Roving reporter Reshma B is back with another handy digest of the latest ruptions in the world of reggae and dancehall.
More than a year after Vybz Kartel began serving a life sentence for murder, the controversy surrounding the dancehall star’s trial rages on. A juror misconduct case has revealed various irregularities that may breathe new life into Kartel’s upcoming appeal. Juror Livingston Caine stands accused of attempting to bribe fellow jurors into returning a not-guilty verdict. His defense attorney has countered that one juror on the case works with the Jamaica Defense Force, while another is the wife of a prominent police officer—both violations of Jamaica’s Jury Act.
Caine’s defense attorney has also alleged that jurors planned a party to celebrate the guilty verdict when they should have been deliberating the evidence. Kartel’s attorneys plan to appeal his conviction later this year.
Rising dancehall singer Dexta Daps has made a name for himself with smooth hits like ‘7 Eleven’ and ‘Jealous Ova’ featuring Tifa. He’s due to perform his first U.S. gig on May 25th at the Oracabessa Festival in New York City along with Sean Paul and Tarrus Riley.
But the festival’s promoters have been holding their breath since Daps got into an altercation with police over a parking spot at the Montego Bay airport. After leaving his car in a restricted area, Daps (real name Louis Grandison) had words with police who handcuffed the singer, charging him with resisting arrest, obstructing police, using indecent language, and assault. He’s due to stand trial on May 13th.
Mavado drops a remix for ‘Ain’t Going Back Broke’. The original We The Best production featured camp member Ace Hood and ATL rapper Future alongside the Gully Gad. With all due respect to these certified hitmakers, it’s the third name to join on the remix that’s got people buzzing: Vybz Kartel. Not so long ago the Gaza/Gully feud was rife, but the Alliance-members-turned-adversaries have ended up in very different places: one is in jail serving a life sentence for murder while the other is living in Miami signed to DJ Khaled’s elite rap label.
Check here to see why Mavado is in a very different place and holds no more grudges with his former rival.
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It may rub some girlfriends or wives up the wrong way but it’s no lie to say that Kranium’s ‘Nobody Haffi Know’ single has played in every dance from BK to JA to LDN. The song about sleeping with a girl in secret has gotten Kranium enough attention to get him signed to Atlantic Records.
The Queens, New York based dancehall artist was scooped up by the major label soon after they had announced that they were dropping Jamaican hitmaker Sean Paul, who sold over four million albums for Atlantic and released two No. 1 pop singles. Kranium seeks to follow in his footsteps with his first release, a remix of ‘Nobody Haffi Know’ featuring Los Angeles rapper Ty Dolla $ign.
Munga Honourable released his ‘Excuse Me’ EP. The Gangsta Ras who has always shown his badman side insists that he’s got a whole new swag. Working with New York based producer Ricky Blaze.
Hot riddims in rotation this month include a funky new juggling called the ‘Mildew’ produced by Anju Blaxx for UIM Records, featuring voicings from Mavado, Alkaline and Popcaan, with ‘Way Up’.
On May 24th the Brixton Academy will be all about More Life, with acts from different parts of the world coming together to rep all elements of music with dancehall baseline and reggae melodies. Acts will include UK artist Ms Dynamite, Japanese sound system Mighty Crown, Jamaican sound system Stone Love along with JA stars I-Octane and Macka Diamond. For more info and tickets visit HERE.
Meanwhile in Miami Memorial Day weekend is all about Best of the Best, which takes over Bayfront Park on May 24th with superstars like Shabba Ranks, Beenie Man, Capleton, and Lady Saw alongside rising talents like Alkaline plus Rupee and Fay Ann Lyons repping the soca posse.
TO WRAP UP
The reggae and dancehall virus has mutated and infiltrated the musical DNA of every underground sound around the globe from rap to EDM to dubstep and beyond. These days you hear it bleeding into pop culture like never before. You may not be familiar with the group Rock City, but if you love dancing to Rihanna’s ‘Pour It Up’ or Miley Cyrus's ‘We Can’t Stop’ or Justin Bieber’s ‘Runaway Love’ then you already love them.
Timothy Thomas and Theron Thomas are two brothers from St. Thomas, Virgin Islands who have penned mega hits for such stars as Miley, Biebs, RiRi, Chris Brown, and Usher. The production and songwriting duo have been one of the best-kept secrets in the music business for the past several years.
But all that’s about to change very soon as Rock City prepares to step into the spotlight. After making a name for themselves as child stars in St Thomas, the brothers took a leap of faith and left home with just $85 in their pocket, determined to make it in the music business. Now that they’ve moved their mum and dad out of the housing projects where they grew up the Thomas brothers are going for broke: not content to be hitmakers behind the scenes, they’re returning to their roots as performers and are preparing to drop their debut album, produced by Dr. Luke, the man behind Katy Perry and Ke$ha.
On April 30th they went back to their home turf to perform at the St Thomas carnival and received a hero’s welcome from the hometown crowd. Of course the Virgin Island massive knows Rock City’s chart-topping hits - from ‘Man Down’ to ‘Pour It Up’—but they’re equally familiar with the mixtape cuts, singing and rapping along to every word.
“Don’t let nobody tell you you can’t do whatever you want,” Theron passionately preached to the crowd, who went wild for Rock City's humorous twist on Ace Hood’s ‘Bugatti’ which they remixed as “I woke up in some new p*nany.” But things got truly turnt up when they started to blaze through their own catalogue of songs –including their newest single off their forthcoming album ‘I’m That N*gga’. The song is based on Beenie Man’s smash ‘Sim Simma’ but with a Virgin Islands twist, so it’s no surprise that the duo had the whole place singing along.
“I know carnival is supposed to be for calypso and soca music,” Theron told the fans at the very end. And he even took time out to address the haters: “But for all the old people who don’t like Rock City music - deal with it!”
Watch Rock City talking about the making of Rihanna’s 'Man Down'.
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See ya next month!
Words by Reshma B