The month's goings-on in reggae and dancehall...

Roving reporter Reshma B is back with another handy digest of the latest ruptions in the world of reggae and dancehall.

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After five and half years behind bars, reggae star Buju Banton has instructed his attorneys to cease all appeals. The artist, born Mark Myrie, was arrested in 2009 and convicted on drug trafficking charges in February 2011. Days after his conviction, Buju Banton won a Grammy Award for his album ‘Before The Dawn’. He is now serving a mandatory 10-year sentence in a Georgia correctional facility. After the U.S. Attorney’s office dismissed firearms charges against Myrie, his attorneys announced that they were withdrawing all further appeals and that the artist would serve out the remainder of his sentence. Myrie is scheduled to be deported to Jamaica in 2019. T

hree years after its initial release OMI’s single ‘Cheerleader’ is the first Jamaican release to hit the Billboard Top 10 since Sean Paul’s 'Get Busy' in 2003. Cheerleader was a modest hit in Jamaica back in 2012 but the song got new life on the strength of a recent remix by the German producer Flex Jaehn. Managed by Clifton “Specialist” Dillon, the man responsible for bringing Shabba, Patra and Mad Cobra to a worldwide audience, OMI is now signed to Ultra Records, the U.S. based EDM label. After shooting a brand new video and dominating the charts in Europe, OMI’s single is now touted as 2015’s “song of the summer” by Billboard.

Whenever Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley hits the road, his musical director and bass player Shiah Coore goes with him. Shiah’s father is Cat Coore, guitarist for the Jamaican reggae fusion ensemble Third World. So it was only natural that Jr. Gong should eventually work with Third World himself. Damian produced the band’s latest single, ‘Yim Mas Gan’, a remake of a classic 1970s track by the Abyssinians. Sung in the ancient Ethiopian language Amharic, the title means “let Him be praised.”

Check out the video here:

Since making the transition from dancer to artists, Ding Dong has demonstrated a special knack for turning out dancefloor anthems and it looks like he has another big hit on his hands. His track ‘Low Mi’ on Chimney Records’ massive ‘Happy Hour’ riddim now has a remix featuring Sean Paul and Bunji Garlin. It sounds like these two superstars are more than happy to stand next to the Ravers Clavers boss. Dutty Paul delivers his best verse in years on the track - check it:

Like many females in a male-dominated industry, Alaine’s creative contributions are sometimes overlooked. Not only has she consistently turned in hit songs on all types of riddims, from hardcore tracks like Daseca’s ‘Anger Management’ to Don Corleone’s gently lilting ‘Seasons’ riddim, but she’s also worked behind the scenes writing international smashes like Tarrus Riley’s ‘One Drop’ and Samantha J’s ‘Tight Up Skirt’.

After ten years in the music business, the reggae songbird was ready for a fresh start and that’s just what she’s accomplished with her new album ‘10 Of Hearts’. Executive produced by Shane Brown of Jukeboxx Productions, the album is a cohesive body of work that shows off the full range of Alaine’s talents. The album is also laced with collabs with the likes of Tarrus Riley, Dexta Daps, J. Boog, and Dre Island where Alaine shows that she can hold her own with the big boys.

The strongest new juggling in the dancehall rotation is the ‘Liquor Riddim’ from Good Good Productions. Boasting party-starting cuts by the toppa top dancehall talents - Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Alkaline, Beenie Man, I-Octane, Konshens and more - this riddim will have your cup running over with excitement.

LDN turns up these coming weeks. On Wednesday (July 15th) Inner Circle will perform at Camden’s Jazz Cafe hosted by Dennis 'Black Beard' Bovell. This one is sure to be a night to remember as it’s been a minute since the Bad Boys of Reggae have gigged in London. Check here for tickets and info.

On Friday (July 17th) Brixton Academy will host a live performance by two legendary acts: Beres Hammond and Bunny Wailer. No need to say more on that but click here for tickets.

If you happen to find yourself in Jamaica then it’s all about the annual Reggae Sumfest July 16-18th. Thurday’s Dancehall Night kicks things off with headliners Lady Saw, Capleton, Popcaan, Gully Bop, and Spice including other performances by the likes of Tommy Lee, DeMarco, Aidonia, Dexta Daps, Ding Dong, Bugle, Gage, I Shawna and Gaza Slim. The following two nights are called 'Show Time' and 'Star Time' and feature international acts like Rick 'The Bawse' Ross as well as acclaimed actor/musicians Common and Jennifer Hudson, as well as local heroes Cocoa Tea, Beenie Man, Kabaka Pyramid, Jesse Royal, and Chris Martin. From start to finish this looks like a must-see Sumfest.

It’s a funny thing, this dancehall business: an artist can work for years trying to bust out of the pack and nobody pays any attention. Then all of a sudden they’re running the place and everybody is calling their name. The latest new sensation to experience that side of the game is a singer Dexta Daps.

Hailing from Kingston, Jamaica’s Seaview Gardens - the same town that gave the world such dancehall stars as Shabba Ranks, Bounty Killer and Elephant Man - Daps moved to NYC as a youth before deciding to return to Jamaica and pursue a music career.

To hear him describe himself “Dexta Daps is a yute who sing for girls and gallis… anyone else please find your own singer!” If you have any doubts whether Daps is a ladies man (aka a “Gallis”) he sure did prove it during his performance last month at the Oracabessa Festival in Queens, New York.

As soon as Daps hit the stage the ladies in the crowd were on a new level of high and when he dropped ‘Jealous Ova’, his duet with dancehall princess Tifa, her absence was more than happily filled by every single female voice in the park. Daps is one of the hottest stars on the scene right now with his songs playing in all the dances at least once every night. His meteoric rise has left him dealing with all types of new situations. He had his first run-in with the law and now he’s dealing with complaints from his fans. His latest appearance on the front page of a national Jamaican newspaper was the result of disappointment over the video for his smash hit ‘7Eleven’.

The song has gained so much momentum since its release that his fans expected some sort of epic big-budget video to match, but instead they found the official music video too “basic”. Comments on YouTube and social media have been so scathing that Daps was compelled to make his statement in the press that he “did not approve” this video and that a better one is on the way. #Starlife.

It’s really no wonder the song is such a success. Aside from the irresistible melody and Daps’ energetic delivery, the concept of this song is one of its kind in the dancehall. According to most dancehall tunes, Jamaican men do not mind having more than one woman, but they’re not really known for being open to the thought of sharing their girlfriends. So when Daps sings “When you say six man, guess who makes seven?” that’s a breath of fresh air for his female fans. The suggestion of taking seventh or eleventh position in the boyfriend ranking is a new concept. The girls do not seem to mind at all and have helped catapault the singer to a new level of stardom thanks to his open-mindedness. #Girlpower.

It’s sometimes true that when the girls get into something the boys may follow. But in this case it’s unclear whether other boys will actually catch on to Dexta’s ‘7Eleven’ trend. ‘Me One’, the recent counteraction song by KC O’Neil, may have already put a stop to all of this discussion. “Me no need nuttin extra,” he sings, “7Eleven ah no me, that a Dexta”. #ohgosh Check Dexta Daps talking about the real-life inspiration for his songs:

See you next month!

Words By Reshma B

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