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!
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