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Reasoning With The Ranks:
“Every day, another star is born from the ghetto. A star isn’t born from the hills and society either. It’s from the ghetts that the youth dem ah push up.”

Reasoning With The Ranks: “Every day, another star is born from the ghetto. A star isn’t born from the hills and society either. It's from the ghetts that the youth dem ah push up.”

In Honor of Shabba’s Order of Distinction, We Present An In-Depth Interview with the Dancehall Emperor

“Triumphant,” said Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon, better known to music lovers as Shabba Ranks. “Dat a my feeling right now because, as my mother used to tell me from I was little, hard work does pay off.” The dancehall emperor, who now resides in the United States, returned to Kingston, Jamaica this week to receive one of his homeland’s highest honors, the Order of Distinction. According to the Jamaica Observer, the crowd cheered wildly as the impeccably attired Ranks appeared on the great lawn at King’s House, the opulent residence of the island’s Governor General. Sir Patrick Allen personally bestowed the honor on this ghetto youth who took dancehall music around the world, earning the genre’s first gold record and two consecutive Grammy Awards for Best Reggae Album. “So we can see dat de validation for hard work is jus’ greatness — good really begets good,” said Shabba. “For my island to look at me as one of those proteges and bestow the Order of Distinction pon me, when I first hear, it’s just delight, joy. It cause me to think about how, for so many years, me a work with the strength of my forefathers who did their work and still could not achieve dis in their lifetime… So mi jus’ proud.” The 50-year-old artist joins a distinguished group of  Jamaicans in the fields of music, art, sports, politics, medicine, and journalism. Fellow honorees include Usain Bolt, Sir Coxsone Dodd, and Lee “Scratch” Perry.  Interview After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Courtney John “Strangers”

HEAR THIS: Courtney John "Strangers"

Warm & Easy Modern Vintage Groove With An Undeniable Edge of Tension

Courtney John’s distinctive falsetto sets an enigmatic mood on this ominous dubwise selection. with uniqueness that simply radiates. The singer who brought us Made in Jamaica five years ago jetted to Paris to work on his forthcoming album, also entitled Strangers, scheduled for a January 25 release. Produced by Guillaume “Gee” Metenier—who decsribes his sound as psychedelic soul jazz funk and early reggae. The singer linked with Gee in Kingston, JA and they previously collaborated on a next banger called “All I Know.” The “Strangers” riddim track is performed by top players from Paris’ international music scene. This one is radiant, strange, and special. Audio After The Jump…
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WATCH THIS: Atumpan ft. Big Narstie “We Like It” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Atumpan ft. Big Narstie "We Like It" Official Music Video

Afrobeat Meets Grime In The Streets of London, Kingston, Tokyo, Accra & NYC

Last time we heard from Atumpan the UK-based Ghanaian artist (whose name meaning “Talking Drum” in Akan) was up in the club with Paigey Cakey talkin’ about not watching nobody. Now he’s back with another sick collab, this time with London’s own Big Narstie.  Just how irresistible is this track? It seems to have made one girl start dancing while she’s on the toilet! Video After The Jump…
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WATCH THIS: Kabaka Pyramid “Kabaka vs. Pyramid” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Kabaka Pyramid "Kabaka vs. Pyramid" Official Music Video

Accurate Lyricist Drops Battle-Rap-Themed Video

Kabaka Pyramid continues the trend of Rastafarian artists rapping over boom bap hip-hop beats. In this video, aptly titled “Kabaka vs. Pyramid,” the artist pays homage to battle rap and stages a rap battle with himself. Hip hop has a long history of alter-egos, from Tupac/Makavelli to Eminem/Slim Shady, and even T.I. vs. T.I.P. Will the Bebble Rock spitter continue the trend in dancehall? Rockin’ over Biggie’s “Gimme The Loot” riddim, one persona keeps it patois while the other is twangin’ like a youth who spent time in Miami as he was coming up. Watch the video and find out who wins. Video After The Jump…
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HEAR THIS: Konshens “Don’t Worry”

HEAR THIS: Konshens "Don't Worry"

Da Realest Declares His Undying Love

Fresh off a live performance with Mixpak during a recent Boiler Room session in Los Angeles, Konshens Da Realest laces a vibesy R&B-flavored riddim produced by Dre Skull. The result is a tune suitable for slow wining that still makes the case for true love. “This don’t even feel like a fuck thing,” declares the DJ who gave us “Bruk Off Me Cock Back,” “more like our soul ah connect girl.” When the love’s that good you just know you don’t have to worry. Audio After The Jump… Read more »

Damian Marley’s “Joint Venture” in the Ganja Business: “You’re not a Criminal for Smoking Herb”

Damian Marley's "Joint Venture" in the Ganja Business: "You’re not a Criminal for Smoking Herb"

Gongzilla Sets Up Shop,  Forbes Takes Notice

“It goes without saying that for marijuana the attraction is very natural,” says Damian Jr. Gong Marley in a new interview with Forbes magazine. “Damian Marley Invests in Marijuana Futures” reads the headline in the respected business publication covering the news about the reggae star’s joint venture with Ocean Grown Extracts. As part of their new start-up, Marley and Ocean Grown will be turning a vacant Coalinga, California prison into a medical marijuana manufacturing plant, which Ocean Grown will provide to dispensaries. “I want my kids to look back and be proud of me and say I didn’t sell my soul to earn a dollar, that is very important to me,” he told ForbesContinued After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Anthony Cruz “Where Would I Be” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Anthony Cruz "Where Would I Be" Official Music Video

Giving Thanks For Guidance and Protection

Anthony Cruz is one of those under-the-radar reggae singers whose understated excellence deserves more praise than it receives. We first noticed him when he was rolling with the 5th Element crew alongside Richie Spice and Chuck Fender (aka “The Poor People Defender). Although he can finesse a lover’s rock tune more sweetly than most, Cruz has always been at his best singing reality tunes. “Place Too Bloody” his combination with Buju Banton, and the Beres Hammond produced “Dem Block Di Road” on Harmony House’s “Feel Good” riddim are two outstanding examples. Yesterday Cruz released a new video on his official website revealing that his clean-cut look has been replaced with a ragga-ragga Rastafari image. In the song, produced by the legendary Bobby Digital, Cruz gives thanks for live, health, and strength—acknowledging that even when he feels he’s in “Cruz control” there is a higher power calling the shots. Dropping so soon after Jamaica’s close call with Hurricane Matthew, the message is as timely as the song is strong.  Audio After The Jump… Read more »

HEAR THIS: Nadine Sutherland “Never In Love” PREMIERE

HEAR THIS: Nadine Sutherland "Never In Love" PREMIERE

“Action” Star Is Taking It EZZ

“It’s a woman’s empowerment song,” explains Nadine Sutherland of her latest release. “Basically, it’s saying Watch, listen and learn before you give your all.” Giving her all to reggae music since an early age, Sutherland signed with Bob Marley’s Tuff Gong label at a tender age and exploded to worldwide fame with her Dave Kelly–produced 1993 smash “Action.” Since that time she’s maintained her standing as one of Jamaica’s finest vocalists and also grown as a person. “I think as a grown woman I am hesitant to ‘fall in love’ or to give of myself as easily in  comparison to when I was younger,” she says of the song she cowrote, and whhose lyrics share the blessings of hard-learned life lessons. Today Boomshots proudly premieres the tune, produced by College Boyz and distributed by Zojak. “I guess I have become wiser because of having experiences with people who have ulterior agendas. So I’m an experienced lover whey know me ABC’s, me no run Inna nobody, me tek it EZZ’s.”Audio After The Jump…
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HEAR THIS: Sean Paul “Like This”

HEAR THIS: Sean Paul "Like This"

Mad People Ting Dey Should Know RRRRRR!!!

Atlantic Records did Sean Paul a big favor by dropping him a couple years ago. What seemed like adversity at the time only helped prove his brand is strong regardless of label affiliation. Dutty Paul and his 11 million Facebook fans didn’t need a major cosign to make hits or get booked on big shows. And right now the dutty yute is kinda killin’ it. Ten years after he topped the Billboard pop charts with “Temperature”, the dancehall star returned to the top spot this year via “Cheap Thrills,” a collaboration with Sia that was the biggest song in the U.S.A. for much of this crazy summer of 2016, when the entire music marketplace felt like one big tropical house party. Meanwhile in Jamaica, Sean Paul’s “Crik Neck” tune with Chi-Ching Ching is popping on the street dance circuit. Now signed with Island Records, Sean linked with labelmate Ricky Blaze to cook up this hard-edged digital banger. “I grew up listening to Sean Paul so I was pretty excited to have the opportunity to work with him,” says Blaze, the producer responsible for Gyptian’s “Hold Yuh” and Ding Dong’s “Badman Forward” among other smashes. “It was an honor to work with him.” New tingz via our peoples at Mass AppealAudio After The Jump… Read more »

The Making of Bounty Killer’s “My Xperience”

The Making of Bounty Killer's "My Xperience"

Remembering A Game-Changing Album Twenty Years Later

All Eyez On Me. The Don Killuminati. Reasonable Doubt. The Score. It Was Written. ATLiens. Nineteen Ninety Six was an epic year for hip hop album releases. It was also a decisive year for dancehall breaking through to urban America. Twenty years ago this month, Bounty Killer released My Xperience on Blunt Recordings, a new joint venture between perennial reggae powerhouse V.P. Records and TVT Records, a New York-based indie specializing in “TV Tunes.” Featuring collabs with some of the biggest rappers and producers in hip hop—The Fugees, Mobb Deep, Raekwon, RZA, Busta Rhymes, Erick Sermon, Jeru the Damaja—My Xperience did that and more. The album truly changed the game for dancehall in the hip hop space. In an exclusive Boomshots interview, Bounty Killer calls it “the greatest album” of his illustrious career and shares his memories of working on the historic project. We also spoke with Killer’s then-manager Johnny Wonder, now the V.P. of 21st Hapilos Digital Distribution to share his experiences making My Xperience. Interviews After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: I-Octane “Hot Off The Press” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: I-Octane "Hot Off The Press" Official Music Video PREMIERE

The Hot Ras Makes It Rain In These Brand New Visuals

How would you prefer your paper? When you hustle every day, you’re gettin money every which way. I-Octane shows a strong preference for “new money hot off the press.” No bogus bills round here, just crisp bricks of notes delivered fresh from the mint. This paper-chaser’s anthem is a hidden gem off Troyton’s “Dancehall Bully” Riddim, already notorious for ushering in the war between two dancehall titans. The juggling, distributed by the mighty 21st Hapilos, has much more to offer than Mavado’s “Dem Run Een.” Aidonia, Demarco, and Charly Blacks, are among the other artists with a piece of the action, but I-Octane’s “Hot of The Press” has proven to be a standout cut. Today Boomshots proudly premieres the flosstastic visuals, directed by Jay Papworth, as I-Octane & his empress make it rain at their oceanside estate. Everything correck. Video 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 »