by kahlil wonda •
I would like to big up all the aspiring artists out there. My last blog topic, Girl Power got the attention of many female artists currently making their own mark in the industry and I think its great. Thanks for reading the blog. Even though the road may be rough and rugged, in the words of Tupac Shakur,
“…keep your head up.”
For the record, my favorite singer in reggae is Marcia Griffiths. She is credited with the mega hit “Electric Boogie,” by far one of the biggest, most recognizable tunes in the history of the world. In fact its one of the earliest dancing tunes I remember to have come out of Jamaica. Known as the Empress of Reggae Music, Marcia was one of the I-Threes, who sang harmonies alongside Bob Marley and the Wailers. Of her material I most enjoy the solo work she did for the legendary Studio One label. Marcia Griffiths totaled 16 solo albums released, 4 with Bob Marley, and 2 with the I-Threes in a career spanning over 30 years of performing. She is still featured on tour alongside Beres Hammond.
That is what I call inspiration for all the young ladies out here striving to make a dream come through. Personally I like to play female artists whether at a live gig or putting down a studio mix even though many DJs ignore those selections as a whole. Big up DJ Pauze from Shock Out Radio out of the UK everytime. He has a slew of female artists from the UK, and the Caribbean islands that he is promoting. Check out his MySpace dedicated to promoting his female artists.
The results of the Highlanda.net survey on new female reggae artists are in…
Several female voices have come out of Jamaica in the last few years who are looking to one day be mentioned amongst the likes of dancehall veterans like Marcia Griffiths, Nadine Sutherland, Lady Saw, Tanya Stephens and others. Who is your favorite FEMALE reggae artist on the scene right now?
…and the winner was a Jamaican actress and Dancehall/Reggae vocalist, Cherine Anderson with 40% of the votes. Her duet with Chuck Fender entitled Coming Over established itself as an anthem in the dancehall. Download a free mixtape of her music hosted by Rory of Stone Love from her website CherineAnderson.com. Cherine is a young, but accomplished talent. Her films to date include Dancehall Queen and One Love.
In second place was Queen Ifrica, also known as Fyah Muma out of Tony Rebel’s Flames Production camp. Queen is more than just a good entertainer. In her hit song Daddy she tackles the issues of child molestation in the household. Her music is a true inspiration especially to all women and is filled with reality and very timely, conscious messages.
Next we introduce to the world Etana. Etana, which means ‘strong one,’ rejected the words and image of the sexy dancehall genre in favor of a visible lifestyle defined by Rastafari. She has by all evidence, been vindicated in her choices. Etana’s debut single, Wrong Address, struck a resounding chord and is still getting major radio play, while Roots, her next release is climbing similarly.
Also weighing in was the young Jamaican idol and Universal Motown recording artist Tami Chynn. A pop princess who emerged from one of the grittiest, male dominated music scenes, Jamaica’s dancehall. “My influences are very eclectic. If you browsed my iPod you’d get confused, but it all works really,” says Tami. Her new single Frozen featuring Akon is the title track of her new album in stores now.
All these artists are a big wave in the tsunami of talent coming out of the Caribbean. Other upcoming stars in the business to keep an eye on:
Princess of Reggae Music Etana Interview (highlanda.net)
A Tête-à-Tête with Reggae Artist Barrington Levy (tattoosloveandlunacy.wordpress.com)
Snoop Dogg – Snoop Dogg Names Diplo His Reggae Guru (contactmusic.com)
EAGGERSTUNN-Danish Reggae in Aarhus. (aarhusblog.com)
Etana Shares Her Joy With The World! (highlanda.net)
I find that the music coming out of Jamaica over recent years has been overwhelmingly violent with very lude lyrical content. This, among other factors which I will discuss here, I feel has left many fans totally disenfranchised. Some say it is due to the violence encountered in everyday life in parts of Jamaica. This I understand, however with that being said, wouldn’t it serve society better to deliver messages about peace, or just non-gun related topics? My question assumes that there are artists whose purpose it is to serve humanity. Perhaps this is not realistic.
There are Jamaican arists today, such as Luciano and others for example, who in every way represent the messages of truth, rights, roots and culture, and who bring strong, thought provoking lyrical content as opposed to just “Pop.” Popular culture in Jamaican Dancehall now includes:
men in tight pants dancing with each other while ladies are left alone (strange in a place where alternative lifestyles are taboo and frowned upon), songs with lyrics that intricately describe guns and scenes of shoot outs and even torture, and of course the extremely simple dancing tunes ala Pon the River, Dutty Wine, Nuh Linga, etc. This is all fine and well if done in moderation.
Nowadays in America, many partrons, DJs, selectors, and sound systems are guilty of perpetuating rubbish by following, copying and mimicing whatever they see coming out of Jamaica. Let me explain. The dancehall DVDs, the clips that make it to youtube, and the CDs from dances we access here are edited to only really feature the “hype” part of the dance when the “dancers” are in a frenzy, etc. This means that the same songs get played in the background over and over and over again. These “sound bites” have become dancehall.
Sounds no longer study music or prepare to perform for their audiences. Selectors no longer select. They simply download mp3 that they hear others spinning and run out to be their gigs to be mediocre at best. But you can’t tell them that because the just played alot of Mavado so therefore they ‘done the place?’
For the unoriginal, non-creative average DJ who doesnt know any better, this to them means they MUST play the exact same songs over and over. Not only that, but all the phrases, jokes, stories, and song intros that selectors in JA use are copied and used over and over.
Many of these DJs (so called entertainers) do not realize that in Jamaica most of the dances last until the early morning hours, which means that at points during the night the music varies to enable many different types of reggae music to be featured. Even at Passa Passa many other genres of music get played and get good responses from the crowd too.
The real victim is the partygoer who has spent money and alotted the time to come out and be entertained only to hear the same songs over and over with no introduction of anything new or refreshing and no chance for nostalgic vibes to be conjured up because 40 years of reggae music mega hits are left out and the DJ only plays the new mid to uptempo music (which will stay hot 6 months max.)
I have faith that the times will change and the real will recognize real. The truth is always true and will always come to light. Good will always conquer evil.
When I heard what Nas was planning to call his new release initially I though to myself, “I have to hear the entire thing before I formulate an opinion, because ‘Hip Hop is Dead’ was a modern-day classic.” I had to give Mr. Jones the benefit of the doubt.
Now to all the critics I can safely say:
(and I welcome you to comment on this whether you agree with me or not)
With the release of the controversial album, Untitled, Nas has stepped up to the plate and delivered once again with an album to top the last. In doing so he also tops the rest of the Hip Hop world as well. The Untitled Release is essentially conscious hip hop, which hasn’t been popular since the early 90s with groups like Public Enemy (what happened Flavor Flav…?), X-Clan, and Queen Latifah. His finest work since he debuted in 1992 with Illmatic, this new album is an essential piece of any true Hip Hop lover’s collection and in my opinion one of the most important records to have come out to date.
Thought provoking debates with social and political commentary are argued with clever word play and a revolutionary tone. Solid beats accompanied by masterful rhymes that tackle the issues we all face today. As a connoisseur of reggae music with its universal message I can relate to what Nas is kicking and say the release Untitled is officially TOP RATED.
And a word all artists and those who aspire to reach audiences in the musical arena I encourage you. Dare to take a stance. Say something!! Stand for something!! We are here to teach and to share our divine gifts with the world, not to mislead and waste our freedom of speech.