Dancehall

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…
Read more »

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 »

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 »

WATCH THIS: Elephant Man “Skankers” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Elephant Man "Skankers" Official Music Video PREMIERE

“Dis Yah One Yah Make The Dancer Dem Madd”

“All of us put in work to try leave the ghetto,” said Elephant Man as he made his debut in the pages of VIBE back in April 1998. “That’s a feeling that really can’t leave you.” Posing in the photo shoot with an iced-out pachyderm pendant dangling from his next, Elly and his bredrens from the Scare Dem Crew—Boom Dandimite, Harry Toddler, and Nitty Kutchie—made it all the way from Seaview Gardens, one of Kingston’s hardest neighborhoods, to a full-page write up in VIBE’s NEXT section, the magazine’s showcase for “People on the Verge.” It was a good day—but Elephant was just getting started. The legendary dancehall icon would go on to share stages with Usher and Chris Brown, collab with Missy Elliott and Lil Jon, perform live on the nationally televised VIBE Awards, and sign a deal with Puff Daddy’s Bad Boy Records. Throughout it all, he continued repping Jamaican dancehall culture to the fullest. They say an Elephant never forgets.Video After The Jump… Read more »

Untold Stories: How Johnny Wonder Buss Bounty Killer

Untold Stories: How Johnny Wonder Buss Bounty Killer

“Big Up Yourself Johnny Wonder”

You don’t have to be a dancehall head to know Bounty Killer. He featured on No Doubt’s Grammy-winning pop smash “Hey Baby” and lit up Instagram this May during his epic Verzuz battle with Beenie Man. Arguably the most influential artist in modern dancehall history, Bounty Killer is thoroughly respected for many reasons—his prolific catalog of recordings, his stylistic impact on the art of deejaying, his advocacy for ghetto youths, not to mention the many artists he personally helped to “buss,” or break into the music business. Even the most casual dancehall fan should be aware of the major stars who benefited from Killer’s support early in their careers. Without Killer’s co-sign the world might never have experienced the talents of Elephant Man, Mavado, Busy Signal, or Vybz Kartel—to name just a few. With no Kartel we’d have no Portmore Empire, no Popcaan, and so on and so forth. But who helped Bounty Killer buss? The usual answer is to that question is King Jammy, who did produce Killer’s breakout hit “Copper Shot.” But how did that song become a hit? As Peter Tosh once sang, “half the story has never been told.” The world might not know this legend of Jamaican dancehall if not for an Italian youth from Brooklyn named Johnny Wonder.   Full Story After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Agent Sasco ft. Bounty Killer & Kabaka Pyramid “Loco” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Agent Sasco ft. Bounty Killer & Kabaka Pyramid "Loco" Official Music Video PREMIERE

“New Generation A Come Up Now”

Ever since Sasco linked up with TeflonZincFence to create “Loco,” it was clear that this was a special record. Teflon’s stripped-down beat hit like blunt force trauma, inspiring the artist formerly known as Assassin to serve up some of his hardest lyrics since Hope River. While speaking from a streetwise perspective, Sasco’s witty rhymes also expressed his concern for the youth—somewhere between Whitney’s “Greatest Love of All” and Slick Rick’s “Hey Young World.” The song took on a life of its own, as great songs do, and the streets demanded a remix. (One YouTube commenter suggested Sasco link up with Koffee and call the tune “Cocoa,” but I digress.) As fate would have it, Sasco recruited Killer and Kabaka for the remix, delivering a lyrical onslaught that was every bit as mad as the title suggests. Today Boomshots premieres the highly anticipated visuals for the remix—somewhat reminiscent of Biggie’s classic “Sky’s The Limit” video. “I’m very excited about the release of the ‘Loco Remix’ video,” says Sasco. “We went for a different concept which has my son, Joshua performing as me. He’s definitely excited for the release. It’s gonna be Loco!” How did Joshua do in his first starring role? As Sasco’s mentor dancehall legend Spragga Benz observed, “Weezy have di bounce.” Video After The Jump…
Read more »

WATCH THIS: TeeJay “Rags to Riches” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: TeeJay "Rags to Riches" Official Music Video PREMIERE

“UpTop Means Progress Overall”

The first time TeeJay linked up with Boomshots he was chilling out in the Bronx, braffin’ as usual, having just returned from a shopping spree with some fresh gear. During a streetside interview, Reshma B asked him the meaning of UpTop. “UpTop means progress overall,” he explained as cars drove past. “You know, if you up, you showing progress. Staying up, going up on a different level in life. I’m always going up in life.” The youth born Timoy Janeyo Jones was raised in the Glendevon section of Montego Bay and grew up in a musical family, recording songs with his older brothers from an early age. Since signing with Romeich Entertainment he has continued to level up, emerging as one of the most versatile dancehall stars of the new generation. Today Boomshots premieres the music video for his latest hit “Rags to Riches,” produced by Damage Musiq. “I came up with a bit of fusion reggae drums and R&B synth that gave that island vibe feeling where you just want to reminisce and be happy,” says the producer whose Billionaire Sheik Riddim provides the musical backdrop for the tune. “What inspires me to sing ‘Rags to Riches’ is the things that I have been through in life back then an’ where I am now today,” says TeeJay. “The people I am surrounded by and the things that we do, I used all those things and turned it into art. Poverty was an inspiration to me, so I wrote this song to motivate other people to show them that nothing is impossible in life an’ they should never give up.” Shot on location in MoBay by Xtreme Arts, the visuals show the UpTop boss leveling up from zinc fence streets to mansions and pool parties. Video After The Jump… Read more »

Reasoning with Skillibeng “I’m Still Trying To Write My Best Song”

Reasoning with Skillibeng  "I’m Still Trying To Write My Best Song"

“New Flows Always”

“Victory with an easy entrance” proclaimed Skillibeng on his dubplate for Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness ahead of the landslide victory in the 2020 election. Likewise, Skilli himself has been victorious this year in spite of the global pandemic, establishing himself as Jamaica’s new force, specialising in elevating lyrical standards. Seen by many as a face of the rising Trap Dancehall wave, the 23-year old reflects influences ranging from Vybz Kartel to deceased US drill bastion, Pop Smoke, paying tribute in remix of club-smash “Dior.”

Born in the eastern parish of St. Thomas, his passionate East Syder fanbase grows exponentially on a daily basis, drawn in by inventive flows and sharp lyricism. The vibrant countryside parish, better known historically for Paul Bogle, the Morant Bay Rebellion and rich Afrocentric traditions, is one of the trending regions for talents in dancehall. Skillibeng is the latest attraction alongside 6ixx’s Chronic Law and the unstoppable OVO-signed, Gaza-alumni star, Popcaan.

With co-signs ranging from Jamaican pocket rocket Koffee, incarcerated reigning dancehall king Vybz Kartel to rapper Young MA, the lyrical technician is making huge strides in his relatively new career. Since breaking through in early 2019 with the acclaimed Prodigy mixtape, a slew of releases including guest spots on Jada Kingdom’s popular mixtape E-Syde Queen: The Twinkle Playlist, the weed ode “50 Bag” and “Mr. Universe,” along with controversial hit “Brik Pan Brik” sparking debates around Scamming songs (songs about the lifestyle of lottery scammers—an increasingly popular hustle tied to organized crime in Jamaica), all aided the young talent in establishing himself as a forerunner among the new generation.  Marvin Sparks speaks with Skillibeng about his year 2020 rise in lockdown, Popcaan friendship, collaborating with Vybz Kartel, lottery scamming culture and recording a dubplate for the Jamaican Prime Minister. Q&A After The Jump…
Read more »

WATCH THIS: Stonebwoy “Blaze Dem Freestyle” Music Video

WATCH THIS: Stonebwoy "Blaze Dem Freestyle" Music Video

“Defend The Turf An’ Ting…”

Stonebwoy had nothing much to prove when he and his entourage—known as the BHIM Nation—rolled up on a fleet of motorbikes this past weekend to a highly anticipated battle with Shatta Wale, his chief rival for the title of Africa’s Dancehall King. Stonebwoy has come a long way since his humble beginnings in Ashaiman, a seaside town on the outskirts of Accra, the capital city of Ghana. The internationally renowned West African artist developed his own distinctive musical style, which he describes as Afro-Dancehall, fusing Jamaican dancehall  and patois with Afrobeats, hip hop slang, and his native dialect Ewe. He established his own independent company, the Burniton Music Group, as well as a charitable organization, the Livingstone Foundation. He’s also earned numerous accolades over the course of his career. He was named Best International Act at the 2015 BET Awards. He has won several Ghana Music Awards, including Artist of the Year. He collaborated with Morgan Heritage on the group’s Grammy-nominated 2017 album Avrakedabra and recorded singles with many of Jamaica’s top dancehall artists, including Grammy-winners Sean Paul and Beenie Man. His latest album, Anloga Junction, features a hit collab with VIBE cover artist Keri Hilson as well as Nasty C, a South African rapper who signed to Def Jam in March. Stonebwoy entered the clash arena wearing a full-face gas mask, leaving no doubt that he was taking this competition very seriously. Video After The Jump…
Read more »

Stefflon Don Speaks On Making a Dancehall “Move”

Stefflon Don Speaks On Making a Dancehall "Move"

“Something Hype, Feisty & Rooted”

Stefflon Don is getting back to her bashment roots with a new single called “Move,” produced by Troyon the dancehall hitmaker who crafted Sean Paul’s worldwide smash “Gimme The Light.” We linked the UK bad gyal who spoke on her latest release for Quality Control Music / Motown. “‘Move’ is inspired by the old me, the Steff that the world was first introduced to,” says the artist who made waves with her late 2016 mixtape Real Ting. “I felt like it was needed to come back with something hype, feisty and rooted.” Check out Stefflon Don’s latest video right now. Video After The Jump…
Read more »

WATCH THIS: Super Cat and Salaam Remi “Push Time” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Super Cat and Salaam Remi "Push Time" Official Music Video

The Wild Apache Rides Again

Between the viral pandemic, murderous police, and corrupt politricksters shamelessly fanning the flames of racial hatred, the first eight months of 2020 have been absolutely dreadful. In times such as these it helps to hear from people who have survived hard times before. People who know what it means when the “Ghetto Red Hot.” People who know that when times get rough, Some tan so back while others Rally back.” People like William Maragh aka the Don Dada aka the Wild Apache aka Super Cat. One of the first dancehall legends to link with hip hop superstars like Heavy D, Puff Daddy, and Biggie Smalls, Super Cat made an indelible impact on both cultures with his charismatic style, rude boy demeanor, and cultural lyrics. Just in time for Labor Day Weekend in Brooklyn—and elections in Jamaica— Super Cat has joined forces with producer extraordinaire Salaam Remi to release his first  new music in over a decade. “Since the 90s Super Cat and I have always been able to reason,” says Remi, who’s renowned for his work with artists as diverse as Nas, Amy Winehouse, and The Fugees. “And recently reasoning about the state of the communities and worldwide unrest led to this song.”

The new single, “Push Time”—set to Remi’s adaptation of the Wild Apache classic “Cabin Stabbin“—speaks eloquently to the political climate which surrounds us. The song will be featured on Remi’s upcoming LP Black on Purpose which also features NaS, Jennifer Hudson ,Case, Teedra Moses, Bilal, Busta Rhymes, Chronixx, Spragga Benz, MuMu Fresh, and Doug E Fresh along with more from Black Thought, Stephen Marley, Cee-Lo Green, and Anthony Hamilton. As Mr. Maragh once told me, “It’s not like we just get up this morning and start sing about gun. It’s something that we LIVE through and survive, and who didn’t survive DIE, and who didn’t die go to prison.” Super Cat has had to learn the hard way, but he’s vowed to share the fruits of his experience so that others will not make the same mistake twice. “I & I graduate from GHETTO-ology,” he says. “In my time I had to stop go to school because the politics friction was breaking out in the school. Even TEACHER was shot in the school compound. Guns was swinging around like crazy. It’s not that we go to rude boy school and groom to become rude boy,” says Cat. “Rude boy ting it come to WE in the ghetto.” Check out the new video, shot in the streets of Hollis Queens under the watchful eye of Jam Master Jay, Tenor Saw, and Nico Demus, and the whole of the DJ in shut eye country. Respect in all aspect. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Jada Kingdom “Budum” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Jada Kingdom "Budum" Official Music Video PREMIERE

“Them call me Muma Heavy”

The Jamaican expression for someone who is not afraid to speak what’s on their mind is that they “nuh tek back chat.” That phrase describes Jada Kingdom perfectly. While she often speaks in a gentle voice, her words can be as soft as water or as hard as rockstone. “Full time we firm up we meds,” she sings on “Execution,” one of her deceptively delicate tracks from last year, shouting out the girls from her part of town, Kingston’s East Side. “Yo Rockfort, Harborview, Bull Bay, gal a St. Thomas, whole a E-Syde, mek dem know say we mad and bad.”

In the space of three years, Jada Kingdom has carved out a unique creative space for herself, nestled in a sweet spot somewhere between dancehall, R&B and pop. Her jazzy, neo-soul vocal style is more reminiscent of Erykah Badu than Lady Saw. And while she’s never afraid to show her vulnerability or to channel her pain into powerful art, she can turn the attitude up to 100 at the drop of a dime.

Today Jada embarks on a new phase of her burgeoning career, the release of her first single under a deal with  Diplo’s Mad Decent label. Fresh off the success of her mixtape E-Syde Queen: The Twinkle Playlist and features on Popcaan’s red-hot Yiy Change Fixtape and Vybz Kartel’s soul-baring To Tanisha Jada is perfectly poised for her moment. All she needs is a massive tune to kick things off. Something like, say, “Budum.”

“It’s been such a crazy year with the pandemic I just wanted to release a song that is fun and will make people happy and want to dance again,” says Jada Kingdom says about the track. “Hopefully ‘Budum’ will have everyone whining their waists and rocking their bodies again and help us to forget some of the craziness going on around us.”

Produced by the German-born, Jamaica-approved producer known as Emudio, “Budum” is the anthem that should be rocking ever late-summer fete from Uptown Mondays in Kingston to Notting Hill Carnival in London to the Eastern Parkway Labor Day Parade in Brooklyn. Even if your end-of-summer rave is a socially distanced house party, “Budum” is the soundtrack—a sexy blast of self-love and female empowerment from a Queen who knows her body is a Kingdom. Today Boomshots and VIBE premiere the visuals, directed by 300K.

“We just went for a fun, happy vibe for the video to reflect the song,” says Jada. “We also wanted to incorporate the cover art so we built out a crazy set literally overnight for that scene. ‘Budum’ is a track that makes people dance and feel good and hopefully the video makes people feel the same way.” Video After The Jump…
Read more »