Real Talk

IShawna Still Fighting For “Equal Rights”

IShawna Still Fighting For "Equal Rights"

The Battle of the Bow Cats Rages On

Dancehall has long had  love/hate relationship with oral sex, but ever since Ishawna dropped her Ed Sheeran remix “Equal Rights and Justice,” a topic that’s been kept under cover for many years is not front and center. In an in-depth piece for Pigeons & Planes, the Reggae Girl About Town explores changes in social attitudes by-way-of song lyrics and insightful anaylsis.  “Most people think of dancehall as a very free and sexually charged genre, but Jamaica’s strong conservative Christian tradition extends to the music, particularly in “Bowcat” lyrics,” Reshma B writes. The story traces the origins of the Bowcat concept back to Shabba Ranks and traces it forward to Vybz Kartel and Wayne Marshall who sang: “Why you chewin’ it when you should be screwin’ it? I know you never see a curry or a stew in it!” With such a long-standing tradition Ishawna’s song was nothing less than a lyrical revolution with bars like ”Boy, me nah go compromise / Me wan’ feel how your head feels between mi thighs.” Coming 21 years after Lil’ Kim’s “Not Tonight” —the song where Queen B declared “You ain’t lickin’ this, you ain’t stickin’ this!”— “Equal Rights” has stirred up more backlash than Kim did in the ’90s.  Audio After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Chronixx “Likes”

HEAR THIS: Chronixx "Likes"

The First Single From Chronology Arrives

“Ah no everybody ah go like we,” sings Chronixx, “still we irie.” Over a pulsating electronic rhythm, produced by the artist himself, Chronixx defies “reggae revival” expectations as he reflects on what really matters to him, and to music lovers the world over. On the surface this is a song about artistic substance over social media hype, but a careful listen reveals a pointed critique of the state of Jamaican music at a moment when the world is rocking to reggae rhythms. “Nuff a them still stuck inna the quicksand,” he sings. “A Gentleman me hear ah play a Finland.” Point being that artists who are satisified with “running di place” in Jamaica may be missing the bigger picture. “We never buck them up pon no flight,” Chronixx observes. “We never see them pon tour life.” Speaking of which, the Chronology North America tour, supported by Jah9Jesse Royal, and Kelissa, kicks off March 2nd and runs through April 30th. Who no like it vex.  Audio After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Protoje “Blood Money”

HEAR THIS: Protoje "Blood Money"

Real Talk Without Any Apology

From “Kingston Be Wise” to “Sudden Flight,” Protoje has made a habit of speaking unspoken truths without apology. His latest release “Blood Money” takes that fearless outspoken-ness to new heights. “Police cancel operation, cause no real badman go a station,” states (who changed his Twitter handle to BLXXDCLXT), dropping lyrical truth bombs over Winta James’ stark rub-a-dub riddim, which has been bubbling on Jamaican radio for the past several weeks. “Blood money run the nation,” he chants on the chorus. “This song is so socially relevant, people connect to it on first listen,” he told the FADER who premiered the video.” It’s speaking about things that are collectively on all of our minds, that we all want to talk about, and I’m using my voice to bring these topics to the forefront of conversation… With all that is happening in Jamaica, criticism is often one-sided and directed to the have-nots—the people who have less are made to seem like the problem in society. This is unfair, hypocritical, and widely inaccurate. This song seeks to bring about certain conversations, to talk about what is really happening in our society.” Check the red-hot visuals courtesy of Taj Francis. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Jah9 “Unafraid” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Jah9 "Unafraid" Official Music Video

Lioness Order Lays Down The Law

A lot of times when an artist starts to grow in popularity they tend to avoid rocking the boat and shun material that some may find controversial. That isn’t the case with Jah9 who has just released a video for the song “Unafraid,” which deals with the taboo subject of child molestation. When she sings “Nasty likkle teacher bwoy touching on my nephew, stirring up the dragon in my head,” the outrage is understandable. But lines like “Willing to stick a head ‘pon a fence” will definitely make some people uncomfortable. Boomshots reached out to the artist for some insight. “We’re not promoting violence,” she explained, “but we’re not promoting complacency about such a serious thing.” Video and Interview After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Slim Smith “Rougher Yet”

HEAR THIS: Slim Smith "Rougher Yet"

Special Request to the Trump Posse

Those who happened to be in London when the Brexit vote went down will recognize the sense of disbelief sweeping America on this morning after. It soon became clear that many people didn’t actually understand what they had voted for. (Google searches for “What is Brexit?” and “What is the EU?” spiked just AFTER the referendum was passed.) The same holds true in this disgraceful presidential race, and as with Brexit, the repercussions of Trump’s victory are just beginning. Audio & Argument After The Jump… Read more »

“Nothing Can Harm Me” Remembering Countryman

"Nothing Can Harm Me" Remembering Countryman

A Man Who Represented Rastafari In Real Life

After battling cancer for years, the death of Edwin “Countryman” Lothan hit his friends and fans very hard. Though he passed away September 18th, obituaries are just starting to appear in the international press for this simple Rasta fisherman who appeared in a feature story in Rolling Stone magazine in 1973, a living symbol of Rastafari at a time when few Americans had even heard of reggae music. Nine years later he starred in the film Countryman, produced by Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. He lived a simple life according to strict principles of Rastafari. All the obituaries mention these facts, but this is what I remember, the Countryman I knew. Essay After The Jump… Read more »

RIDDIM UP: The “Different Eyes” Juggling

RIDDIM UP: The "Different Eyes" Juggling

A Warm & Easy Reality Set Featuring Jahmiel, Vershon, Sizzla & Delly Ranx

Over the past half century or so Jamaican music has evolved through so many different styles and sounds that it can sometimes be hard to discern the various strands of musical DNA. From mento and calypso to jazz and bluebeat on through ska, rocksteady, reggae and dancehall, the musical morphology continues to this day. Boomshots’ Riddim Up series digs deep into certain outstanding riddims, seeking to identify the unique qualities that make them certified Boomshots. We kick off today with “Different Eyes,” a new juggling from Pure Music Productions, distributed by the mighty 21st Hapilos Digital, which hit iTunes today. The understated, slow-burning instrumental is a prime example of the sonic changes within modern dancehall.  Because none of the usual hallmarks of vintage reggae or dancehall are present—from the drum pattern to the familar “skank” guitar or piano—we have to hear the Different Eyes with different ears. Even the bassline is subtle, overpowered by a mournful, hypnotic guitar figure and a few gentle rimshots. The minimalist riddim sets a mood that inspires all the vocalists to hold a similar vibe. Each tune on the riddim complements the ones that come before and after it, and the whole becomes one unified statement that’s greater than the sum of its parts.  Audio & Track-By-Track Review After The Jump… Read more »

Vybz Kartel or Buju Banton: Which Show Would You Attend?

Vybz Kartel or Buju Banton: Which Show Would You Attend?

Imagine: Two Big DJs, One Night Only—The Choice Is Yours

If you’re a reggae and dancehall fan then you know some of the music’s biggest stars are stuck behind bars. While Busy Signal and Jah Cure have happily come home, Vybz Kartel and Buju Banton are still in captivity. And even though The World Boss finds a way to keep the streets supplied with new tunes on a fairly regular basis, we haven’t seen either artist live in YEARS. Just imagine if both artists were released for just one day, to perform a show for their fans. Now—hypothetically speaking—imagine that both shows were happening on the same night (not in the same place, mind you). In other words, if you had to choose between seeing Kartel or Buju live—right now—which show would you attend? That was the question Chiney K posed to a sampling of her fellow Jamaicans. The results were pretty interesting to say the least. Let’s just say which artist you choose reveals a lot about your personality. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Sizzla “Don’t Make Dem Fool You Again” Teaser

WATCH THIS: Sizzla "Don't Make Dem Fool You Again" Teaser

Kalonji’s Election Advice Applies All Year Round
Sizzla Kalonji delivers a cautionary message on Triple B Productions’ “Sing Some Song” Riddim. The tune was inspired by Jamaica’s recent election season, but one that holds true 24/7/365: wise up, rise up, and don’t make “dem” fool you AGAIN. Audio After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Shawn Storm “True Story” PREMIERE

HEAR THIS: Shawn Storm "True Story" PREMIERE

Exclusive Preview From The EP Word, Sound, Power
Rastafarian tradition speaks of the ancient precepts and principles that govern the lives of mankind. Among these is the concept of “Word Sound and Power,” a phrase that refers to the many ways language in general and music & lyrics in particular can bring about change within the lives of those who transmit or receive these words. Shawn Storm’s debut EP, Word, Sound, Power bears witness to the mental, musical and spiritual growth of an artist who remains steadfast despite his incarceration. Distributed by the mighty 21st Hapilos Digital, the EP (which is scheduled for release on May 6) features 10 tracks that received the stamp of approval from Shawn’s inner circle. “This is my first EP and my fans and I are both anticipating the outcome and the acceptance of new level of growth in my music—mentality and lyrically,” says the artist (who previously made a mark with the single “My Life”). “This EP  consist of a list of songs that were hand-picked by great people, mixed and organized by great minds and approved by my realest brother and mentor the greatest “World Boss.” From me to my fams and fans, I give you WORD SOUND POWER—my greatest creation yet.” Boomshots is proud to premiere this exclusive preview of the autobiographical lead single, “True Story,” a slice of life from the man called Shawn Storm.  Audio After The Jump… Read more »

Lost In Translation: Does Drake’s Dancehall Obsession Benefit Anyone But Himself?

Lost In Translation: Does Drake's Dancehall Obsession Benefit Anyone But Himself?

EXCLUSIVE GENIUS EXCERPT: Please Don’t Call Drake “King of the Dancehall”

While revealing the release date of his long-awaited album, Views From The 6, on Beats Radio, Drake sought to evoke the denseness, complexity, and overall quality of the record by stating that “It’s not a short ting.” His use of patois, although not surprising for any native of Toronto—a city where Caribbean culture has seeped into many aspects of mainstream language, food, and music in much the same way it has in London, Miami, or Nigeria—was no accident. Excerpt Continues After The Jump…

Reasoning with Chronixx:
“I’m Not Ashamed of My Weaknesses”

Reasoning with Chronixx: "I'm Not Ashamed of My Weaknesses"

Di Steam Ministah Talks Coachella, Roots & Chalice Mixtape, and Controversy With his “Big Brother” Vybz Kartel

Just after his historic performance at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, Di Steam Ministah sat down with Reshma B for an exclusive interview. They speak about the challenges of being an artist in a material world, the joy of performing live, and how he sees himself as only being in his “infancy” as an artist, as he puts it: “baby stage.” Chronixx talks about being booked on Damian Marley’s 2016 “Welcome to Jamrock Cruise” and goes on to name some of his “Big Brothers” in the reggae music fraternity, mentioning names like Jr. Gong, Mavado, and Vybz Kartel. Chronixx also addresses the controversy surrounding his comments on a recent VICELAND TV show “Noisey Jamaica,” explaining that he overstands the fact that the media is more concerned with clicks and views than with telling a fair and balanced story. “Artists have to be artists, media have to be media. I can’t make the media determine how I feel.” Videos After The Jump… Read more »