The latest round up...

The Month's Goings-On In Dancehall and Reggae...

The Star Bwoy is stepping up in style. Mavado will have a starring role in the film 'Shottas 2', the long-awaited sequel to the 2002 cult classic that starred Kymani Marley, Spragga Benz, Paul Campbell and Louie Rankin. Director Cess Silvera reached out to Mavado, who previously appeared in the cinematic video for Drake's hit single 'Find Your Loving'. This will be the first big-screen role for the Gully Gaad, who sounds confident as usual. "Fans can expect what they always get from me," Mavado said, "keeping it real."

Respect Jamaica in the UK: You already know this is going to be a hot summer in London with Usain Bolt looking to break some new world records and bust some new dances too. In keeping with the yard flavor of this year's games, the Indig02 will be showcasing 12 nights of reggae this summer starting July 25th. Headliners include Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley, Lee 'Scratch' Perry & Junior Murvin, Yellowman, Big Youth & Tappa Zukie, Toots & The Maytals, Freddie McGregor & Luciano, Monty Alexander plus Ernest Ranglin and Sly & Robbie, and many more.

Stephen McGregor is reported to be producing a track for Nelly Furtado's new album, 'The Spirit Indestructible'. Other producers on the project include platinum-status Grammy-winning heavyweights like Salaam Remi and Rodney 'Darkchild' Jerkins, so Stephen is in good company. He's also the only Jamaican beatmaker on the project. I guess that's why they call him Di Genius, innit!

The #TNS riddim is riding high at the moment, and my faves include Elephant Man & Spice's extra-spicy tune 'Crosses'—plus Kartel's basically got the girls covered with every brand of 'Lip Gloss' under the sun. Also Supa Hype's Juicy riddim has some big names including voicings from I-Octane, Popcaan, Tony Matterhorn, Demarco, Khago, Busy Signal, and Potential Kidd.

As usual the Portmore Empire is going in hard on the Double Trouble riddim featuring Kartel's 'Death Row' and Popcaan's 'Step Like Dead'. On a (much) lighter note, Kartel's 'Dweet We A Dweet' is catchy catchy—"everywhere we go gal a say we smell sweet."

This month I had the privilege of hitting the streets of Kingston JA, where they set the trends that the rest of the world follows. After scouring the studios, the dancehalls, and even the nail salons, I can report that these are the top most popping tracks that have got everybody movin' in da town:

1. KONSHENS 'Gyal a Bubble'
2. CHAM 'Back Way'
(Where's O in that video? Shopping I guess?)

3. MR VEGAS 'Bruk it Down'

Notice a common theme here? Yep, you guessed it—once again, it's all about the GIRLS.

Some big collabs that dropped this month: Hip hop's favorite Barbie girl Nicki Minaj is showing off her rude gyal side as she pairs up with Beenie Man, the King of the Dancehall himself, for 'Gun Shot'. Despite its title, the song is actually less of a gangsta cut than a sweet selection.

Elephant Man and Lady Saw got together for a blazing combo called 'Siddung' produced by Jazzwad. Saw is already riding high after tearing up not one but two tracks off Truckback's ultra-hot 'Sex Tape' riddim (and yes, their studio really is in the back of a truck). Selectors take note—this is the song to get the party started.

And on the UK front, Stylo G gets on a track with Chip called 'Dash Out'; It sounds like another winner from the man who brought us 'Call Mi A Yardie'.

Romain Virgo's new release on VP Records is called 'The System' and it's another strong piece of work from one of reggae's brightest rising stars. Got to love a youth who sings from his heart.

And if you haven't already picked up Singing Melody's 'They Call Me Mr. Melody' you're missing a whole lot. His new single 'Reggae To The Bone', a collaboration with Limey Murray, is a personal favorite, along with 'Must Be The Girl' featuring Stacious, who sounds like she's in rare form. Apparently Mr. Melody knows how to work with the ladies.

In case you missed his appearance at SXSW, Jimmy Cliff will be playing the Indig02 (UK) on the 19th. Also this month sees the Skatalites UK tour—check out their website for more info on cities and dates.

As Busy Signal got busy in the legendary Penthouse studio in Kingston town during the run up to the release of his latest album, "Reggae Music Again" he reassured his loyal fans that although he's turning his talents to reggae he is not about to give up on the dancehall front. The boy has been working hard—gaining props from reggae veterans like Beres Hammond and Marcia Griffiths. But he also let me know that he's planning to release a new dancehall album this summer called 'Lyrics Museum' - we'll keep you posted! For the full interview with Busy check out:

See ya next month!

Words by Reshma B

Follow Clash: