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Spice’s “Go Down Deh” Goin’ UP Deh With A Little Help From Shaggy and Sean Paul

Spice's "Go Down Deh" Goin' UP Deh With A Little Help From Shaggy and Sean Paul

Amazing Grace Brings The Heat & Tops The Chart

One thing about Spice—she knows how to make an entrance! The reigning Queen of Dancehall arrived at the official release party for her highly anticipated new single “Go Down Deh” this weekend dressed like Cleopatra, reclining on a golden couch held aloft by four muscular bare-chested men in ancient Egyptian finery. The event took place in Atlanta, which has been a sort of home away from home for Spice ever since the Jamaican-born star became a recurring character on VH1’s hit reality show Love & HIp Hop Atlanta. Now back in production after a coronavirus hiatus, the show’s cameras filmed Spice’s big launch event for its upcoming season. Dancehall hitmaker Shaggy was in the building to support Spice for the special night—he and Sean Paul are both featured on the infectiously catchy song, bringing some serious star power to the tune, which shot straight to the top of the iTunes Reggae Chart. The video, directed by Jay Will, is full of flashing lights and sexy bodies in motion, and it’s closing in on its first 1 million views as of this writing.  Video After The Jump… 

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WATCH THIS: Sean Paul “Scorcha” Official Music Video

WATCH THIS: Sean Paul "Scorcha" Official Music Video

Style a Style, Scorcha a Scorcha

Don’t sleep on Sean Paul. IThe dancehall phenomenon released his debut album, Stage One, 20 years ago and went on to hit the No. 1 spot on the U.S. pop charts not once but four times — first with his own single, “Get Busy,” then with his fire Beyoncé collab “Baby Boy.”  SP went on to repeat the feat  in 2005 with “Temperature,” and again in 2016 with Sia on “Cheap Thrills.” Along the way he’s elevated respect levels for the dancehall genre worldwide and racked up eight Grammy nominations, taking home the Best Reggae Album trophy for Dutty Rock in 2003. Over the years Sean’s hairstyle has changed from cornrow braids to a Mohawk, and even now that he’s rockin’ a buzzcut, one thing remains the same: The dutty yute spits fire every time he steps in the booth. His rare gift for crafting irresistible hooks has powered guest appearances with everyone from global pop stars like Rihanna to U.K.-style joints like “Boasty” with Wiley, Idris Elba and Stefflon Don to uncut dancehall tracks like Stylo G’s “Dumpling” Remix alongside Spice. Taking control of his business dealines, SP established his own label, Dutty Rock Productions, through which he’s released various artist riddim compilations like the “Gang Gang” and the “Callaloo.” He released his own hardcore dancehall project Live N Livin last month, featuring the likes of Buju Banton, Busy Signal, Jesse Royal, Masicka, Skillibemg, and Squash. Today SP drops his latest music video off the project, “Scorcha,” which finds him flowing over Chimney Records’ red-hot “Style a Style” riddim. The visuals were directed by Jay Will so you know it’s Game Over. From “Gimme the Light” to “Temperature” Sean always brings the fire, so when he says “man a scorcha” you best believe it. Video After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Etana ft. Vybz Kartel “Baby O” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Etana ft. Vybz Kartel "Baby O" Official Music Video PREMIERE

The Strong One x The Worl Boss

Blessed with a powerful voice and a resilient spirit, Etana got her start in the music industry as a harmony singer for reggae star Richie Spice. Since stepping out on her own over a decade ago, she’s been representing for roots and culture fans ever since. Her 2018 album Reggae Forever was nominated for a Best Reggae Album Grammy, making her only the fourth female artist to receive that honor. But on her forthcoming studio album Pamoja, the roots daughter — whose name is Swahili for “Strong One” — explores more contemporary sounds, setting her uplifting messages to dancehall and Afrobeats rhythms. Today, Boomshots proudly premieres the visuals for “Baby O,” Etana’s first collab with the Worl’ Boss himself, Vybz Kartel. “Pamoja means ‘together’ and it’s the title of my eighth studio album,” Etana tells Boomshots. “It’s packed with 14 sweet tracks for my fans and music lovers to jam to. I gave you ‘Proppa’ featuring Stonebwoy and now you have ‘Baby O’ featuring Vybz Kartel.  Watch the video and experience another piece of Pamoja!!!!” Video After The Jump…

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DJ Frass Sees “No Limit” for Dancehall in 2021

DJ Frass Sees "No Limit" for Dancehall in 2021

Moyann & Shenseea Power The New Sunroof Riddim

“Artists like Koffee and Shenseea are opening the door for younger artists like myself,” says rising dancehall star Moyann, who covers the March edition of Tidal’s Murda She Wrote dancehall column by Reshma B. “Everything starts from somewhere.” It’s been three years since Moyann first broke onto the scene as a fresh-faced teenager, but she’s been on her musical journey for a lot longer than that. “This has always been a passion for me, from a tender age,” Moyann tells Reshma B. “I’d always be singing in the mirror, visualizing myself as an artist, performing in front of my mom, my sister, my dad.” In 2018 the Montego Bay native borrowed her sister’s phone and recorded a video of herself spitting lyrics while playing a riddim on her own phone. Thankfully she didn’t overthink anything and DM’d the homemade demo to producer DJ Frass. “I was like, ‘OK, I’m just gonna send it and if it happens, it happens.’” Frass soon hit her back and the rest is history. Her latest song, a massively catchy collab with Shenseea, lifts Moyann to a new level and defies the narrative that female artists don’t support one another. “Haters vex ca’ me bless but me nah stress,” the girls sing. “Me have one live fe live and me nah have one fuck fi give.” Say it louder, girls! Audio & Video After The Jump…

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WATCH THIS: Skip Marley “Let’s Take It Higher” A Boomshots Documentary

WATCH THIS: Skip Marley "Let's Take It Higher" A Boomshots Documentary

Awards Are Nice, But This Two-Time Grammy Nominee Answers To A Higher Calling

“Live if you wanna live,” Bob Marley declared at the outset of his landmark album Rastaman Vibration, released almost 45 years ago, in April 1976. In the years before Legend, Bob Marley & the Wailers’ 1984 greatest hits collection, which remains the best-selling reggae album of all time, Rastaman Vibration was the record that broke Marley to American audiences, becoming the first Marley LP to reach the Top 10 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.

On the second track, “Roots Rock Reggae,” Marley took new listeners by the hand and introduced them to a new sound from the faraway island of Jamaica. “Play I some music,” Bob sang, and the I Threes—Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt—replied in unison, “This is reggae music.”

At the start of the second verse, the Tuff Gong pleaded with industry gatekeepers and radio programmers. “Play I on the R&B,” he sang. “I want all my people to see. We’re bubbling on the Top 100 just like a mighty dread.” Bob’s prophecy was fulfilled when the song reached No. 51 on Billboard’s Top 100, but R&B radio would prove harder to penetrate. The top R&B song of 1976 was “I Wish” by Stevie Wonder, who had performed with Marley at Jamaica’s National Stadium the year before. But even white groups like The Steve Miller Band, The Bee Gees, and Hall & Oates were getting more love on American R&B radio than Bob Marley at the time. By 1980 Bob was booked as an opening act for The Commodores at Madison Square Garden, and famously upstaged the headliners but Marley’s earthly mission was soon cut short, to be continued.

In May 2020, Bob’s grandson Skip Marley reached the top of Billboard’s Top Adult R&B Songs airplay chart with a gorgeous duet called “Slow Down” featuring R&B superstar H.E.R. The artists’ creative chemistry and song’s video made the track a fan favorite. “Slow Down” is nominated for Best R&B Song at the 2021 Grammy Awards this weekend. Skip’s debut project Higher Place is also nominated for the Best Reggae Album Grammy, a milestone in the 24-year-old singer/songwriter/musician/producer’s career.

In “Let’s Take It Higher,” a new Boomshots documentary premiering today on VIBE.com, Skip reflects on the honor of being nominated for the prestigious awards and of carrying on a mighty legacy in his own unique style. Video After The Jump…
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Reasoning with Daddy U Roy The Original Dancehall Teacher

Reasoning with Daddy U Roy The Original Dancehall Teacher

Paying Respect to a Pioneer of Deejay Music

The race is not for the swift, but who can endure it. And Jamaica’s foundation deejay Daddy U Roy is still setting the pace. Ewart Beckford, O.D., known to lovers of Jamaican music as U-Roy aka Daddy U Roy the Teacher, passed away last night at the age of 78. As a pioneer of Jamaican deejay music, aka toasting, aka the birth of dancehall, U Roy’s impact on popular music worldwide cannot be overstated.

In the video for Rah Digga’s “Imperial,” Busta Rhymes shakes his locks into the camera and proclaims that “This station rules the nation with version.” Ardent students of reggae roots will recognize the line as a direct lift from “Rule the Nation,” a musical blast from 1970 that forever changed the soundscape of Jamaica, sending tsunami-sized ripples out from the little island that rocked the world. Never before had an instrumental “version” of a popular song been combined with straight-from-the-dancehall microphone toasting to create a hit single. Working with legendary rock-steady producer Duke Reid, a smooth-talking called U Roy scored not one but three big tunes. “Wake The Town” and “Wear You to the Ball” completed U Roy’s six-week lock on the top three positions in the Jamaican charts, and proved that deejaying (or, as Yankees would rename it, rapping) was here to stay.  Interview Continues After The Jump… Read more »

WATCH THIS: Yaadcore “Tension” Official Music Video PREMIERE

WATCH THIS: Yaadcore "Tension" Official Music Video PREMIERE

Ask Nuh Question, Nuh Badda Mention

Did you ever notice something about this journey called life? Funny how sometimes your moment of elevation is the same moment people around you start to feel you gone past your place. When things come to bump, you may be surprised to know who might end up praying for your downfall. More time you find the situation can lead to tension. Like just this morning, Yaadcore forward with a. big new tune. Caan say you never know—it’s been all over social media all weekend. In case you never get the memo, the top rootsman selector of this generation has his own label imprint 12 Yaad Records—because who better to curate some serious sounds? Elevation we say. And yes, he’s an artist too because why not?  Video After the Jump…  

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Watch The Documentary ‘Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes’

Watch The Documentary 'Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes'

New Doc Tells the Truth About Jamaica’s Recording Industry

Lee “Scratch” Perry has seen it all. The notoriously eccentric reggae producer, vocalist, and visionary has created classics with artists ranging from Bob Marley & The Wailers to The Clash and The Beastie Boys. A literal living legend, he may be the only person on earth to have collaborated and quarreled with such iconic Jamaican producers as Coxsone Dodd, Joe Gibbs, and King Tubby—and outlived them all. When he burned his own Black Ark studio to the ground in 1979, people called him a madman, but Scratch just has his own way of doing things.

One rainy night in the English countryside, the British filmmaker Reshma B sat with Scratch in a spooky old mansion, interviewing the man who’s also known as The Upsetter, The Super Ape, and Pipecock Jackxon for her film Studio 17: The Lost Reggae Tapes, which has its worldwide debut today on Quincy Jones’s Qwest.TV and Jay-Z’s Tidal. Video and Full Story After the Jump…
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“Strong Me Strong” Blessed Earthstrong King Yellowman

"Strong Me Strong" Blessed Earthstrong King Yellowman

Nuff Respect to a Dancehall Legend

Today marks the 65th birthday of Winston Foster, the youth raised in a Jamaican orphanage who was once ostracized for the color of his skin but turned adversity to his advantage on his way to becoming King Yellowman. Born with albinism, the future international celebrity was disowned by his parents but went on to collab with Run-DMC and record a massive catalog of classic tunes, blazing a trail for Jamaican dancehall culture around the world. In honor of his earthstrong, we’ve dipped into the Boomshots archives to share his remarkable story.  Check out Reshma B’s in-depth interview with King Yellowman and his daughter K’Reema recorded backstage in New York City, as well as an in-depth profile published over 20 years ago. Nuff Respect. Video And Article After The Jump…  Read more »

HEAR THIS: Runkus ‘IN:SIDE’ Album PREMIERE

HEAR THIS: Runkus 'IN:SIDE' Album PREMIERE

When We’re Not Outside, Take Care of In:Side

One of the few redeeming aspects of the year 2020 was the emergence of Runkus as a force to be reckoned with at the forefront of Jamaica’s vibrant music scene. As with many so-called “overnight success” stories, most of the rise of this multitalented singer, deejay, rapper, and producer has occurred under the radar. Or, as Henry Wadsworth Longfellow so memorably put it:

The heights by great men reached and kept
      Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
      Were toiling upward in the night.

Back in the Christmas season of 2014, Runkus popped up on the Reshma B Chains pop-up shop at Manor Park Plaza in Kingston. Identifying himself as “Paula’s son, aka Determine bwoy, aka Joyce grandson, aka Pam nephew” the tall, slim dreadlocks youth with a wide-brimmed hat proceeded to unleash a lyrical barrage alternating between dreamy spliff-fueled melodies and furious fast-chat syllables that promised greater things to come. Flash forward to this past November, when Runkus rolled out his witty “Quarantine Slide” visuals with Boomshots. Today he blesses us with a full album on the Delicious Vinyl Island label, aptly entitled IN:SIDE. “The project came about simply from the times,” says the artist and producer who lists Missy Elliott, Timbaland, and Vybz Kartel—not to mention his brilliantly inventive father Determine—as musical influences. “Being locked down in my home city, Portmore, under order of the Government,” he says, “I took to the only thing I knew, music. In a trying time, it was my salvation.” Album & Videos After The Jump… 

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Skillibeng Creates “Cinema for Ears” on ‘The Prodigy’ Skilltape

Skillibeng Creates "Cinema for Ears" on 'The Prodigy' Skilltape

Reasoning With Mr. Universe

It’s not easy to make a name for yourself in the midst of a viral pandemic, but as Skillibeng explains on his smash hit “Mr. Universe,” he’s built for this. “From before Corona me social distance,” spits Skilli, who celebrated his 24th birthday today with the release of his highly anticipated project, The Prodigy Skilltape, and an interview with Reshma B of Boomshots. It’s been a breakthrough year for the artist known as The Fresh Prince. On the strength of his relentless creativity and tireless work ethic, Skillibeng has emerged as the face of dancehall’s new era. Video After The Jump…
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Buju Banton’s ‘Til Shiloh’ Marks 25 Year Milestone

Buju Banton's 'Til Shiloh' Marks 25 Year Milestone

Reasoning With The Gargamel On The Making of a Classic

Before Buju’s landmark album Til Shiloh was released in 1995, he stopped by the VIBE offices to give me a preview. We shut the door of my office, popped a cassette in the stereo, and burned a spliff in the middle of the day while I heard songs like “Untold Stories” and “Til I’m Laid to Rest” for the first time. Songs like “Champion” and “Murderer” were already dancehall anthems, as was the late Garnet Silk’s “Complaint,” which Buju had enhanced with his raggamuffin DJ flow. As we wrapped up the listening session it became clear to me that Buju had created a timeless classic. A quarter of a century later, Buju has gone over many hills and valleys and he’s still standing strong. He appeared on the cover of VIBE in celebration of his long-awaited album, Upside Down 2020, which has since been nominated for a Best Reggae Album Grammy Award. And today Til Shiloh, recently certified gold by the Recording Industry Institute of America, marks its 25th anniversary with a deluxe reissue that features three exciting new tracks. In honor of the occasion, here is the converstion we had on that day back in 1995.  Interview After The Jump… Read more »