Latest entries

HEAR THIS: Sizzla, Popcaan & Teflon “Way Out”

HEAR THIS: Sizzla, Popcaan & Teflon "Way Out"

The Song May Sound Sweet, But The Judgment Will Not Be Nice

Not Nice established his name building tracks for Vybz Kartel and the Portmore Empire. He went on to produce major hits for artists like Alkaline and Spice—whose “So Mi Like It” was voiced on his “Boom Box” riddim. While he’s best know for hard-hitting jump-up tunes, his latest release is built around a gentle piano melody that leaves plenty of space for three of dancehall’s most powerful voices to “deal with Babylon case.” Popcaan has come a long way since the days when he was relegated to “Raving King” status, as tunes like this one—and new documentary Abundant Life—make clear. With Poppi, Kalonji, and Teflon all in rare form, “Way Out” sounds like it could become a sufferer’s anthem. Audio After The Jump… Read more »

No Long Talk: Daddy Ernie On Freedom of Choice: “Who Want Vex, Vex!”

No Long Talk: Daddy Ernie On Freedom of Choice: "Who Want Vex, Vex!"

Host of UK Radio’s Superjam Reflects On His Legacy

If you weren’t in London from the ’90s, you may not be aware of Daddy Ernie or the power of his radio show, SuperJam. As he says: “Who’s Daddy Ernie? Some black DJ who used to be on a station in Brixton that everybody used to wear big gold chains and rings.” What you should know is he’s one of the most respected and important British contributors in the history of Jamaican music. He’s also the only person in history to present a reggae show Monday to Friday on a legal radio station. And it was prime time from 1990 to (about) 2003/2004. The way things are, it’s likely he’ll be the sole claimant forever. Daddy Ernie’s SuperJam ran alongside Choice FM’s lifespan (1990–2013), becoming one of the stations most listened to shows and amongst the highest paid specialist DJs on the station.  Podcast After The Jump… Read more »

Why Rihanna Might Just Drop “Anti” Any Time Now

Why Rihanna Might Just Drop "Anti" Any Time Now

BadGyal RiRi Still Teasing That Eighth Album

It would not be an unfair generalization to say that magazine editors tend to ultra-competitive personalities who are not above a little schadenfreude now and then. I’m not too proud to say that, after pursuing my third Drake cover for several years while at Complex—and coming up empty, except for the time his publicist wanted us to go head-to-head with VIBE and we politely declined—I was rather amused when Drake bailed on a VIBE cover shoot and later Rolling Stone burned him and he swore off magazines altogether. The first two Drake covers I worked on—Lola Ogunnaike’s 2009 VIBE cover story “Rookie of the Year” (which earned a spot in DaCapo’s Best Music Writing anthology) and Damien Scott’s 2011 Complex cover story “The Long Way Home”—were pretty spectacular, so I was disappointed at the notion of Drake never doing press again. And I’m not so competitive that I was mad to see him finally do a Fader cover last year. As a music lover and a journalist I enjoyed reading a thorough profile of a fascinating artist. But here’s what did crack me up: When Rihanna snagged a recent Fader cover based on just five questions answered by email. There’s no doubt that her forthcoming release Anti is one of Most Anticipated Albums of 2016. But when a magazine gives you the cover, it’s just common courtesy to sit down for an interview—even a quickie, as Rihanna did for the 2013 Complex cover I edited. Not that she said much, but it’s just disrespectful to expect a writer to put a story together based on five emailed questions. Props to Mary H.K. Choi for doing a killer write-around, but I digress…  All of this is a long-winded reminder that Rihanna has already served noticed as to who calls the shots—like BRAP! BRAP! BRAP!  More After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: ÌFÉ “House of Love” (Ogbe Yekun) PREMIERE

HEAR THIS: ÌFÉ "House of Love" (Ogbe Yekun) PREMIERE

These Puerto Rican Sounds Are NOT Reggaeton

ÌFÉ is the Yoruban word for “Love” as well as “Expansion.” It’s also the name of a new group based in San Juan, Puerto Rico, whose music fuses Afro-Caribbean folk sounds like Yoruba and Rumba with electronica and dancehall. The group was the brainchild of Otura Mun aka Mark Underwood, an African-American artist who’s been living in Puerto Rico for over a decade, producing projects like Cultura Profetica and the stunning Calma Carmona. With a chill sound that blends Cuban Rumba with the digital sounds of Jamaican dancehall, ÌFÉ creates a musical space and expression all its own. Their second single, “House of Love,” was recorded live using improvised electronic instruments. “At times tender, at other moments seductive and flirtatious, the song is an invitation / an offering to those forces that walk among us and a reminder that life is nothing if not a constant act of giving to receive,” says Otura Mun. Let’s get to it. Audio After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Busy Signal “Bad Long Time”

HEAR THIS: Busy Signal "Bad Long Time"

Turf Prez Style Magnificent Magnificent Magnificent Magnificent

Busy’s newest tune to touch the road is a standout cut off Seanizzle’s new “90s Don Dada” Riddim. The Turf Prez tears up this vintage-feel juggling—the style is magnificent and the damage is perdamanent. “Hotted”! Audio After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Busy Signal “These Are The Days” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Busy Signal "These Are The Days" Official Music Video

The Song That Set Busy On A Next Level Back in 2008

The Turf Prez keeps the streets supplied with new music at such a frenetic pace that sometimes we fail to check the catalog deeply. From the moment Busy Signal “Stepped out” in the dancehall biz it was clear he was a talent to be reckoned with who was “not going down” any time soon. With his 2008 sophomore album Loaded he unleashed a lyrical fusillade entitled “These Are The Days” that made clear this was a youth who was operating on a much higher level than most of his peers in the music industry. Eight years later his fans have gained a greater insight into the angst that fueled these bitter bars, and our appreciation of Busy’s artistry has only grown over time. Lick it back from the top the very last drop. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Busy Signal “Out of Many (One)” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Busy Signal "Out of Many (One)" Official Music Video

Turf Prez In The Drivers Seat—KUFF!

Today is Busy Signal’s birthday so we’re repping hard for one of our favorite artistes, the Turf Prez. In case you missed his most recent video, check out Sheik Busy stunting in outrageous whips while ripping up a classic dancehall riddim—Jammy’s “Magic Moment” riddim—inna style made famous by the great Shelly Thunder. The Jamaican national motto is “out of many one people” but this new selection from the Turf Prez feels more like an “out of many artistes I am the one” vibe. Judge for yourself (and let us know in the comments which of these cars you’d prefer to drive). Video After The Jump… Read more »

Micah Shemaiah: The Man, Music and Message

Micah Shemaiah: The Man, Music and Message

Interview with The Original Dread

During Yaadcore’s recent sets in New York at Downtown Top Ranking with Deadly Dragon Sound at The Delancey  and Sattama Sundays with Stateside Revolution at Bar 13, he played several Micah Shemaiah tunes that ignited the dance floor with skanking and flickering of lighters. Based on the audience response to his music, we interviewed The Original Dread and discovered that this artist has a breadth of experience which impacts his music and message. Interview After The Jump

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HEAR THIS: Pressure Buss Pipe “Live Life” PREMIERE

HEAR THIS: Pressure Buss Pipe "Live Life" PREMIERE

Tune In Pon This Brand New Heatmakerz Production Because Live Is For Living

“Everybody’s talking about the heartaches in the ghetto, and how it’s rough in the streets—and it is,” says Virgin-Islands born reggae singer Pressure Buss Pipe. “I wanted to turn it around and make people happy. Just make people see life in a different perspective and give thanks for what you have. We’re doing things different with the Heatmakerz.” Linking with the production team responsible for major hits by Lil Wayne and Dipset, Pressure created “Live Life,” his first original release on a hip-hop rhythm track. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Pressure x Heatmakerz “Live Life” Behind The Scenes Video

WATCH THIS: Pressure x Heatmakerz "Live Life" Behind The Scenes Video

New Banger Premieres Tomorrow Pon Boomshots

Pressure Buss Pipe made his name in the reggae industry belting out romantic tunes like “Love and Affection.” Since then the Virgin Islands native has showed his versatility on harder tracks like “Mental Disturbance” featuring Damian Marley and Tarrus Riley. “I got to New York to do some work with Mike P of Smokestack,” says St. Thomas-born singer Pressure. “He said we’ve got a studio nearby where we can work. But he never expressed how huge Heatmakerz were. When I realized who they were I was like ‘What? I know all of these people’s music! I’ve been listening to them for years—from Dipset to Juelz Santana to Jim Jones.’ So I finally got to meet them and they were into my music as well. Rsonist showed me that he was a fan of certain tunes I had done.” The song that resulted, executive produced by Smokestack Recordings, is the first time Pressure has released an original tune over a hip-hop track. “Everybody’s talking about the heartaches in the ghetto, and how it’s rough in the streets—and it is,” he says. “I wanted to turn it around and make people happy. Just make people see life in a different perspective and give thanks for what you have. We’re doing things different with the Heatmakerz.” Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Unified Highway “My Space” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Unified Highway "My Space" Official Music Video PREMIERE

New Music & Visuals From Eric & Amp

First things first, this is not a social media song. “There’s two words and no dot com,” says  vocalist/guitarist Eric Rachmany (also the frontman for Cali roots band Rebelution) of the latest release from Unified Highway, his collaborative project with renowned producer, DJ, and remixer Amp Live (formerly of Zion I). The duo’s self-titled debut on Audible Collision / Strange Focus Records embodies a fusion of reggae, electronic, hip-hop, alternative, and soul. “This song is kind of like inviting everyone into our vibe, the vibe we were feeling,” says Amp. “Me and Amp got together and we said ‘Let’s do this project’ and that was the first thing that came to mind,” Eric adds. “It just felt like an intimate guitar riff. I felt like the song was just asking me to sing about the mood, about being in my zone.” Unified Highway’s first song, “Stand Proud” ft. Keznamdi and Tahir Panton, premiered on Mass Appeal, who hailed both its conscious lyrics “unification of reggae basslines and dance-ready drum loops.” Since then they say the response has been “overwhelmingly positive” and when the album drops in March there are plans for live shows. “This album is actually pretty diverse,” says Eric. “Every song is a little bit different from the other, so we are excited for people to hear the diversity. Honestly, I’m not saying this to brag or anything but I really feel like this project is groundbreaking. It’s different from anything I’ve ever heard or been a part of… It’s weird, usually I don’t like listening to myself, but I thoroughly enjoy listening to this album. We do this for the fun of it and we want to keep on doing it. It’s a really fun collaboration and we’re really stoked that Boomshots is picking it up and promoting it.” Enough long talking let’s get into that space.  Audio & Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Nesbeth “My Dream” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Nesbeth “My Dream” Official Music Video

From Trenchtown, A Next Star Arise

Released last month, “My Dream” features the veteran reggae singer reflecting on the struggles he’s faced in Jamaica and focusing on not giving up. A superb track from start to finish, it’s a progressive take on roots reggae with a dash of picked pop guitar and a catchy bounce. The video release, directed by RD Studios, is a fitting complement to the unique sound of “My Dream” and captivates immediately. Opening with wide-angle montages of Jamaica’s breathtaking coast, Nesbeth appears draped in the flag singing “Mek wi start dah one yah, like how Martin Luther King would ah start it.” The song goes on to tell the story of a young boy who’s driven to success against all odds. The Jamaica-based artist finished 2015 on a high, thanks to “My Dream,” and the video certainly reflects the success of his aptly titled new album, Victory. From Trenchtown a next star arise. Video After the Jump…

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