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HEAR THIS: Richie Stephens “Let’s Dance”

HEAR THIS: Richie Stephens "Let's Dance"

Crucial Steely & Clevie Production Rescued From The Hard Drive

When veteran musicians and connoisseurs of great music speak of the “good old days” there is an unfortunate tendency among some younger heads to roll their eyes and tune out. But what if they really don’t make em like they used to? How will the cultural traditions of any musical genre be upheld and kept alive without a portion of love and respect, not to mention patience and attention to detail? The greatness of Jamaican music, for example, was established by pioneers like Clement “Coxsone” Dodd. Countless immortal songs and instrumental tracks which originated at Dodd’s legendary Studio One have been passed down over the years and decades, creating a mighty musical legacy. John Holt’s “Let’s Dance,” for example, was first recorded by one of Dodd’s ace house bands, Sound Dimension. The original recording may be slightly lo-fi by today’s standards, but the brilliance of both the musicianship and Holt’s vocal performance are undeniable. A decade or so later, master saxophonist Richard “Dirty Harry” Hall produced a superior cover version, with vocals by the Cool Ruler himself, Gregory Isaacs. Both Dodd and Holt, Hall and Issacs have all passed away, but the music they made together lives on, built as it was upon a solid foundation. The latter recording inspired the great production team of Wycliffe “Steely” Johnson and Cleveland “Clevie” Brown, who laid down their own version of the sweetly lilting riddim track shortly before Steely took ill and eventually passed away on September 1, 2009. “Clevie just recently found back the riddim on a hard drive, and decided to voice Richie Stephens on it,” reports their associate and archivist Danny Pepperseed. This track will be featured on Richie’s forthcoming album Luv-A-Dub Style, which is due for release early next year. Judging by this tantalizing preview, the record can’t come soon enough. Listen keenly. Audio After The Jump…
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Sizzla Scorches New York City

Sizzla Scorches New York City

The King of Kings Mashes Down B.B. Kings

Outside the weather was watery, but pure fire blazed inside B.B. King Blues Club & Grill as Sizzla Kalonji took the stage of the storied Times Square centralized venue for the very first time early morning on October 22. In contrast to his previous New York City performance at Irie Jam’s 23rd Anniversary, his first in the area after an eight-year absence, Sizzla was without a live band and relied upon a selector to run the riddims. Unlike the open air of Irie Jam’s Roy Wilkins Park where the vibrations carried into the universe beyond, the confined vibes of the closer, more intimate space of B.B. King allowed the mystic to reverberate and pulsate to and fro, rebound off the walls and permeate the souls of the assembled. With Sizzla’s energy capable of reaching every individual in an unchained environment such as Roy Wilkin’s Park, to be exposed to his intensity amidst such intimacy was a powerful and sometimes overwhelming experience. Continues After The Jump… Read more »

Reasoning with Jack Scorpio: “Good Music Come In Like The Bible”

Reasoning with Jack Scorpio: "Good Music Come In Like The Bible"

Heartical Words of Wisdom From the Founder of Black Scorpio Sound System And Record Label

Among the many icons, legends and superstars we were able to link up at Irie Jam’s recent 23 anniversary celebration concert was elder statesman Jack Scorpio of Black Scorpio sound. A giant in the industry and among men, this powerful pioneer has had his hands on the careers of a cornucopia of crème de la crème cultural current creators from Dennis Brown and Gregory Isaacs to Garnet Silk and Luciano to Beenie Man, Buju and Mega Banton to Capleton, Bounty Killer, Barrington Levy and Shabba Ranks of Jamaica’s Order of Distinction.  As a man who has launched legacies and banged out hits with the best of the best, Jack Scorpio knows a thing or two about the rules of engagement in the love and war of Dancehall and Roots and Culture Reggae. “My history too long fi talk,” said the tall man dressed in full white—but with a bit of perseverance, we convinced him to give it a try, and he took the time to share his insights with the BOOMSHOTS TV cameras.

Jack Scorpio doesn’t come out to events often, but he was pleased that he attended Irie Jam’s 23rd anniversary and had positive vibes to share, especially of rising sun, Jahmiel, who he wants to work with, and the things Jahmiel had to share in terms of critiques of the current Dancehall culture. Scorpio likened today’s Dancehall to destructive drug dealing and called for balance. “Good music come like the bible,” he says, and it’s time for artists, and the selectors who play the chunes, to take it to the next level and make immortal music. Turn on and tune in as Jack Scorpio reasons on Dancehall dimensions, trends on the changing winds, and why hit songs with stamina and staying power solidify like Holy Scripture. Videos After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Charly Black “Hustler’s Paradise (Henny Situation)” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Charly Black "Hustler's Paradise (Henny Situation)" Official Music Video

When The Top Trelawney General’s Under His Henny, Please Don’t Violate

“Whoooah!” Hailing from Jamaican parish of Trelawney, Charly Black first rose to prominence as a selector for Bass Odyssey sound system. He recorded his debut single “Woman It’s You” under the name Tony Mentol in 2004 and went on to change his name as he began working with Coppershot Productions (their tune “High Grade” is a certified Boomshot ganja anthem). His 2014 track “Gyal You a Party Animal,” voiced on Kurt Riley’s Jambe-An riddim, became an international hit, particularly in South America which led to a major label distribution deal. Charly Black’s latest release was produced by Thirty Six Degrees and distributed by the mighty 21st Hapilos with a video by Xtreme Arts that demonstrates the power of a bottle of Henny and some pretty girls. Video After The Jump…
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Peter Tosh Unchained: “I’m Not A Politician, But I Suffer The Consequences”

Peter Tosh Unchained: "I'm Not A Politician, But I Suffer The Consequences"

Don’t Sleep—The Stepping Razor Is Still Dangerous

“If you wanna live,” sang PETER TOSH beneath a full moon at Kingston, Jamaica’s National Stadium, “treat me good.” Standing firm as lightning flashed over the stage, the man called Stepping Razor spat bitter truths and ganja smoke in the faces of Prime Minister Michael Manley, opposition leader Edward Seaga, a gathering of their ghetto henchmen, and a large contingent of well-armed police—while thousands of Kingstonians bore witness. Tribal war between gangs loyal to Manley’s socialist PNP and Seaga’s right-wing JLP had claimed too many lives since the 1976 general elections, so on April 22, 1978, a big reggae show was held with the explicit aim of easing the tension. That same night, Tosh’s former bandmate Bob Marley managed to bring Manley and Seaga onstage for a symbolic joining of hands that did not exactly bring an end to the violence. It did, however, become an iconic tableau within Marley mythology, thanks in part to the documentary, Heartland Reggae. Tosh, on the other hand, refused to allow any American “pirates” to film his hour-long set. Thankfully an audio recording survives, preserving the songs and speeches that nearly cost him his life. Story Continues After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Skinny Banton “Jab Behavior”

HEAR THIS: Skinny Banton "Jab Behavior"

New Single Causing A Soca Frenzy

The song, “Jab Behavior” is creating a hysteria well in advance of the upcoming Carnivals in Trinidad and Tobago and Carriacou.  The song contains a tantalizing riddim produced by Hector “Legz” Thomas and  Skinny Banton signature vocals.  In the song, he uses his native tongue with deep vocals to describe  jab culture.  In 2011, Skinny Banton won his first People’s Choice title and then consecutively in 2012 and 2013. He won the 2012 Soca Monarch Competition in the Tri-state of Grenada, Carriacou and Petit Martinique, and in 2013 he was crowned the Road March King. The sky is the limit as this artist continues to distinguish himself on a international level with his songs. Audio After The Jump

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Clive Hunt Pays Tribute to Bobby Ellis

Clive Hunt Pays Tribute to Bobby Ellis

Legendary Producer Remembers Jamaica’s Late Great Hornsman

One of Jamaica’s most accomplished musicians, trumpet master Bobby Ellis, died on Tuesday at the University Hospital of the West Indies. The Jamaica Observer reports that he was admitted in late September suffering from pneumonia. During his 84 years on earth, Bobby Ellis and his trusty horn made a mighty legacy. A graduate of the famed Alpha Boys School, he often played alongside fellow alumni Tommy McCook, “Deadly” Headley Bennett, and the immortal tromphonist Don Drummond, and was awarded the Order of Distinction in 2014 for his outstanding contributions to Jamaican culture. His session works are too numerous to mention, from Boby Andy’s “I’ve Got To Go Back Home”  to Burning Spear’s classic Marcus Garvey album. Mr. Ellis arranged the horns for Jack Ruby’s stellar Black Disciples band and toured extensively with Spear over the years. He also collaborated with the noted jazz artist Herbie Mann. As news of Ellis’s passing has spread, numerous tributes have appeared on social media, but few more moving than that of legendary producer Clive “Uglyman” Hunt. Story Continues After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Lutan Fyah “Sweet Trichomes” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Lutan Fyah "Sweet Trichomes" Official Music Video

Brand New Visuals Fi Di Ganja Man Dem

Born in Spanish Town, Jamaica Lutan Fyah studied architecture and played professional football before launching into a music career in 1999. Cutting early records for Buju Banton’s Gargamel label, he would go on to collab with such culturally inclined artists as Lucinano and Turbulence. On his latest release, produced by Tim Dub, Fyah goes beyond the usual ganja tune cliches, giving a botanical lesson on the definition of “trichomes” and how these small glandular hairs growing from the epidermis of herb buds relate to the cultivation of the cannabis plant. Video After The Jump…
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Reasoning With The Ranks:
“Every day, another star is born from the ghetto. A star isn’t born from the hills and society either. It’s from the ghetts that the youth dem ah push up.”

Reasoning With The Ranks: “Every day, another star is born from the ghetto. A star isn’t born from the hills and society either. It's from the ghetts that the youth dem ah push up.”

In Honor of Shabba’s Order of Distinction, We Present An In-Depth Interview with the Dancehall Emperor

“Triumphant,” said Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, better known to music lovers as Shabba Ranks. “Dat a my feeling right now because, as my mother used to tell me from I was little, hard work does pay off.” The dancehall emperor, who now resides in the United States, returned to Kingston, Jamaica this week to receive one of his homeland’s highest honors, the Order of Distinction. According to the Jamaica Observer, the crowd cheered wildly as the impeccably attired Ranks appeared on the great lawn at King’s House, the opulent residence of the island’s Governor General. Sir Patrick Allen personally bestowed the honor on this ghetto youth who took dancehall music around the world, earning the genre’s first gold record and two consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album. “So we can see dat de validation for hard work is jus’ greatness — good really begets good,” said Shabba. “For my island to look at me as one of those proteges and bestow the Order of Distinction pon me, when I first hear, it’s just delight, joy. It cause me to think about how, for so many years, me a work with the strength of my forefathers who did their work and still could not achieve dis in their lifetime… So mi jus’ proud.” The 50-year-old artist joins a distinguished group of  Jamaicans in the fields of music, art, sports, politics, medicine, and journalism. Fellow honorees include Usain Bolt, Sir Coxsone Dodd, and Lee “Scratch” Perry.  Interview After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Courtney John “Strangers”

HEAR THIS: Courtney John "Strangers"

Warm & Easy Modern Vintage Groove With An Undeniable Edge of Tension

Courtney John’s distinctive falsetto sets an enigmatic mood on this ominous dubwise selection. with uniqueness that simply radiates. The singer who brought us Made in Jamaica five years ago jetted to Paris to work on his forthcoming album, also entitled Strangers, scheduled for a January 25 release. Produced by Guillaume “Gee” Metenier—who decsribes his sound as psychedelic soul jazz funk and early reggae. The singer linked with Gee in Kingston, JA and they previously collaborated on a next banger called “All I Know.” The “Strangers” riddim track is performed by top players from Paris’ international music scene. This one is radiant, strange, and special. Audio After The Jump…
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WATCH THIS: Atumpan ft. Big Narstie “We Like It” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Atumpan ft. Big Narstie "We Like It" Official Music Video

Afrobeat Meets Grime In The Streets of London, Kingston, Tokyo, Accra & NYC

Last time we heard from Atumpan the UK-based Ghanaian artist (whose name meaning “Talking Drum” in Akan) was up in the club with Paigey Cakey talkin’ about not watching nobody. Now he’s back with another sick collab, this time with London’s own Big Narstie.  Just how irresistible is this track? It seems to have made one girl start dancing while she’s on the toilet! Video After The Jump…
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WATCH THIS: Kabaka Pyramid “Kabaka vs. Pyramid” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Kabaka Pyramid "Kabaka vs. Pyramid" Official Music Video

Accurate Lyricist Drops Battle-Rap-Themed Video

Kabaka Pyramid continues the trend of Rastafarian artists rapping over boom bap hip-hop beats. In this video, aptly titled “Kabaka vs. Pyramid,” the artist pays homage to battle rap and stages a rap battle with himself. Hip hop has a long history of alter-egos, from Tupac/Makavelli to Eminem/Slim Shady, and even T.I. vs. T.I.P. Will the Bebble Rock spitter continue the trend in dancehall? Rockin’ over Biggie’s “Gimme The Loot” riddim, one persona keeps it patois while the other is twangin’ like a youth who spent time in Miami as he was coming up. Watch the video and find out who wins. Video After The Jump…
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