08
Dec

Turn Up The Volume on “Strictly The Best 2016” ft. Christopher Martin & Spice in NYC -- His View

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Written by Dat Guy NJ

 

Brooklyn NY – Eager to attend the showcase event called Strictly The Best Live NY (STBNY) the moment I heard about it, I still battled the inclination to bow out based on an entire day of gloomy chilly weather with rain continuously beating the sidewalks. All the same, I just didn’t want to miss an opportunity to hear veterans of the Reggae/Dancehall circuit Christopher Martin (whose performances I’ve seen a few times and thoroughly enjoyed) and Spice (who I'd never seen perform). The event was held at The Paperbox, a venue that's comfortably nestled off the beaten path in a fairly secluded neighborhood in East Williamsburg Brooklyn, NY. I thought I'd be walking into an underground dive but upon arriving the first sign that things were looking up happened as I stepped through the doors finding myself in a pristine concert venue spacious in size yet surprisingly intimate. For those of you who may not have heard, the November 29th STBNY event was free entry on the guest list hosted by pioneer leaders in Reggae and Caribbean music production and distribution VP Records. Since 1991 they’ve produced an epic series of numbered releases called Strictly The Best (STB) and it's the longest running CD compilation series of its kind that's released annually in time for the year-end holiday season.

This year saw the STB release of not one but two sizable editions. Volume 54, the “Singers Edition,” features the latest songs (2015 – 2016) of popular artists accompanied by a separate bonus CD featuring the music of Jamaican groups of the 1960's going forward and at the heart, classic Reggae music selections. Volume 55, the “Deejays Edition” strictly covers the very latest Dancehall music from veteran and popular emerging artists. The bonus CD attached to Volume 55 features carefully selected songs that are collaboration tracks between Deejays and singers. Here's where it gets good. In 2016 Volumes 54 and 55 have been bundled together whereby buyers receive not two but four really great CD sets with fantastic music by many of the biggest most important names in Reggae, at a reasonable price. 

Doors opened for the STBL show at 7 PM with early warm vibes and entertainment in-between acts in the hands of three DJ's although the only one I was familiar with is DJ Noah Power; he's been kicking the scene now for a good minute playing special events, putting out heavy hitting DJ remixes along the way earning a solid reputation. The other DJ's billed were Chromatic The Ultimate and the beautiful female selector Kitty Cash who did her thing and rived up the audience big-time. Moments before the show got started she invited guests to come up and dance pon di stage which many did leaving dancers and onlookers alike excited and fully pumped! The audience consisted of a diverse group of Reggae/Dancehall lovers from many different cultures and it was satisfying to experience everyone mingling and partying together. As The Paperbox continued filling, the early-warm juggling succeeded in warming the enthusiasm of attendees unified by the excellent Reggae music that filled the room as we anxiously awaited the main acts; it was a vibe that felt like total togetherness and the feeling lasted throughout the evening.

Then it happened, Christopher Martin touched the stage and the audience went insane as he opened up with his hit song "Don't Let Me Cheat." In great sound the air was filled with his strong voice and on-key melodies that created even more positive vibes that thickened the air. Early in the performance Martin was forced to sing without tracks but nobody seemed to mind because even then his voice was crisp, clear and right on key. As he progressed, his set seemed to intensify and the audience responded favorably. Enraptured by this magical feeling attendees sang along during most of Martin's set hardly ever missing a line. His time on stage was short but rammed with several of his excellent tunes that everyone wanted to hear. From STB Volume 55 he gave us his song “Pirate of the Caribbean” and went on to end his great set with “Mama” after about 30-minutes onstage. Other than the technical problem with his tracks Christopher Martin's flow was excellent and totally worth the trip to NY in the rain. A hard act to follow I hoped Spice would receive the same strong enthusiasm of Martin's opening reception but as they say, no worries.

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_Chris-watermark.jpg

 

Right from the start Spice strutted on stage with a sizzling air of confidence that everyone there could feel. However, before getting into her performance I must describe her appearance in a stunning sexy black body-fitting outfit (the top fitted with studs) that molded her tight voluptuous body and made it look like she'd been been poured into the outfit right before coming onstage. POW! Was it just me? I looked around for audience reaction and everyone that I could see had their eyes crazy glued to the stage. Still, it wasn't just about how appealing Spice looked (although I can tell you it was a huge bonus given that far too many artists hit the stage looking like they just rolled out of bed and put on street clothes, worn the day before). Spice's set put hardcore fire pon di mike giving out great sound, well performed songs like her latest 'suggestion song' called “Siddung Pon It” (translated for all those with only passing exposure to Jamaican patwah as 'Sit Down On It'). For a good minute the song went on in different phases driving the crowd wild especially after Spice invited a few ladies to join her on stage to show the dance moves to the song. Moving on to another selection a short time later, men where invited to the stage to dance with her and never having seen her handle an audience I quickly discovered that not only can Spice sing, she's a top-shelve entertainer and somewhat of an actress too. She sprinkled her act with daringly suggestive lyrics, interesting chat and facial expressions meant to intrigue her audience that taken together hit home. Her hot fire engine song you can find on STB Volume 55 is “Sight and Wine”...make sure you check it. A great performance all the way round only time will tell if she is indeed the new undisputed Queen of Dancehall as she is being hailed in a number of circles. Having finally seen her live in action vs- watching her videos on YouTube (which are subjected to editing), one thing for sure based on everything I heard and experienced that night, Spice's act is the real deal and, she is much more than just another hyped artist.

 

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At the end of the night I was totally satisfied and interested in the STB compilations. My only displeasure is a common place flaw with Reggae in the NY area. The doors opened on a Tuesday night at 7 PM – a good time for a weeknight show - but performances didn't start for nearly four hours. Reggae people we have to do better! Start on time or much closer to it because it's a deterrent to fans who want to come out and enjoy great showcases like STBL and still get home in time to get a little shut-eye before work or school the next day. That aside, the night offered attendees a wonderful location and friendly hospitable staff at The Paperbox not to mention excellent entertainment throughout the evening making it a fun way to start off the week! And, as soon as you can make a point of filling in your music collection or making what will be a welcomed holiday gift stocking stuffer to a loved one of the STB 2016 special edition bundle Volumes 54/55 that as explained earlier, includes loads of bonus tracks. So that you see what I mean by great music I've listed below the selections you'll find on the STB compilations and encourage you to check out this link for a discount offer on your purchase of the volumes via the VP Records website!

 

Dat Guy NJ is a regular Reporter for the CatchTheVybz “Dat Guy” column covering all genres of music with a specialty in Reggae coverage. He also serves as the Director of Dancehall and Reggae Alliance on the Meetup.com network and Freelance Reporter for the Live Reggae NYC “Single in the City” column.

Photographer Winston Rodney is a seasoned fashion photographer and photojournalist. Traveling the world with his camera covering celebrity events, he is the CEO of Winston Rodney Photography.

Edited by G. Vanriel

 

 

(STB. vol. 54)

1. Identify My Love – Mr. Vegas 2. LoveSick – Romain Virgo 3. Unfaithful Chronicles – Dalton Harris

4. Stuck in the Middle – Ikaya 5. Cool Me Down – Tarrus Riley 6. Lay You Down Easy – Magic feat. Sean Paul

7. Take Me Back (J. Vibe Reggae Mix) – Christopher Martin 8. Bad Mind – Sizzla feat. Jah Cure

9. Strolling – Alborosie feat. Protoje 10. Get Up – Raging Fyah 11. Natty Bald Head – Morgan Heritage

12. Trap Set – Sanchez 13. Calling – Freddie McGregor 14. Hello (Reggae Cover) – Conkarah & Rosie Delmah

15. Unafraid – Jah9

 

(STB vol. 54 Bonus Disc)

1. Penny Love You – Wailing Souls 2. Love Has Many Faces – Heptones 3. You don’t Care – Technique

4. Born to Love You – The Sensations 5. The Beatitude – The Uniques 6. Got to Get Away – The Paragons

7. Don’t Break Your Promise – The Tamlins 8. Pass the Kutchie – The Mighty Diamonds

9. Bullseye – Brian & Tony Gold 10. Single Life – Home T. 11. Footprints – T.O.K. 12. Just as I Am – L.U.S.T

13. Down By the River – Morgan Heritage 14. Playing Games – Voicemail

 

(STB vol. 55)

1. Mercy a God – Vershon 2. Great Man – Jahmiel 3. One More Time – Alkaline 4. Likkle More – Vybz Kartel

5. Dancehall Dab – Mr. Vegas 6. Roast or Fry (Breadfruit) – Chi Ching Ching 7. Sight & Wine – Spice

8. Culu Culu – Savage 9. Buck Fi Mi Back – Razor B 10. Hard Ball – Masicka 11. 3G – Dexta Daps

12. Ball a Fire – Aidonia 13. Big League – Mavado 14. Pirate of the Caribbean – Christopher Martin

15. Streets – Bulby York feat. Busy Signal

 

(STB vol. 55 Bonus Disc)

1. Twice My Age – Shabba Ranks & Krystal 2. Half Idiot – Marcia Griffiths & Cutty Ranks

3. Who Say – Beres Hammond & Buju Banton 4. Big Up – Shaggy & Ravon

5. Bonafide Love – Wayne Wonder & Buju Banton 6. Living Dangerously – Barrington Levy & Bounty Killer

7. Intimate Woman – Red Rose & Bounty Killer 8. Give It to Her – Tanto Metro & Devonte

9. Miss Goodie Goodie – Colin Roach & Galaxy P 10. Hot Gal Today – Mr. Vegas & Sean Paul

11. Bad Man No Pet Gyal – Alozade feat. Chico & Kiprich 12. New Millenium – Vybz Kartel & Wayne Marshall 13. One Girl - Not Me – Beenie Man feat. Tanto Metro & Devonte 14. Party Time – Danny English & Egg Nog

 



 



 

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08
Dec

An Insiders Take on “Strictly The Best Live" 2016 -- Her View

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Written by Ladie English

 

Photos by Winston Rodney

 

November 29, 2016 VP Records in cooperation with Ting & Ting hosted an impressive launch party for Strictly The Best Live at The Paper Box in Williamsburg Brooklyn NY. Despite being a rainy evening, a good showing of friends and fans came out to catch live performances by popular Reggae artistes Spice and Christopher Martin with early juggling by DJ's Noah Powa, ChromaticThe Ultimate and Kitty Cash who all got attendees ready for the dynamic showcase performances that followed.

 

I must begin by giving huge kudos to a DJ I've never heard of before namely Kitty Cash of Trini ancestry. While the other DJ's were definitely smashing, Kitty Cash caused the Paper Box crowd to catch-ah-fiya with her set! She invited dancers on stage and played a wide range of music from Reggae, Ragga and Soca  to Afrobeat and Hip Hop. DJ Kitty Cash has a get on the dance floor flow that is so nice that everyone trying to keep up broke into a heated sweat; music for all to enjoy you can bet that anywhere she is scheduled to play, I'll be there!

 

As attendees waited for the featured artistes to appear on stage, VP Records hosted CD giveaways lead by popular DJ Noah Powa; he kicked off playing a song from “STB 55” and the audience was given a chance to guess the name of the artist singing. Since I consider myself a Reggae music aficionado I marched up to the stage and said “Jahmiel” loudly into the mic ANNNK...wrong answer...I was mortified! Another young lady gave the correct answer (which was Vershon) and won. Noah Powa then played another song this time from “STB 54” and ready to reclaim my dignity I marched right back to the stage where he asked “are you sure you have the correct answer?” to which I replied “absolutely.” He then asked for the name of the artist and I replied “Romaine Virgo.” Was I right? YES – VICTORY and I left the stage with a copy of the STB 54 album I can't wait to play and, feeling vindicated. As they say, never give up!

 

Christopher Martin was the first featured artist to take the stage and after a few hiccups with his tracks we heard the hit song from his Cheaters Prayer album (2012) “Don't Let Me Cheat on my Girlfriend”. After realizing that the DJ was still struggling with his tracks he easily went acapela singing “Magic” from his upcoming album. Martin has a fantastic voice and I hold him in the same high esteem as top artistes Sanchez and Romaine Virgo; they all have in common the ability to belt out songs with or without background music with a purity of voice that needs no electronic synthesizers or echo machines to enhance the sound. Christopher Martin continued to give us a wonderful set with songs like “Make Love Under The Influence” and a track from STB 55 called “Pirate of the Caribbean.” With all the songs well performed my personal favorite for the evening was“Big Deal.” During his entire time onstage the crowd roared their approval but when he ended his set with the song "Mama" he told the audience to “buss a blank” for their Mama and at that point everyone went wild!

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Last but not least Spice took the stage and living up to her stage name, her set was spicy! For longer than I can remember Lady Saw has been the Queen of Dancehall but now that she no longer sings racy commercial music and officially abdicated the throne, Spice was introduced to us by a VP Records representative as the reigning Queen of Dancehall. An entertainer to the core, last night Spice invited ladies in the audience to join her onstage and “Siddung Pon It” to her new song of the same name which naturally they did with great enthusiasm. She later sang her very first hit song made with VYBZ Kartel called “Romping Shop” which also went over well with the audience. I've actually only seen Spice on-stage twice and and now concluding that she is favorably naughty in the same vein as Allison Hinds and Saucy Wow Denise Belfon. Spice also invited men on stage and put them to the challenge of keeping up with her in dance to see what they could do. With lot's of nudging the first man bravely went onstage, gave it his best effort but just couldn’t manage to top the high-energy Spice and, was dismissed. The next gentleman that took the challenge gave his name as “Africa” and while he started out slow when challenged by Spice he stepped up his game making the entire African continent proud – that section was fun! All-in-all Spice gave us a combination of fun music and on-stage antics that together made her set so  HOT I'm looking forward to seeing her again in the future. Until then, see you on the inside of more great events!

 

 

Hailing from England with her British accent in tact, Ladie English is a freelance writer covering the NY area Reggae beat and, a new contributing writer to the Catch The Vybz website. She also serves as the Senior Writer for the Red Carpet Shelly blog.

 

Photographer Winston Rodney is a seasoned fashion photographer and photojournalist. Traveling the world with his camera covering celebrity events, he is the CEO of Winston Rodney Photography.

 

Edited by G. Vanriel

 

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07
Dec

Double Double Trouble Man Hits BB King NYC Dec 13, 2016

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Written by UKShasha

Barrington Levy cut his musical teeth at the age of 14 and progressed to recording a string of hits in the 70's through the 90's. Following a lull in his career, he got a much needed boost after being prodigiously sampled in the Hip-Hop and Pop genres. With an envious number of releases (both albums and singles) not to mention ‘unofficial’ outputs of his work, Levy has steadily been recording and making appearances in Europe and at select shows in America.

New York gets another chance to see this stalwart who is now a veteran in the Reggae industry having worked with some of the great producers, musicians and engineers who set the foundation for Reggae; that list includes revered names like Jah Life, Channel One, Henry ‘Junjo’ Lawes, Errol “Flabba” Holt, Carlton “Santa” Davis, Prince Jammy, Earl “Chinna” Smith, Bo-Pee Bowen and Gladdy Anderson to name a few.

Coming from the Dancehall heyday and having toured almost non-stop in the 80's and 90's, Barrington Levy is a showman however if you need further proof, check out his 2016 Reggae Sumfest performance – he's an entertainer who knows how to read and please a crowd; the fact that he is still making quality music after 40-years is no mean feat but a testament to his endurance and work ethic. Whether in Jamaica, England or the USA, Barrington Levy has delivered hits that have stood the test of time. In 2015 he released "Acousticalevy" which received a Grammy Award nomination that same year.

On December 13, 2016 Barrington Levy & the Detour Posse with special guest Mighty Mystic will perform in Manhattan at the famed B.B. King Blues Bar & Grill located in an area that some call the center of the arts and entertainment world – Times Square. For tickets check Ticketmaster or the BB King box office. For additional information or table reservations call 212-997 4144.

 Edited by G.Vanriel

 

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15
Nov

Nov 16, 2016 REBEL SALUTE LAUNCH in NYC ft. Queen Ifrica (VP Records)

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 NOV 16TH REBEL SALUTE LAUNCH PARTY @MILK RIVER

"CLIMB" ALBUM LAUNCH WITH SPECIAL GUEST QUEEN IFRICA

The Jamaican award-winning singer, songwriter and social activist Queen Ifrica returns with her new studio album Climb in January 2017 on VP Records.  The lyrical crusader calls for global change on the album and rallies comrades like Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley on the opening hip-hop tinged track "Truversation."

She touches on key social issues throughout the album. The soul-tinged reggae track  "I Can't Breathe" rails against ongoing police brutality in America; the ska flavored "Rebellion" name checks uprisings across several continents that have secured rights and improved the lives of many marginalized individuals. This sentiment is reinforced on "Battlefield", which warns "we never yield, its war on the battlefield, if you nah hear you ah go feel." 

She also continues to uplift the younger generation. Queen's beautifully sung lyrics encourage perseverance during hard times on the title track and she reveals two of her greatest motivational sources, her mother and grandmother on "Ask Me Granny."  On "Black Woman" she implores young ladies to know their worth and not be swayed by objectifying trends in popular culture.

 "These songs come to me as I am watching the world; I see myself as a social worker that uses music as my tool because music is the greatest weapon to impact societal change, to help young people to understand themselves more," Ifrica says.

 

 On November 16, 2016 in NYC, Queen Ifrica will be performing select tracks from the album to give fans a taste of what is to come. The intimate live show will be held directly after the launch party for Jamaica's renowned Rebel Salute music festival at Milk River in Brooklyn, NY.

----------------

*Milk River is located at 960 Atlantic Avenue, Brooklyn NY 11238.18 to enter, 21 to drink.

Join members of Live Reggae NYC on Meetup.com for "limited" discount tickets while available.

 

Queen Ifrica

Swooping in from Montego Bay, Jamaica, Queen Ifrica has taken the reggae scene by storm with hits like "Randy," "Boxers and Stockings,"  "Jus my Brethren," "Below the Waist" and "Daddy" as well as more recent singles like "Love Is Not Blind" and "I Can't Breathe." From her humble beginnings of winning talent contests to joining the Tony Rebel's Flames crew in 1998, she has blossomed into one of the genre's top cultural artists with her roots firmly secured in the Rastafarian faith.  Climb is Ifrica's third full-length album, following Montego Bay (2009, VP Records) and Fyah Muma (2007, Flames Productions).

 

 https://www.facebook.com/QueenIfrica 

 

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21
Sep

Interview with Beenie Man

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*Credit: Reggaeville Interview by Angus Taylor

Beenie Man releases his first album in a decade, Unstoppable, this week. Comprising 22 tracks, featuring guest collaborations with old friends Akon, Jeremy Harding and Tristan Palmer, as well as former foe Bounty Killer, it's a heady mix of his past, present and future.

Beenie spoke to Angus Taylor on the phone from Kingston, Jamaica. In the spirit of the record, they touched on his early days deejaying as a 5 year old, the hot topic of hip hop’s dues to dancehall, and why he won't be playing Sting any time soon...

How is your health? You had the Zika virus recently. Are you all better now?

Yeah I'm good. 100%. I caught the Zika but I'm good now. That was like two months ago. Three days’ time I was over it. I have a strong immune system. If I catch flu it lasts two days, when for other people, it’s a week.

Did you celebrate Ethiopian New Year?
Yeah man, we do that every year because I am an Ethiopian Orthodox. We celebrated in the African way. We have seven days of drumming, we have a feast, and we have fasting.

How does it feel to get your album Unstoppable out to the people? There were a couple of delays in securing a release date.
This is an album I needed to release for the fans. Seriously, because it has been 10 years now that I haven't had an album out. The problem was I did a song with Akon and it never cleared. The song is called Unstoppable, the title track. But now it is cleared, everything is alright. The whole production. Akon, Bounty Killer, everybody on the album. Putting it all together, it is a great work.

A lot has happened since your last album, Undisputed. We’ve had the download thing, the streaming thing, the whole album format was called into question at one point. Do albums matter?
Yeah, it does matter because… Alright… when your fans want to listen to you, they want to listen to an actual 22 tracks or 12 tracks straight. So this album is a 22 track album, a double CD. It's just what the fans need today. An album is relevant to any artist that is doing music.

Did you find it easy to come up with 22 tracks for an album? 22 tracks is quite a lot.
Yes, very easy because I sang about 60 songs for the album. Every year an artist goes in the studio he will actually make an album you know? An artist is going to make 22 tracks, 30 tracks for the year so at least he has three, four, five singles released that will really shot the place to keep him relevant. Now you will have a bag of hit songs which are not relevant. You have to know what the fans want. This album is what the fans want.

You worked with Akon on the song Girls in 2006. Like you, he has a love of African and Jamaican culture – as heard in his reggae song Mama Africa. What brought you together?
I met Akon in New York when he had just sung Locked Up. I brought him to Jamaica with one song, before the album released. So when he went back to America he started to give me work. Like "This man is trying to do a remix and him need you upon it", "That man needs a remix and he needs you upon it". So he gave me a whole heap of work as my friend. When he first built his company I was the first man he signed. I said "Alright, me ago deal with this". But I am a man who can't deal with companies. Companies try to tell you what to do, when to do it, how to do what - I can't deal with that. Me and Akon are friends but me and companies are not friends like that. So I decided to come back to Jamaica, build a studio, sit down and do my thing.

Your own productions feature a lot on this project - as well as long-time producers like Dave Kelly and Jeremy Harding. Who is in your 357 crew?
357
is the label, MD entertainment is the company. My partners are Mario Campbell and Rohan Smith which is Blue - my brother. He is the man that manages everything. He is the man that controls the whole entire thing. Most of the productions on the album are produced by us. Cantana and CeeGee are two artists of mine that I signed to my company. So me and them write together.

Tristan Palmer is on the album, singing and producing the song Blue Lights featuring Bounty Killer. How long have you known Tristan Palmer?
I have known Tristan Palmer for 40 years. He is one of my oldest friends. The first time I met Tristan Palmer was at Gemini Soundsystem. The sound played in front of my yard one night. It was Tristan Palmer, Philip Fraser and Carlton Livingston. The three of them met me. And then I met Squiddly Ranking and Johnny Ringo at the same time. That night, when I walked up on the microphone I was like five years old. When I took the mic Johnny Ringo thought I was a kid that came out of the house and couldn't find my mother! So he gave me the mic to call out my mother’s name. And I said "Run the riddim now!" It was totally fun.

What made you leave the house and get on the mic that night?
I just did it! I made up my mind and said "Right, me ago over the dance". The problem was, my mother is Christian and I live in her house. So I had to wait until she dropped asleep and then just climb through the window and go to the dance. So to stop me from getting beaten by my mother Tristan Palmer had to come to my yard and tell her the reason why they needed me around them to do what I do. Because every man just laughed when I held the mic and mashed up the place. After that Tristan Palmer gave me my first number one song. Miss Angela. He is the one that produced the song. Him and Solidarity. He is the first man to give me a number one in my life. And now I have 187 to count.

You mentioned that you left your home to go to the dance at the age of five. You have Sizzla and Agent Sasco on the new record for the song Call The Crew. Sasco told me a similar story about leaving his home at age five and getting on the mic.
Yeah man, that's how it goes. You see, Jamaican artists we started out from kids. We just have to decide our lives and say we are going to do this or do that. I realise now that every artist did the same thing that we did. Do things to please the mother. So the school thing, we have to do that. Go to school and graduate, get the diploma. Just for mum’s sake so that she can be alright. But we as artists we know exactly what we're going to be from when we are five years old. We're not scared. We are Jamaicans. We’re afraid of nothing! (Laughs)

In the same song you mention being “young on Maxfield Avenue”. What did you used to do on Maxfield Avenue, location of the great Channel One studio?
Oh! Maxfield Avenue is my place. That's also how I got to know Tristan Palmer.

That's what I was thinking. He must have spent a lot of time at Channel One.
Yeah man, that is the connection! We’d go and check Tristan Palmer, Early B, Tenor Saw. Maxfield Avenue was my place to go and hang out in the daytime as a youth. I used to live across town so I would leave school, take the 15 bus, come off at Waltham and walk over to Maxfield.

Is that where you met Barrington Levy?
I met Barrington Levy at Jungle, right in the part that Volcano Sound comes from. I knew Barrington Levy from when he was young. He was a man who just looked older when he was young. He still looks the same way. Half Pint, Junior Reid, all of them I knew them from when I was a youth.

When you won the Tastee Talent contest in 1981, which songs did you sing and who did you beat? Nadine Sutherland told me she beat Yellowman in 1979.
I sang my first recordings, Too Fancy and Over The Sea. I beat everybody! It was like Junior Tucker, Nadine Sutherland, Chevelle Franklyn. I got beaten the first time by Yellowman. The first time I entered was me and Yellowman. Yellowman wore yellow shoes, a yellow hat and yellow glasses and sang a song about being yellow and I couldn't beat him. There was nothing I could do! (Laughs) But the next time I went back and I actually won.

As mentioned, Bounty Killer is on the song Blue Lights. Do you two laugh about the old days?
Yeah, of course. We have been in war for what… 22 years? So all we have to do is purely laugh about it because we were never nasty. We have never had a fight. We have never had a fuss more than lyrical fights and lyrical arguments. It is just lyrical confrontation.

Recently there's been confrontation over dancehall artists getting fair credit by hip-hop artists. Some of this focussed on your sample on Controlla by Drake. As somebody who knows the music, what is the exact relationship is between dancehall and hip-hop? Is reggae hip-hop's father? Are dancehall and hip-hop cousins?
Dancehall built hip-hop, man. Without dancehall, so there be no hip-hop, my lord. Some of the biggest hip-hop songs are taking from Jamaican songs. You know that and I know that too. For example, the first man who did hip-hop is Jamaican.

Kool Herc?
DJ Kool Herc
. The man who sang Kung Fu Fighting [Carl Douglas] is Jamaican. Busta Rhymes is Jamaican. Biggie Smalls is Jamaican. So the music is Jamaican influenced 100%.

Jamaica has also been very influenced by America since the 50s.
Yes man, since the 50s for true. The cars and the dressing and the gold chains and the big watches and all those things. Otherwise our music influences hip-hop music. There is no rapper’s house that you can go in right now that doesn't have a Bob Marley picture.

There is a desire, within elements of the industry, to try to copyright Jamaican musical forms. Is that realistic?
Not really. There is no copywriting dancehall. Dancehall music comes from everything else. If they copyrighted dancehall music then you’re copyrighting the next man’s style. Because dancehall music comes from the foundation. It never changes. Everything that we do, the youth that come after us will come and do it back. If you copyrighted dancehall everybody would be broke. Nobody would earn any money! (Laughs)

As someone who has performed at Sting many times, what do you think of Sting’s new international concept?
I am not involved with Sting. I don't have anything to do with Sting. I am done with Sting. I don't think it's any longer a ghetto show because of the price. $3000, $5000 to go in as a VIP. It is no longer a ghetto show. Ghetto people don't have that money. I have nothing to do with Sting. Notice I haven't done Sting for the past 10 years. I don't know anything about Sting or the concept or anything that they are talking about.

You recorded the song Three Against War with Tristan Palmer and Dennis Brown. You also recorded with Dennis’ daughter Marla Brown. What are your memories of Dennis?
Dennis Brown
was my greatest artist I've ever seen in my life. My memory of Dennis Brown is when the big artists busted Jamaica like Shabba Ranks and Ninjaman, Dennis Brown would close the show. When Papa San and Tiger ran the place Dennis Brown would close the show. He is one of our greatest artists, other than Bob Marley. We knew Dennis Brown. Dennis Brown was the nicest man you could ever know.

 

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Images

Febuary 12 2015

1 Amid The Noise And Haste SOJA

2 Monk Monte Machel Montano

3  Fly Rasta Ziggy Marley

4 Count Me In Rebelution

5 Music Unites Vol. 4: Reggae Around The World Various Artists

6 Alter Ego Lady Saw

7 Hawai'i 13 The Green

8 Kingston City New Kingston

9 Strictly The Best, Volume 50 Various Artists

10 Soul Riot The Lions