up to its 10th volume. For their next act: the twins’ transition to the big screen for Ching Pow: Far East Yardies. Borrowing a page from Woody Allen’s debut film What’s Up, Tiger Lily?, they’ve added comedic dialog to a Hong Kong martial arts film about a brothel owner who moonlights as a kung fu fighter. “We rate this movie NP,” Curly Lox told The Jamaica Star, “and that means ‘No Pickney’.” The film is currently showing at the Theatre Place in Kingston, Jamaica.

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TRACKS

“Sun is in the sky, oh why oh why, would you wanna be anywhere else?” This year LDN sure has been blessed with one of the best summers yet, and with August so full of festivals and outdoor gigs it’s never a bad thing when the weather behaves. With carnival soon approaching, Trini hit-maker Kes is right on point to drop a new video for ‘Endless Summer’, his new song with Ricky Blaze. Directed by Jonathan Mannion, the video makes you realise there are just some things that only go down in the hot months, so don’t be surprised if you find yourself singing along

“Summer, Summer, Summer cyan done.”

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ALBUM

The D.C. roots band SOJA have been giving Cali reggae crews like Rebelution and Slightly Stoopid a run for their money on the booming US reggae circuit. This time around SOJA teamed up with producer Supa Dups at Miami’s Circle House Studios to get a blast of that Black-Chiney-meets-Bruno-Mars magic. Titled ‘Amid The Noise And Haste’, the album was released on 12th August and features guest appearances ranging from Michael Franti to Damian Marley to Hawaiian reggae crooner J. Boog.  

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RIDDIMS

Hottest riddim in rotation has got to be Jiggy House Productions’ ‘Mint Tea’, a fast-paced dancefloor-filler that features voicings from Mad Cobra, Gage, Vegas, Latty J, and the ever-prolific Vybz Kartel (aka “Adde Innocent”) who chats about the pleasures of sex in the ‘Early Morning’ and in a tree, and on top of a car, and so on…

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GIGS

If it’s August then you already know its time for the Notting Hill Carnival. Each year Europe’s biggest street festival has the royal borough turnt up! Sound systems will be on every corner playing reggae, dancehall and everything between. All you have to do is hit the street and see where the music takes you. This year Red Bull features Basement JaxxThe Heatwave, Protoje and Yardcore. Check here for more info

If two days of fun sounds too short then Rototom’s week long (16th-23rd August) gig on the coast of Spain might be more up your street. This year’s headliners include Jesse Royal, Kabaka Pyramid, Busy Signal, Jimmy Cliff, Collie Buddz, Shaggy and more.

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AND TO WRAP UP…

It’s the ‘greatest reggae show on earth’ and this year Reggae Sumfest promoters went the extra mile once again. The three-day event was its usual blend of the best Jamaican stars sprinkled with some international flavour to spice things up, and as usual it’s always more fun when the out-of-town acts mix it up with the local talent to create magic moments. Rocking the 2014 stage were Wiz Khalifa, Future, Jason Derulo (who brought along his boo Jordin Sparks) and even Kat Dahlia, who appeared on International Night 2 along with The Wizard and her dad Beres Hammond.

Despite whispers of beef between a few artists there seemed to be an overriding sense of unity in the air at Thursday’s Dancehall night. I-Octane and Vegas had some itchiness during the run-up to the festival, with Vegas questioning whether Octane was the best choice to headline last year – but it turned out that both artists performed at their best and the pre-show hype was soon forgotten. Similarly Bounty Killer (pictured, above) spoke on his frustrations with Mavado, but since the latter did not appear at this year’s fest the focus remained on Bounty’s outstanding performance…

On the topic of unity, Aidonia turned in one of the greatest sets of his career, climbing past the VIP section to take his show to the people. He spoke at length about the need for unity amongst artists, and the responsibility to support younger artists in the game as he held the crowd in the palm of his hand until the bright morning sun began to shine.

Although Beenie Man did not close Dancehall Night this year (for only the third time in Sumfest history) the ‘girls dem sugar’ closed International Night 1 instead and spoke highly of Bounty Killer’s performance, making a point to big up his one-time rival. He also mentioned how much he enjoyed Mr. Vegas – who later joined Jason Derulo to perform the official ‘Talk Dirty to Me’ remix and an impromptu ‘Bruk It Down’ competition.

Future brought only a DJ for his first ever Sumfest appearance, rocking through his catalogue of hits wearing a Jamaica football jersey. Right after his stripped-down set Sean Paul returned to Sumfest for the first time in over a decade with a full stage of dancers and pyrotechnic effects. But the international highlight for 2014 had to be Wiz Khalifa (pictured, main) who effortlessly rocked the Jamaican audience with cuts like ‘Young, Wild And Free’ and ‘We Dem Boys’ – which features as a remix on his album ‘Blacc Hollywood’. As he jumped around the stage with his shirt off showing off his tatts, he seemed to cast a magic spell on the crowd. “Is there somebody great out there? I see you… believe in yourself!” Putting on a great show in Jamaica is nice, but reminding everyone what it means to have faith in who you are? Priceless.

Check out Wiz talking about his favourite reggae acts and which dancehall artist he would love to do a collaboration with...

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Words: Reshma B (online/Twitter)

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