Dancehall

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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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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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 »

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 »

Tune For Tune: Breaking Down Bounty & Beenie’s Verzuz Battle

Tune For Tune: Breaking Down Bounty & Beenie's Verzuz Battle

Jamaica Won, The Culture Won—no doubt about it—But Which Selections Won?

 

Why was this night different from all other Verzuz battles? Streamed live from Kingston, Jamaica, the Memorial Day “Soundclash Edition” of Swizz Beatz and Timbaland’s flagship IG Live series was easily the most exciting and entertaining yet, as well as the first to delve into dancehall reggae. Considering the fact that Jamaican sound systems pioneered the sort of “beat battles” have made Verzuz a social media sensation well over half a century ago, the creative decision was more than fitting. By pitting two icons of the genre, Bounty Killer and Beenie Man, in head-to-head competition, this Verzuz battle did not just showcase two of its most respected lyricists ever to hold a microphone, it also tapped into an epic rivalry that stretches back more than a quarter of a century. Audio & Video After The Jump… Read more »

The Art of War: Bounty Killer Verzuz Beenie Man

The Art of War: Bounty Killer Verzuz Beenie Man

Dancehall Icons Speak on Rivalry & Respect 

Ever since the whole Swizz Beatz and Timbaland created social media battle platform Verzuz wave kicked off, bringing a much-needed spark of joy and excitement to the dreadful pandemic grind, those of us who love and respect dancehall music and Jamaican sound system culture have been asking ourselves when (if ever) the world would finally recognize that this whole digital sensation was based on the concept of sound clash. Which is to say that it’s all rooted in the rich history of Jamaican music, which gave us cultural icons like Bob Marley (respect is always due) and Kool Herc, who became The Godfather of Hip Hop by transplanting Yard-style sound system tactics/techniques/technology to the Bronx, and King Tubby the Dub master (who really invented the remix way before Puff Daddy) and Daddy U-Roy, who became the world’s first “rap star” by recording three chart-topping hits in 1969 that served to “Wake The Town and Tell The People” that “deejay” music was not just a matter of toasting and boasting in the dancehall, it was an art form unto itself. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Kemikal “Gwaan” Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Kemikal "Gwaan" Music Video PREMIERE

Enigmatic Equiknoxx DJ brings “Gal power from the man dem” 

We always take time out to check the vibes from Equiknoxx co-founders Gavin “Gavsborg” Blair and Jordan “Time Cow” Chung. Today we’re proud to premiere a brand new release from Kemikal, an enigmatic artist whom Gavsborg describes as “a lab experiment between Big Pun mixed with Tiger.” Take a moment to let that sink in. OK? Good. Part of the Equiknoxx crew since the 2010s, Kemikal has scored hits superficially with the Polish dancehall community such as “La La La” on the Jim Screechie Riddim. He also recorded cuts on classic Equiknoxx riddims such as: Kamera Trick, White Label, Wash Belly, Gypsy Time as well as collaborating with the likes of Alozade, Chico, J.O.E & T.O.K. Now that you’re up to speed, pree the brand new sup’m called “Gwaan.” Contempt for “peeping toms” and “the male gaze” might seem unlikely within dancehall, but “Gwaan” says freedom of female expression is a must. No social media body shaming round yah so! Video After The Jump…  Read more »

WATCH THIS: Sean Paul “Back It Up Deh” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Sean Paul "Back It Up Deh" Official Music Video PREMIERE

Peep SP’s IGTV Interview With Reshma B

As the first—and only—dancehall artist to appear on the cover of VIBE magazine, Sean Paul has been making history and breaking down musical barriers throughout his career. The Grammy-winning hitmaker has collaborated with some of the biggest stars in urban music, from Beyoncé and Rihanna to DMX and Busta Rhymes, but his come-up was driven by raw uncut dancehall straight off the streets of Jamaica. After more than 20 years in the game, Sean is still going strong, dropping his dutty flow alongside the likes of Stefflon Don, Jhene Aiko, and Dua Lipa. But he’s not just the go-to for a hot yardstyle 16, he’s also an accomplished producer. Sean’s Dutty Rock Productions label has released riddims like “Rope,” “Gang Gang,” “No Caption,” and “Callaloo.” Today VIBE premieres Sean’s latest production, “Back It Up Deh,” a song that pays tribute to the dancehall queens who bust moves when the riddim drops. “I used to want to go to see what the ladies was wearing,” Sean Paul recalled in an exclusive interview with Reshma B. “It was just very sensual outfitting. And then the dancing, it was so free. That’s what I really loved about the culture as a kid. You got involved.” Although street dances are on pause during these quarantine times, Sean’s latest release, and the high-energy video might just have you backing it up while you shelter in place. Video After The Jump… Read more »

Top Shotta: Video Director Kieran Khan

Top Shotta: Video Director Kieran Khan

“Success is no accident”

Born in Guayana, raised in the Bronx, and now based in Toronto, Kieran Khan has built a reputation as one of the most in-demand video directors on today’s dancehall scene. The umbe and hard-working visual craftsman is fond of quoting football legend Pele, who once said, “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” When Kieran suddenly found himself catapulted into success as the official videographer to international stars like Sean Paul and Cardi B, it was a moment that had been over a decade in the making, but which unfolded in the blink of an eye. Ten years of focus, perseverance, sacrifice, learning on the fly and prompt turnaround, combined with his down-to-earth, charismatic persona has finally paid off. But Khan’s work ethic continues to be his driving force. Consistently rising to the occasion even under strenuous circumstances, Khan has learned that dreams can come true in the blink of an eye. Fresh off the release of his latest collaboration with Sean Paul, “Back It Up Deh,” Boomshots asked Kieran to share some of the stories behind his most memorable productions. Check out the first edition of our new series, focusing on the visual artists who bring the music to life, “Top Shotta.” Videos After The Jump…
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UTG Carry On Family Legacy With ‘Skinny Jeans’ EP

UTG Carry On Family Legacy With 'Skinny Jeans' EP

Likkle Addi & Likkle Vybz Bring That UpTown Greatness

As a new decade dawns in 2020, a new era in Jamaican music has arrived with the rise of UTG, also known as Uptown Greatness. Over the previous 10 years, Vybz Kartel set the standard as dancehall’s undisputed World Boss, re-branding his Portmore ends as “Di Gaza” and sparking a cultural movement that bubbled up from the streets and shifted global pop culture. Now Likkle Vybz and Likkle Addi are taking that energy to another dimension, blessed to live a lifestyle made possible by their father’s success and their mother’s loving guidance. Building on that solid foundation, the teenage brothers are stepping up to carry the torch with their debut album ‘Skinny Jeans’ produced by Short Boss Music and distributed by Johnny Wonder. The album dropped today and the brothers are already featured on the cover of Tidal’s Dancehall Rising playlist. Audio After The Jump…
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