Latest entries

The ‘Marley’ Movie Premiere

The 'Marley' Movie Premiere

Reshma B Reporting From Emancipation Park in Kingston—April 19, 2012

This Friday, Kevin MacDonald’s acclaimed 2012 documentary film Marley will be re-released via virtual cinemas and drive-ins across the country as part of the year-long celebration of Bob Marley’s 75th anniversary. According to film’s distributor Blue Fox Entertainment, information about digital screenings of Marley can be found on MarleyMovie.com starting July 31. (Appropriately enough, Jamaica celebrates Emancipation Day on August 1.) The emotional and inspiring story follows Robert Nesta Marley from his upbringing in the rural Jamaican village of Nine Mile through his journey to Kingston’s tough Trenchtown neighborhood, where his musical career began. Featuring rare concert footage and exclusive interviews with Marley’s family and close friends, MacDonald’s goal was to get behind the legend and show us Marley the man. On April 19, 2012 the film had its Jamaican premiere at Kingston’s Emancipation Park, and I was one of the privileged few who attended the special screening. There were many VIP guests, including his wife Rita Marley and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell, who signed Marley to an international record deal, and of course Kevin MacDonald himself.  Video & Story After The Jump… 

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Koffee Opens Up About “Lockdown”

Koffee Opens Up About "Lockdown"

“Where Will We GO?”

There’s still a lot of time left in Summer 2020, but on this last day of July we are declaring Koffee’s “Lockdown” Boomshots official 2020 Summer anthem. Produced by Dane “Raygad” Ray from the Unruly camp, the song finds Koffee asking all of the questions everybody in the world is asking themselves right now. What will the future be like “when the quaratine thing done and everybody touch road?” As soon as we heard this tune we knew it was outta here! (That was way before we saw the video with cameos from Popcaan and Dre Island.) More than just a Covid-era contemplation, “Lockdown” is also a poignant love song that speaks to the challenges of romance during a time of viral pandemic. As such, it represents a milestone in Koffee’s catalog. At the ripe old age of 20, the youngest Reggae Grammy winner in history has given us her first love song—and without overthinking it one bit, she might just have given us a follow-up to rival her breakthrough smash “Toast.” When you hear Koffee sing “if you love me, you should let me…” it’s clear she is in her feelings on this one. Of course everybody wants to know who this song was inspired by, but all we can say about that is just cool. In her first interview since “Lockdown” dropped, Koffee tapped in with Reshma B via Instagram Live and spoke about the inspiration behind the tune.  Video After The Jump… 

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WATCH THIS: Tarrus Riley “Fresh Prince of JA” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Tarrus Riley "Fresh Prince of JA" Official Music Video

Pandemic Got You Feeling Blue? T-4000 To The Rescue!

Versatility is Tarrus Riley’s middle name. Just the other day he previewed a soul-stirring acoustic prayer called “Remember Me” that was inspired by the trying times all of us have been going through amidst this dreadful pandemic. That was a glimpse of Tarrus in Singy Singy mode, the world-class songwriter, Jimmy Riley big son. Today he’s flipping the script to T-4000 mode, Tarrus hip hop alter ego, with Fresh Prince of JA off the Money Matters / Dutty Rock productions juggling of the same name. This tune will have you rewinding back forward to 1992 when Will Smith was taking over the television as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. Check out Tarrus’ take on Will Smith’s funky fresh theme song, with a beat riddim produced by News, son of dancehall legend Papa Michigan (who also makes a cameo in the video). The visuals are giving us some serious Tippa Lee and Rappa Robert vibes. Even when times are dread—especially when they are—we all need to have some fun now and then. Video After The Jump… 

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Junior Gong Pon Di Strong

Junior Gong Pon Di Strong

Reasoning With Zilla 25 Years Ago

Damian Marley was never intimidated by great expectations. Born  on this day in 1978, the youngest son of Robert Nest Marley did not hesitate to follow in some very large footsteps, entering the music industry at an early age. He started out singing in a group called The Shepherds, along with the children of reggae stars Freddie McGregor, Judy Mowatt, and “Cat” Coore of Third World. Former Shepherd Shiah Coore still plays bass in Damian’s band to this day.

During the mid 1990s Damian stepped out as a solo performer under the name Jr. Gong. On January 23 1995 he passed through New York City to promote the album Positively Reggae, a compilation of conscious tracks by dancehall artists like Shabba Ranks, Mad Cobra, Bounty Killer, and Patra with proceeds going to benefit Leaf of Life, a Jamaican organization for HIV-positive children.

This photo, shot by Brian Jahn during the same press run, gives you an idea of what his hair looked like back then. Today his dreadlocks are so long he has to tuck them into a backpack when he plays soccer. I had a chance to reason with Damian that day for my Boomshots column in VIBE. He seemed like a cool youth at the time, but I had no idea this convo would be the start of such a long-lasting friendship. After all he’s accomplished since then, D remains remarkably chill. The interview has never been published in its entirely. 25 years later seems like as good a time as any. Big Up Jr. Gong. Blessings pon di strong. Interview After The Jump…
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Vybz Kartel Speaks Of Dons and Of Divas

Vybz Kartel Speaks Of Dons and Of Divas

Crocodile Skin Sneakers

Little known fact: the very first post on Boomshots.com went live February 10, 2009. The title? “Don’t Ramp With Kartel.” Adidja Palmer and Grace Hamilton’s smash collab “Rampin Shop,” an X-rated excursion on Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent” version, was taking the streets by storm and had the internet  spinnin’ like a satellite dish—just as a new platform for dancehall and reggae was born. VIBE magazine had not yet ceased print publication but the mighty Boomshots brand, which started as a monthly column in Quincy Jones’ glossy hip hop magazine, was already leveling up on the digital frontier—at the same moment Kartel and Spice were about to elevate hardcore dancehall to new heights. Over the years Boomshots and Kartel have kept in touch. The first of our timeless interviews, “Reasoning with Di Teacha,” was just the beginning. Boomshots founder Rob Kenner published a profile of Kartel in The New York Times in 2011. From time to time we would link up with the Worlboss and various representatives of the Portmore Empire—search BoomshotsTV for a refresher if you’re playing catch-up. Back in 2013 we held a reasoning via email due to circumstances beyond our control, which would be Kartel’s first interview behind bars. He has come a long way since then. Check the stats: Over half a billion streams, 100+ #1 songs in Jamaica, not to mention all the dancehall stars he brought to the world’s attention, from Popcaan to Tommy Lee to Gaza Slim—and the list goes on straight up to Sikka Rhymes and UTG. And don’t forget the international collabs with the likes of Rihanna, Missy, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Major Lazer, Akon, and Eminem. And just the other day Kartel received his first solo plaque from the Recording Industry Association of America for the certified gold single “Fever” off his album King of the Dancehall. In honor of this accomplishment, not to mention the release of his latest magnum opus, Of Dons & Divas, the time seemed right to catch up and hold a reasoning with Adi. Interview After The Jump…
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WATCH THIS: Bob Marley “No Woman No Cry” 2020 Visuals

WATCH THIS: Bob Marley "No Woman No Cry" 2020 Visuals

A Fresh Look at a Classic Tune

Amidst outbreaks of viral pandemic and police brutality, the best thing anyone can say about 2020 is that it’s the year of Bob Marley’s 75th Birthday Celebration. And while the year has been terrible and dreadful, Bob Marley’s music has offered much-needed inspiration. The Tuff Gong’s 1984 greatest hits collection Legend has topped the charts every week since mid January when it knocked Stick Figure out of the top spot. What more relevant soundtrack for these trying times than Bob Marley. Today is July 1, International Reggae Day, and what better way to celebrate than by rediscovering one of Marley’s classic songs, “No Woman No Cry”? Today Boomshots and VIBE proudly present a brand new official music video, directed by Kristian Mercado Figueroa and shot in Jamaica and New York City. The poignant, verite visual tells the tale of a family divided by geography yet connected by love and a shared commitment to providing a better life for their youths. In Jamaica, a strong and loving Mother strives to look after her children while their Father works tirelessly as a cab driver in New York City, grooving to Bob Marley while he prepares a barrel to send home. Video After The Jump…
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Buju Banton Covers VIBE x Boomshots Collab

Buju Banton Covers VIBE x Boomshots Collab

A VIBE x Boomshots Collab: Redemption Songs
Jamaica’s Undefeated Champion Returns

Forward ever,” the late great Jacob “Killer” Miller used to sing. “And backward never.” Reggae music has always been about forward motion, the movement of Jah people, up from downpression and forward to Holy Mount Zion, because freedom is a must. Still, every once in awhile, it doesn’t hurt to take a glance over your shoulder, if only to take the measure of one’s progress. Just to remember the long walk, and to make sure that history is not a mystery. Some stories have got to be told. Story Continues After The Jump…  Read more »

Buju Banton and Stephen Marley Speak on “Duppy Conqueror (Yes Mi Friend)”

Buju Banton and Stephen Marley Speak on "Duppy Conqueror (Yes Mi Friend)"

A Celebration of Real Friendship, 50 Years After The Wailers Original

“Yes me friend, we deh pon street again.” 50 years after The Wailers’ original “Duppy Conqueror,” Stephen Marley and Buju Banton lift up their voices and join together in one harmony to create a crucial selection off Buju’s highly anticipated new album ‘Upside Down.’ After watching them perform the song together for the first time on the Welcome to Jamrock Reggae Cruise, Reshma B reasoned with Ragga about the story behind the song. A few monthe later she caught up with Buju at Gargamel Studios in Kingston to hear his perspective on this powerful new song with a timeless vibration. Let the reasoning begin. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Chronixx ft. Kabaka Pyramid “Same Prayer” Official Visuals PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Chronixx ft. Kabaka Pyramid "Same Prayer" Official Visuals PREMIERE

“Look deep within ourselves”

Do not be deceived by the gorgeous vistas of Jamaican mountainscape displayed in the visuals for “Same Prayer.” This subtly crafted song is more concerned with navigating the treacherous terrain of humanity’s inner landscape than enjoying the view outside. And it’s definitely not all zen, yoga, and spirulina. “There’s so much good in the world,” Chronixx sings, “And still evil a lurk.” The song finds him beseeching the Almighty (JAH) to protect him and his loved ones (I and I) “from the ones who nuh care ’bout the fact we share the same air / and the blood that we bleed is alike.” In other words, it’s a song for this exact moment. When people are dying every day and nobody seems to have the answers. A time when we all do what we need to do. Seen? By the end of the third verse, Chronixx is  crying a river of tears and hoping Jah Jah hears. Then it’s time to touch the road—”Tuck it inna me waist and start up the bike.” Today Boomshots and VIBE proudly premiere the official visuals for “Same Prayer.”  Video After The Jump…

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Richie Spice Running “Red Hot” on ‘Together We Stand’

Richie Spice Running "Red Hot" on 'Together We Stand'

Singing Music With A Mission

“The almighty savior was a poor man,” says roots reggae icon Richie Spice “but still rich because he ruled all of the earth, air, and water — which we don’t have control over. He was born in a manger. So the message is: no matter how poor you born, you can still be a great person in life.” Richie Spice himself has risen up from humble beginnings to establish himself among the leading reggae artists of his generation over the past two decades. His latest single, “Valley of Jehoshaphat (Red Hot),” continues his mission of singing righteous songs for the upliftment of mankind. “When Jah come from Bozrah with his garment dipped in blood / It a go red hot, red hot, red hot down in Jehoshaphat,” he croons passionately on the Clive Hunt-produced single, driven by commanding horns and a steady bassline that anchors Richie’s message. The song has a slew of biblical references, something which Richie hasn’t shied away from throughout his career, in keeping with his Rastafarian faith. (Burning Spear referenced the same passage from the Book of Revelations in his classic 1975 track “Jordan River.”) The song’s official music video—directed by Samo Kush-I Johnson—follows an elder through lush scenes of nature that is interspersed with fiery images of our world crumbling before our very eyes. Video After The Jump… Read more »

Bounty & Beenie on Verzuz: Jamaica’s version of ‘The Last Dance’

Bounty & Beenie on Verzuz: Jamaica's version of 'The Last Dance'

What Could Top This Legendary Moment?

 

The VERZUZ series led by Swizz Beats and Timbaland has been an oasis in the midst of a pandemic. Week after week, music lovers have enjoyed the nostalgia, the spontaneous comedy, and the opportunity to bring the proverbial roses to their favorite artists. 

The anticipation was at a fever pitch when it was announced that dancehall giants, Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, would headline VERZUZ for a Memorial Day soundclash. 

Excitement mixed with anxiety. Dancehall fans have always wanted our music to receive its proper due on the global stage. It is a great genre that has birthed hip-hop, reggaeton, Afrobeat, influenced the sound of songs on the top 40 but does not always receive its rightful recognition. 

For these legendary artists, their fans, and dancehall culture overall, the stakes were high, to say the least. Would the VERZUZ audience, primarily Hip-Hop and R&B fans, receive these giants well? Would their misunderstanding—or even worse, ridicule—lead to embarrassment? Story Continues After The Jump…
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Dre Island Elevates With Debut Album ‘Now I Rise’

Dre Island Elevates With Debut Album 'Now I Rise'

“We rise to the top… cause we know what it takes”

“We rise to the top,” Dre Island sings on “We Pray,” his massive collab with Popcaan, “cause we know what it takes.” Building on that theme of musical and spiritual elevation, the multi-talented musician—singer, deejay, songwriter, producer, and pianist—has just released his debut album Now I Rise. The project features the aforementioned “We Pray” as well as crucial collaborations with the likes of Jesse Royal and Chronixx. “Ah mi family dem deh,” says Dre Island, who has toured Europe backed by Chronixx’s band Zincfence Redemption. A graduate of Kingston’s Calabar high school—alma mater of both Jr. Gong and Vybz Kartel—Andre Johnson aka Dre Island is a living link between the vaunted “roots revival” movement and the sound of the Jamaican streets. “The revival is really within the people,” he says. “Reggae music never stop. Reggae artists always been touring. So it’s just the people’s awareness.” During a time when reggae and dancehall stand at a crossroads, Dre Island has emerged as one of the few artists capable of bringing together dancehall vibes and the ancient roots traditions—not to mention outernational connections like “People” his collaboration with UK talents Cadenza and Jorja Smith. “An island is a small land mass surrounded by water,” the artist told Boomshots correspondent Reshma B in their first interview. “But if you read further it’s also a place where you go to find yourself.” Video After The Jump…  Read more »