Reggae & Dancehall #28

Wayne Marshall, Macka vs Saw, and much more...

Since last we spoke, all of this has happened…

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On January 7th, Vybz Kartel spent his third birthday behind bars. The Werlboss’s long-delayed trial for the murder of Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams resumed one day before that, following a 17-day holiday recess. The dancehall star, real name is Adidja Palmer, is charged jointly with Shawn “Storm” Campbell, Kahira Jones, Shane Williams, and André St. John for allegedly beating Williams to death over two missing guns.

After being voted the winner of NBC’s The Voice (yes, the American edition) – not to mention singing a duet with Celine Dion and releasing a few number-one iTunes hits along the way – Tessanne Chin returned to Jamaica triumphantly to find her face on billboards all over the island. On January 5th she headlined Shaggy & Friends, an annual concert to benefit the Bustamante Children’s Hospital.

During the 30th anniversary staging of Sting, JA’s legendary Boxing Day show, Lady Saw and Macka Diamond had a take-no-prisoners clash during which some extremely harsh words were exchanged (interview video at the end of the column). Kiprich and Blak Ryno also engaged in some serious lyrical warfare. Still, there is a limit to what Sting promoters will tolerate, and apparently the line was crossed by D’Angel and Sizzla

The Rasta DJ defied promoters’ requests and sprinkled his set with anti-gay lyrics, while the glamorous dancehall star made unscheduled appearances during the sets of her ex-husband Beenie Man and Ninja Man, with whom she got into a playful clash, complete with a bit of sexy skirt-lifting. The show’s organizers announced that both artists would be banned for the foreseeable future, but D’Angel replied, “I haven’t done anything different from what has always been done at Sting.”

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Black Ryno’s victorious clash with Kiprich sure has put him back on the radar – a big turnaround from last year, when he got bumped off Popcaan’s stage by Papi himself. This year sees Di Stinga riding high with a US$30k prize. His new song 'Baddest Ting', which he recorded right after taking home the belt at Sting, says it all.

Busta Rhymes has been on a few reggae remixes in his day, and lately his own music has been showing his Caribbean roots. Now he’s trying his hand at soca, jumping on Bunji Garlin’s ‘Differentology’ remix. Bunji’s tune – voted MTV Iggy’s Song of the Year – was already a banger, and the Dungeon Dragon turns the energy up even higher.

RDX dropped a hot video for their song ‘Sexy Touch’ which they call the “sexiest video alive”. Looks like the party gods have slowed down the pace a little sumn on this straightforward message for the ladies on So Unique’s ‘Get Wild’ riddim…”If you man give you trouble come check me now.”

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Hot riddims in rotation at the moment include the ‘Selfie’ riddim – with a name like that, you know this one is “fi di gal dem” – featuring vocals from Tifa and Busy Signal

UIM’s aptly named ‘Relapse’ riddim (below) is also another worth checking. Listen for Blak Diamon, Bugle and Alkaline.

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The wait is over. Wayne Marshall’s (pictured) ‘TRU Colors’ album will be released on January 21st. Along with hits like ‘I Know’, ‘Go Hard’ (plus ‘Go Harder’) and ‘Stupid Money’ featuring Assassin (video below), the 13-track album features new collaborations with Capleton, Bounty Killer, and Tarrus Riley. An eclectic blend of sounds and styles, ‘TRU Colors’ is a stepping stone to the next level of his career.

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Rebel Salute takes place on the 17th and 18th of January. As usual, Jamaica’s premiere roots gig promises a family friendly experience with a feel-good soundtrack of conscious reggae. Along with legends like Bunny Wailer and John Holt, the second night will be anchored by Bounty Killer performing in his Rodney Price persona. If that alone is not enough to clinch the deal then check out the official site for more details. 

Toni Braxton, Chaka Khan, Joe and Beres Hammond headline the Jamaica Jazz & Blues Festival from January 30th to February 1st. And if somebody manages to sneak Tessanne Chin onstage people won’t be mad. Hit up the official website for more info.

Remember those kids who sang ‘Pass The Dutchie’ back in 1982? Musical Youth are back as a duo, and the slightly more grown-up Michael Grant and Dennis Seaton will be performing live at London’s Jazz Cafe on January 26th.

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It was the clash that everyone was waiting for, and this time it sure did take place. But somehow nobody was ready for just how fierce it was when Macka Diamond stepped onstage to face the Queen of Dancehall Lady Saw in a war of words. A who’s who of dancehall stars were either performing or watching the 30th anniversary edition of Sting.

Supreme Promotions and Downsound brought Supercat back to Jamrock for the first time in years. Besides the Don Dada and Mavado, Sting promoters booked international performers like Wyclef Jean, who brought his acoustic guitar and poured his soul out all over the Jam World stage and 2 Chainz, who came with that Lamborghini Mercy swag. They even got Tommy Lee to take the stage on crutches following a nearly fatal car crash. But for the second year in a row, the biggest talk was about a battle between two girls.

Macka was back in the spotlight yet again – and this year she made sure to turn up and battle. With fiery Twitter exchanges between her and Saw in the days leading up to Sting, the audience was just as revved up to see this clash as the ladies themselves. Following a full set from Lady Saw, she slipped into her battle gear – an oversized military green overcoat – and then Macka walked out with war paint on her face and extra ammunition up and down her arms. Both took came out meaning business and there was plenty of security onstage to make sure the Boxing Day show didn’t turn into a boxing match. The lyrics hit hard but it was clear at the end that Saw kept her crown with a lyrical beatdown.

Still, Macka was defiant even in defeat, claiming props just for having the courage to challenge Saw in person and promising to return and fight another day.

Check out what Lady Saw and Macka Diamond had to say straight off the Sting stage:

See ya next month!

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Words: Reshma B (online / Twitter)

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