Monthly archive December, 2012

WATCH THIS: Busy Signal “Artist” Official Video

Busy Delivers A Scathing Critique of So-Called Artists Who Insist on Messing Up The Game

One good thing about going away for a while, when you come back you tend to see things a bit more clearly. And sometimes people are more inclined to listen to you. Let’s hope the whole reggae biz heeds the message of Busy’s latest video and takes it to heart. Nobody wants to discourage talented people from getting into the game, but somebody’s got to make a case for quality control. And it never hurts to do it with a touch of humor. Bu make no mistake. Busy’s dead serious when he says “What a disgrace inna the music fraternity. Right now the music need a surgery…” Video After The Jump…
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Beres Hammond Interview: “There’s A Power Within Love Songs”

The Maestro Speaks On The State of Reggae Today, The Real Buju Banton, and His Own Musical Legacy

For me, it started with Full Attention. Hugh Beresford Hammond’s first album for V.P. Records began with a drum roll and a saxophone tendril that laid the foundation for the textured tenor to plead his case with a lady who didn’t seem to know he was alive. It was full-on lovers rock reggae with R&B and soul sensibilities made by a man who dreamt of crooning like Sam Cooke and Otis Redding. The music was accessible—at least more so than the Sugar Minott, Burning Spear, and Culture records that spun in my New Jersey home on Sunday mornings over cornmeal porridge. Beres may not have had any honorific titles laid onto him, like the Crown Prince of Reggae, but for my money he’s every bit as legendary as any of the greats that came before him.

You can start with his voice, which is as strong as it is soulful and soothing. When he belts out a tune, even when his grainy vocals are pushed to the limits, it feels effortless. The voice works with the music to emphasize the words, always telling a story about real people, inflecting meaning where there previously was none.  Hammond sings like he’s wrenching the emotion from each word. My mother once told me one of her favorite songs was “Ain’t That Loving You” by Alton Ellis until she heard Beres sing it. On the other hand you can start with his songwriting. The best Beres Hammond songs distill relatable situations and feelings into clever, meaningful couplets wrapped in sticky melodies.

Relevancy is a tough coin to spin for a lot of artists, but throughout his thirty-year career Beres has managed to glide his distinctive voice through the dancehall revolution, partnering with wicked up-and-comers like Buju Banton. In high school, when all my friends were blasting Sean Paul’s Alton remix, I was hanging tough with “Who Say.” Hammond has lasted while maintaining his trademarked effortless cool. That’s why it was such a thrill to speak with him about his latest album One Love, One Life. To me, he’s like the reggae version of Jay-Z—so it’s fitting that he’ll be performing with The Roots tonight on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon and that he’ll take the stage tomorrow night at Barclays Center, the home of the Brooklyn Nets. Sure, many great artists have come before him, but to paraphrase Hov: No one’s been this good for this long, or this pop or this hot, with so many different styles. For that reason, Beres Hammond will continue to have my full attention. Interview After The Jump… Read more »

Popcaan Interview: “Tommy Lee Ah Me Bredda”

The ReggaeGirlAboutTown Chops It Up With The Hotskull

After rising through the Gaza ranks for years, Popcaan burst out big last year, coming into his own with massive hits like “Party Shot” And “Only Man She Wants.” This year has been all about next-level movements, from his first appearance in Vanity Fair magazine, to high-profile collabos with Pusha T and Snoop Lion. He also gave his first solo performance at Reggae Sumfest, which was where Reshma B caught up with him for this exclusive interview. He talked about performing without Vybz Kartel, downplays talk of any rivalry with Tommy Lee, pointing out that he brought Uncle Demon to the Gaza, and also shares the best advice his grandma ever gave him.  Video After The Jump…
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HEAR THIS: Snoop Lion Ft. Mavado & Popcaan “Lighters Up”

Gully Gad & Hotskull Blaze One With The Lion

The homie DreSkull just hit us on G-Chat and blessed us with the maddest Soundcloud link. The track is crazy plus it’s good to hear Snoop Lion sparring with a couple of real dancehall heavyweights—from the Gullyside and the Gaza—on some unity vibes. As  Mavado puts it: “We making money fuck the guns, we no want no enemies.”   Audio After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Kalado “Whole Night” Official Video

Alliance Next Generation Fi De Gal Dem

Few artists in the dancehall industry have brought as much young talent to light as Bounty Killer. From Mavado and Kartel to Wayne Marshall and Busy Signal, Bounty always shines a bright light on the youths in the business, building future stars along the way. In 2012, a new wave of stars is beginning to break—and they go by the name Alliance Next Generation. Kalado has already distinguished himself among A.H.G. representers with his blend of raw thug appeal and a winning touch with the girls. His latest video is a delicious daydream complete with a dream girl in a pink bikini. Video After The Jump… Read more »

HYPE TV Top 20: Vybz Kartel Grabs the Crown

The Werlboss Surges as Christopher Martin Slips 3 Spots;
Vybz Kartel may still be battling murder charges but that doesn’t mean he isn’t holding it down for his fans musically. The Werlboss’s tune “Back To Life” stepped up to the top spot on the HYPE TV countdown after 15 weeks on the chart—but how long can his fans keep him there? I-Octane and Bounty Killer have been on his heels since the beginning; let’s see how long Vybz can hold the crown. Videos And Full Countdown After The Jump. Read more »

HEAR THIS: Chino “Touch Your Body”

Sounds Like The Big Ship Bigger Bredda Wants To Ruff It Up

The last tune we heard from Chino was some lovey-dovey stuff, but enough of all that. This tune finds him feeling rude, telling the girls to “take the dancefloor and get naughty.” Girls from “all bout” are welcome—though Chino seems partial to the yardie gal dem—and he doesn’t care if she has a man. “Me ah no yuh man, but I can be one who turn your bow leg inna bandy.” Ah whoah. Audio After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Busy Signal “God Me Say”

Busy Speaks On His Incarceration, And Makes A Point To Burn Out Demons From Early
It seems that not a day goes by without Busy Signal dropping another heatrock in our inbox. But today’s tune stands out above for several reasons. First, it’s the most detailed account of Busy’s incarceration yet—aside from the refrain “Jailhouse no nice, bare chink and lice”—Busy speaks on his legal strategy (“Waive the rights to me extradition, caw me know me an innocent man”) as well as his decision to go straight home to Jamaica after his release rather than putting in a little work Stateside first (“Me couldn’t wait fi the damn plane land; me freedom worth more than gold and diamond.”) Apparently Busy enjoys an open rapport with Riff Raff Notice, the same producer responsible for his sexy homecoming tune “Jail Juice.” The other thing that jumps out on this song is the fourth line: “Me no mix up with no evil nor no demon.” Was that intended a warning shot at Tommy Lee? Guess  we’ll have to wait until Sting to find out for sure. Audio After The Jump…

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WATCH THIS: Jah Cure “World Cry” Video

Iyah Cure’s Long-Awaited Album Drops This Week
People pay attention! The pushbacks are over and the time is here. Three years in the making, Jah Cure’s album World Cry is finally set to drop this coming Tuesday. In case you missed his reworking of the title track, it’s time to get familiar all over again. Last year’s version of the song featured Keri Hilson & MDMA but with all due respect to those artists, the new version—featuring Jah Cure and nobody but Jah Cure—sounds way better.  Not only are the lyrics updated to reflect humanity’s latest struggles, from natural disasters to political unrest, but the melody soars higher—showing off one of the greatest voices to be heard in any genre of music today. Sounds like this albums’s gonna be something special. Listen up. Video After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Mojo Morgan ft. Peetah Morgan “New Dawn”

After A Medical Scare The “Rasta Rock” Chanter Has Got His Mojo Back

This past October Mr. Mojo, the youngest member of Morgan Heritage, collapsed during a Miami recording session and was rushed to the hospital. After recuperating from his illness, he’s back with newfound energy and a new record deal at Krian Music Group, the same indy label that’s now home to dead prez and Richie Loop. “After fighting through a near life threatening encounter, as I did last month, you tend to revamp your outlook on life,” Mojo said in a statement. “My single ‘New Dawn’ has become more relevant in my personal life. I hope to provide listeners with a vehicle to always look on the brighter side of a bad situation and the song gives me a second chance at doing just that.” Mojo calls his sound “Rasta Rock,” a blend of reggae, alternative, and hip-hop with a Top 40 twist. “New Dawn” samples Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” and features an uplifting hook from Mojo’s big brother Peetah. Audio & Lyric Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Prezident Brown & Axx of Jahpostles “Be Careful” Video

The Preszident Trods To Paris For His Latest Visuals

In the era of Auto-Tune and demonic dancehall shock jocks, Prezident Brown is one of those uncompromising microphone chanters who keeps the foundation style alive, channeling the one sound from the days of U Roy and U Brown and all them man deh. The under-rated but never out-dated rootical dancehall DJ linked up with Axx of Jahpostles for his new album on Tads Records, aptly titled I Sound Is From Creation. As you would expect the sound is 100% organic ital roots rock inna fine style, with words of wisdom to match. Long long time we don’t hear sounds like these. From creation, you know? Video After The Jump…
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HEAR THIS: I-Octane ft. Queen Ifrica “Wonderful Feelings”

Octane & Ifrica Sing About Love Inna Rootical Style

When’s the last time your lover told you “Ask me for anything”? That’s the kind of love I-Octane and Ifrica are singing about on their new duet “Wonderful Feeling,” which adapts the hook from the reggae classic “Joy In The Morning” and chips in some dancehall delivery from the Rasta singjays. “All day long me glowing from simply knowing later tonight me ah go see you,” Ifrica sings. Remember that feeling? Yeah. Total niceness. Audio After The Jump… Read more »