Reggae & Dancehall #1

Monthly round up...

The Month’s Goings-On In Dancehall and Reggae…

STEPHEN MARLEY has bigged up the UK in a new interview, describing the British as “rebels”. Speaking from his ‘Lion’s Den’ studio in Miami he said the UK played an important part in the history of reggae. “When reggae music was becoming known to the world in the seventies,” he said, “some people were not used to certain features. But in the UK you had rebels and punks and you were more embracing.” “You guys are rebels”.

MAVADO and Hip Hop act DRAKE have just announced a new collaboration! It’ll be on DJ Khaled’s We The Best Music label.

On a sadder note, so Vybz Kartel’s been charged, and apart from “a man’s innocent until proved guilty” I guess that’s all you can say. But I can’t help thinking what a fall from grace – only last month he’s “The Dancehall Hero” starring in his own reality tv dating show, and now he’s inside on not just one murder rap but two.

And finally, great news for ALBOROSIE on winning “Best Reggae Act” at the MOBOs! The Italian rasta’s had a good year, including magnifico new album “2 Times Revolution”.

Book now for December’s MAVADO UK gigs – Dec 10th & 11th – featuring top UK dancehall acts GAPPY RANKS and STYLO G. Stylish Stylo’s just dropped a new track called ‘Winter Swag’ – what with Vybz Kartel’s ‘Summertime’, we can celebrate the season vibe all year round.

Dancehall rasta I-OCTANE’s been making waves for a while, and his long awaited EP “Straight From The Heart” is about to hit the street. The first single’s already released, ‘Burn Dem Bridge’, produced by STEPHEN “DI GENIUS”. Definitely a signature sound. “This song is not to point fingers but to serve as a warning to be cautious of those who may be using you for their own advantage”, says I-Octane.

Further off, but just planting in your head, that new album by STEPHEN MARLEY is expected real soon. I was privileged to hear a sample of it during my visit to his studio last month (interview to follow shortly). The album, part 2 of Revelation, is to be called The Fruit of Life. Part 1 The Root of Life was about the trials and tribulations of life. Part 2 blends dancehall, hip hop and soul into the mix and Stephen really works his magic using clever musical arrangements. Each song is unique and original. PLUS there’s some tracks for the ladies which will make you melt.

VP Records has released a tribute reggae anthology to SUGAR MINOTT who died last July and the CD shows off his greatest hits, plus a bonus DVD of his live performance at Japansplash in 1986. BTW his UK hit ‘Good Thing Going’ is number 5 on the cd. My song this.

There’s so many new ones around at the moment my head’s in a spin. Getting good rotation is DELLY RANX’s ‘Earth Strong Riddim’ which includes versions voiced by artists like Shaggy (‘Party All Night’), Delly Ranx himself (‘Wickedest Rider’) and a particularly hot one from MACKA DIAMOND (‘No Fight Ova Man’). Also worth a listen is the new “Stand Tall Riddim” on the J&G label, voiced by artists like BUGLE (‘Tun It Up’).

Shaggy – Party Every Night

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As MAVADO showed at this years Sumfest he can seriously do sensual, so if you want some of this, the Gully Gad’s new track ‘Luv Me Girl’ is the one. And if you are in the mood for sumfin’ else, SHABBA “takes care of the matter” good and proper alongside Danielle, in ‘Big Man’ on Sly and Robbie’s Taxi label.

Danielle (ft Shabba) – Big Man

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DAMIAN MARLEY’s “Set Up Shop” is a great new track with his usual clever toasting. And producer of the moment STEPHEN DI GENIUS keeps the big ship sailing with a new track ‘Only God Can Judge Me’ – there must be something about Stephen M’s (McGregor and Marley), producing and singing comes oh so naturally!

Lastly Beenie Man’s been on top form with his recent hit on – of course a ‘di genius’ production – ‘Gal Come Ova’ (‘itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini’ was the line that got me, of course). BUT after years of releasing great tracks, one track the Doctor might just wish to forget is his recent featuring on Bobby V’s ”So Bad”. Good name.

A benefit for building schools and libraries in Jamaica was held at Joe’s Pub in NYC by The Rockhouse Foundation, chaired by Paul Salmon who owns the top, swanky source of fine jerk chicken and ackee Jamaican eaterie in the Big Apple, Miss Lily’s. The benefit featured up close and personal performances from GYPTIAN and SEAN PAUL. Looking around I wondered why there was so much female presence – then I saw the host for the silent auction was Tyson Beckford. The night raised $135,000.

See ya next month!

Words by Reshma B

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