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“Strong Me Strong” Blessed Earthstrong King Yellowman

"Strong Me Strong" Blessed Earthstrong King Yellowman

Nuff Respect to a Dancehall Legend

Today marks the 65th birthday of Winston Foster, the youth raised in a Jamaican orphanage who was once ostracized for the color of his skin but turned adversity to his advantage on his way to becoming King Yellowman. Born with albinism, the future international celebrity was disowned by his parents but went on to collab with Run-DMC and record a massive catalog of classic tunes, blazing a trail for Jamaican dancehall culture around the world. In honor of his earthstrong, we’ve dipped into the Boomshots archives to share his remarkable story.  Check out Reshma B’s in-depth interview with King Yellowman and his daughter K’Reema recorded backstage in New York City, as well as an in-depth profile published over 20 years ago. Nuff Respect. Video And Article After The Jump…  Read more »

HEAR THIS: Runkus ‘IN:SIDE’ Album PREMIERE

HEAR THIS: Runkus 'IN:SIDE' Album PREMIERE

When We’re Not Outside, Take Care of In:Side

One of the few redeeming aspects of the year 2020 was the emergence of Runkus as a force to be reckoned with at the forefront of Jamaica’s vibrant music scene. As with many so-called “overnight success” stories, most of the rise of this multitalented singer, deejay, rapper, and producer has occurred under the radar. Or, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so memorably put it:

The heights by great men reached and kept
      Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
      Were toiling upward in the night.

Back in the Christmas season of 2014, Runkus popped up on the Reshma B Chains pop-up shop at Manor Park Plaza in Kingston. Identifying himself as “Paula’s son, aka Determine bwoy, aka Joyce grandson, aka Pam nephew” the tall, slim dreadlocks youth with a wide-brimmed hat proceeded to unleash a lyrical barrage alternating between dreamy spliff-fueled melodies and furious fast-chat syllables that promised greater things to come. Flash forward to this past November, when Runkus rolled out his witty “Quarantine Slide” visuals with Boomshots. Today he blesses us with a full album on the Delicious Vinyl Island label, aptly entitled IN:SIDE. “The project came about simply from the times,” says the artist and producer who lists Missy Elliott, Timbaland, and Vybz Kartel—not to mention his brilliantly inventive father Determine—as musical influences. “Being locked down in my home city, Portmore, under order of the Government,” he says, “I took to the only thing I knew, music. In a trying time, it was my salvation.” Album & Videos After The Jump… 

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Skillibeng Creates “Cinema for Ears” on ‘The Prodigy’ Skilltape

Skillibeng Creates "Cinema for Ears" on 'The Prodigy' Skilltape

Reasoning With Mr. Universe

It’s not easy to make a name for yourself in the midst of a viral pandemic, but as Skillibeng explains on his smash hit “Mr. Universe,” he’s built for this. “From before Corona me social distance,” spits Skilli, who celebrated his 24th birthday today with the release of his highly anticipated project, The Prodigy Skilltape, and an interview with Reshma B of Boomshots. It’s been a breakthrough year for the artist known as The Fresh Prince. On the strength of his relentless creativity and tireless work ethic, Skillibeng has emerged as the face of dancehall’s new era. Video After The Jump…
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Buju Banton’s ‘Til Shiloh’ Marks 25 Year Milestone

Buju Banton's 'Til Shiloh' Marks 25 Year Milestone

Reasoning With The Gargamel On The Making of a Classic

Before Buju’s landmark album Til Shiloh was released in 1995, he stopped by the VIBE offices to give me a preview. We shut the door of my office, popped a cassette in the stereo, and burned a spliff in the middle of the day while I heard songs like “Untold Stories” and “Til I’m Laid to Rest” for the first time. Songs like “Champion” and “Murderer” were already dancehall anthems, as was the late Garnet Silk’s “Complaint,” which Buju had enhanced with his raggamuffin DJ flow. As we wrapped up the listening session it became clear to me that Buju had created a timeless classic. A quarter of a century later, Buju has gone over many hills and valleys and he’s still standing strong. He appeared on the cover of VIBE in celebration of his long-awaited album, Upside Down 2020, which has since been nominated for a Best Reggae Album Grammy Award. And today Til Shiloh, recently certified gold by the Recording Industry Institute of America, marks its 25th anniversary with a deluxe reissue that features three exciting new tracks. In honor of the occasion, here is the converstion we had on that day back in 1995.  Interview After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Jada Kingdon “Green Dreams” Official Music Video & Exclusive Interview

WATCH THIS: Jada Kingdon "Green Dreams" Official Music Video & Exclusive Interview

Twinkle Secures The Bag

2020 will not go down as the easiest year in history, but Jada Kingdom has made the best of a tough situation. “It’s been a difficult year for everybody,” she says, “but I have channeled all my energy into being creative.” The Jamaican recording artist and swimwear designer can look back over a year of successes, from her mixtape E-Syde Queen: The Twinkle Playlist to  features on Popcaan’s red-hot Yiy Change Fixtape and Vybz Kartel’s soul-baring To Tanisha project. Back in August we premiered the music video for “Budum,” her first single for Diplo’s Mad Decent label, and watched her career launch to another level. She recently graced the cover of Tidal’s 2020 Reggae & Dancehall Rising playlist. And today she wraps the year up with a brand new music video, “Green Dreams.” Video After The Jump…
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“Dreams To Remember” Happy Birthday Toots

"Dreams To Remember" Happy Birthday Toots

Memories of A Legend On His Earthstrong

 

“Ready?” asked the drummer. “Yes sir!” Toots Hibbert replied.

The year was 1968, and Toots and the Maytals were about to make history at Federal recording studio in Kingston, Jamaica.

The drummer, Winston Grennan of Beverley’s All-Stars, counted off “1, 2…” and the band began to play a brand new sound. The fast-paced ska beat that took Jamaica by storm in the early ’60s had given way to a slower, sweeter sound known as rock steady around 1966. But on this day, the Maytals — a vocal trio comprising Toots and his friends Henry “Raleigh” Gordon and Nathaniel “Jerry” Mathias — were cutting a song called “Do the Reggay.”

Where rock steady songs were more delicate and romantic, the reggae beat was raw and muscular.

“I want to do the reggay with you,” Toots sang, his powerful voice cutting through the rhythm.

“Yeah yeah!” Raleigh and Jerry harmonized.

“Is this the new dance?” Toots went on. “Going around the town?” As soon as their song hit the streets, everybody in Kingston town wanted to do the new dance too.

Toots said the name was inspired by Jamaican slang for girls you see on the street. “From streggae to reggae,” he explained.

If you can sing a song that spawns an entire genre, that’s something. But if that genre goes on to impact global culture for the next half a century or so, you must truly be something special, someone astonishing. “Reggae has gone around the world now,” Toots told me in 2016. “And I never copyright it. If I had charged like a few cents, one cent, I would be a millionaire now.” Full Story After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Stonebwoy and Davido Connect In The “ACTIVATE” Music Video #PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Stonebwoy and Davido Connect In The "ACTIVATE" Music Video #PREMIERE

Ghana x Nigeria Link Up

We last tapped in with Ghana’s Afro-Dancehall monarch Stonebwoy when he premiered his “Blaze Dem” freestyle on VIBE x Boomshots to follow up the victory lap for his Anloga Junction album. Now he’s joined forces with Nigerian Afrobeats superstar Davido, who’s fresh off the relase of his album A Better Time, which features collabs with Nicki Minaj, Young Thug, Chris Brown, Nas and Hit-Boy. “The inspiration behind this song is to ACTIVATE positive energy,” says  Stonebwoy. “To ACTIVATE love and to ACTIVATE on the dance floor and see the combination of Afrobeats and Dancehall take over the world.” Stone & David have known each other as far back as 2015, but “Activate” marks their first time collaborating. More than just popular entertainers, both artists are using their platforms for positive works. Davido has been on the front lines of the resistance movement against Nigeria’s abusive SARS police unit, while Stonebwoy recently led a massive march to promote peace and unity and good health in Ghana. The song was born out of a spontaneous vibe whilst Davido was on a weekend trip from Nigeria to Ghana. The video was shot the following day.​ VIBE and Boomshots are proud to premiere the visuals. Watch as two African icons come together to create musical magic. Video After The Jump…
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WATCH THIS: Runkus “Quarantine Slide” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Runkus "Quarantine Slide" Official Music Video PREMIERE

Facetime Flexin’ with the Ladies

Fresh off the success of his futuristic posse cut “5Gz,”—which featured the lyrical onslaught of Kabaka Pyramid, Jesse Royal, Royal Blu, and Munga Honorable—Runkus returns on a solo flex with fresh sounds called “Quarantine Slide.” Son of the brilliant if under-rated dancehall DJ Determine, Runkus was surrounded by music from an early age, and raised in an era where Jamaican youth were exposed to diverse outernational influences. “Our generation grew up on MTV and BET, so anything the international market showed us is what we drew to,” he told The Gleaner last year. “The first rapper I loved on my own was Missy Elliott, then I got into Timbaland productions, Lil Wayne, Notorious B.I.G., Tupac… At the same time, I got into other sounds, like Erykah Badu, Nina Simone, Justine Timberlake, all while listening to Vybz Kartel.” The dreamy synth-driven production on his latest release—courtesy of Runkus and Universal Zinc Fence from the Soul Circle family—bears traces of those diverse influences, including shout-outs to the WorlBoss and Shawn Storm. “The song was just an inspiration of the times,” says Runkus. “For those who are stuck inside with their significant others and for those who are stuck inside on their own, wanting to slide [lol]. We have to move forward but I wouldn’t advise anyone to get used to this as the ‘new normal’ but to create a new normal for themselves and loved ones, cause we only have each other.” Today Boomshots proudly premieres the brand new music video from Runkus. “The video was inspired by just being stuck inside,” says the artist / producer, “and thinking of the best most efficient way of displaying wanting to slide in the quarantine time — hence the constant calls.” Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Sizzla “Without You” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Sizzla "Without You" Official Music Video PREMIERE

Some Sweet Love Songs From Kalonji

“Righteousness will always get a fight,” Sizzla Kalonji once told me, “and that is only to make you stronger.” That conversation took place in 1997, he year Sizzla electrified lovers of reggae and dancehall music with two landmark albums, Praise Ye Jah and Black Woman & Child. Sizzla has gone on to become one of the most prolific artists of his generation, releasing his most recent album, Million Times in September—a collection of 12 sweet love songs, touching on the sounds that made songs like “Just One of Those Days” and “Give Me A Try” so legendary. “Beautiful people want to listen to the beautiful reggae music,” Sizzla told me. “And you know reggae bashes against corruption. It’s not just a music to sing spirituality only and to make you feel good and sing love songs, conscious songs. And it’s good for social commentary, a very good music to be used for social commentary. And any little thing happen to the poor people, we’re quick to express ourselves on dancehall riddims and on the one-drop roots rock reggae riddim. And what we’re explaining and expressing is the total truth. It’s a music that can be used for expressing our innermost feelings and thoughts.” Today VIBE and Boomshots proudly premiere the new music video from the album “Without You.” Big Up Kalonji every time.  Video After The Jump…
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WATCH THIS: David Lyn “Keep Moving” Visualizer PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: David Lyn "Keep Moving" Visualizer PREMIERE

Straight From Miami Via Tuff Gong Studios

David Lyn grew up in Miami, surrounded by music from an early age. A Jamaican-American youth who loved Michael Jackson and Usher as well as the stars of his island homeland, David was 13 years old when he got into the studio with his stepbrother, Andron Cross, now known to the world as Grammy-Award Winning Producer IzyBeats. Today Boomshots premieres the latest step on his musical journey, the visualizer for his song “Keep Moving,” recorded in Kingston Jamaica at Bob Marley’s legendary Tuff Gong recording studio. The song will be part of David Lyn’s forthcoming EP, Any Day Now. “Smooth seas never made a skilled sailor,” David points out. “No matter how big the waves get we must stay the course and keep moving.” Video After The Jump… Read more »

Ziggy Marley Votes For The First Time Ever

Ziggy Marley Votes For The First Time Ever

Music To Inspire A Movement

No more long talking from politicians. Today, the people have their say at the ballot box. Judging by the number of voters who showed up early this year, the 2020 election is going to smash all records for voter participation. With a deadly pandemic, wildfires, floods, economic pressure, and a struggle for survival playing out from the tweets to the streets, the stakes have never been higher. All of which goes to show why Ziggy Marley decided to vote this year for the first time ever. Video After The Jump…

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Murda She Wrote October 2020

Murda She Wrote October 2020

Unruly Boss Covers Reshma B’s Column on Tidal

At the end of each month, the Reggae Girl About Town rounds up the top tunes for her “Murda She Wrote” column on Tidal. If you’re looking for October’s wickedest selections, you’ve come to the right place. This month’s lineup features certified Boomshots by Popcaan, Chronixx, Spragga Benz & Konshens, and Skillibeng. It’s Murda!

Jamaica is a small island with an outsized impact on the world. “We likkle but we tallawah” is the local phrase that sums it up best. “Likkle” means “little,” of course, while “tallawah” is a patois term describing someone who’s “strong-willed, fearless and not to be taken lightly.” All of which is a good description for Popcaan, the 5-foot-6 musical giant who looms larger than ever over the global dancehall scene.  Music After The Jump… Read more »