A look behind the scenes with Neil Robertson, a music industry exec. from the golden era of reggae and hip-hop.
Neil Robertson worked behind the scenes as an A&R for Island Records. He was also a label manager and marketer for Island Jamaica. Neil was in the boardrooms and studios working with Beenie Man and Luciano. Later, as an artist manager, he toured with some of the best in the business, made deals, negotiated, and influenced.
Born and raised in NYC, Neil currently curates the music program at Alley Cat Amateur Theatre at The Beekman Hotel. He also handles DJ programming at The Seaport District/Pier 17 for Howard Hughes Corp and Pier A Harbor House for HPH Hospitality.
Behind the Scenes Highlights
A&R for Island Records, Gee Street, and Richard Branson’s re-entry into the music business, V2.
Worked on RZA’s “Bobby Digital In Stereo GOLD,” “Wu-Tang Forever,” and Gravediggaz “The Pick, The Sickle & The Shovel.”
Worked on DJ Premier’s “Afu-Ra Body Of The Life Force.”
Helped usher in a new era of Reggae and re-establish Island as the premiere Reggae label in the world.
Popular reggae artists have pushed the sonic envelope recently. The reception by reggae lovers has varied.
There are different perspectives on why this is, and if its the right direction for the music. We analyze perspectives and presumed motives in the context of the current revolution and in general terms.
Listen to this episode to hear:
Reactions to Chronixx saying there is no match for Sizzla in a clash.
Major Lazer’s Jillionaire sits down with Reggae Lover’s AGARD and Kahlil Wonda.
Jillionaire Interview (Major Lazer, Feel Up Records)
Christopher Leacock aka Jillionaire is a Trinidad-born DJ/Producer, entrepreneur, IT guru, and restauranteur. He shares insights and drops gems while taking us through his amazing career.
In this Jillionaire interview, he came off like a scholar and an elder. He dropped a lot of knowledge. Dropped a lot of history, and a lot of perspectives. This conversation was nice and mellow – very different energy than last week’s show with Walshy Fire. Nevertheless, Jillionaire had profound things to say and you will enjoy the discussion.
Big ups to Buju Banton who’s been continuing his promotion of Upside Down 2020. Last week that promo brought him to a couple of very big platforms. One of them being the Breakfast Club.t
I love the song. I love the video. It speaks for Jamaicans living abroad and at home. The composition embodies the Jamaican patriotic spirit. Make sure you don’t miss that.
There is a new single from Kabaka Pyramid, a response to the current social injustice. The song, “Babylon Fallin,” came out on July 17th, 2020 with accompanying visuals. The music video features clips of scenes with the police facing off against citizens.
Kabaka uses his well-known lyrical prowess in this very conscious song. It’s social commentary. One of the themes that we’ve been talking about on this platform is the need for music like this. This song definitely goes on that list of revolutionary music. And it’s right on time.
The riddim is a different kind. It is not a “one-drop” beat. The message and production are coherent with the times. Regardless of what genre you subscribe to, once you hear the song, you hear what he’s talking about. If you’re anything short of an anarchist or a racist yourself, then you will feel the passion. The release has seen coverage by The Source, a nod to Kabaka’s rep as a dope emcee.
Every Friday Team Torment presents the Locked and Loaded dubplate showcase. Hear four different sounds weekly live on YouTube. Shout out and the entire Team Torment crew, King AP, Blackheart, and the rest of sounds.
Also in sound clash news, Soundclash.com has a new series coming out sponsored by Serato called No Jing Bang. The tournament will be hosted by D.J. English Fire, Chris Diamond, Walshy Fire, and Warrior Sound.
What do I love about this? First of all, it’s great to see the unity between Chris Diamond, Walshy, and Warrior. Two of the top online clash promoters have now joined forces. Secondly, the major corporate sponsorship for this sport is a huge win. Look out for more developments from the No Jing Bang series. We’re glad to see some growth in the SoundClash community as we all adapt to this new normal.
This season, we will bring you more interviews due to what’s going on in the world right now. Some great potential guests have definitely freed up. We look forward to sharing more exciting, insightful conversations with you. So stay tuned.
Get In Touch
Reggae Lover Podcast is produced by Andres AGARD and Aubrey Kahlil Agard. Visit ReggaeLover.com for full show notes, archives, and more information. If you’re interested in a sponsorship or donation, please email info@ReggaeLover.com. Follow us on Instagram @ReggaeLoverPodcast. Like our Facebook page at Facebook.com/ReggaeLoverPodcast.
Our special guest is Walshy Fire from Major Lazer.
We enjoyed reasoning with someone that AGARD and I have known for decades. Before the podcasts, and before all the fame. If you’re not familiar with Walshy Fire I don’t know what rock you’ve been under. He has been everywhere in the world to deejay.
Walshy Fire talked about the state of the culture. We commented on dancehall, reggae, and business. We talked about soundclash and life in general. We didn’t get into a lot of his background. If you want to check into his background, he’s done many interviews in the past. If you’re looking for that go check out this spot.
During this conversation, we checked in and started shooting from the hip. The session was militant, and energetic, which is a good combination.
Walshy Fire Reasoning
How quarantine has changed life.
The soundtrack to the revolution.
Soundclash.com and the Quarantine Clash series.
Upcoming Major Lazer albums, artists, and mixtapes.
The “Customized Years” book.
The energy of nightlife versus day parties.
Influencers standing against destructive music.
The end of “niggering.”
Highlights for 2020 so far.
Buzzworthy, Tastemaker, and Soundclash Update
Buju Banton celebrated a birthday.
Donovan Jermaine and Buju received their gold record plaques for Til Shiloh.
Please join us next week for a reasoning session with Jillionaire from the Major Lazer crew. Tell a friend to tell a friend and shared a link to this show. Tweet a link to the show and tag @ReggaeLoverPod. We’ll be looking for you online using hashtag #ReggaeLoverPodcast.
This is our 200th official episode of Reggae Lover. We talked about “Upside Down 2020,” the long-anticipated album from Buju Banton.
There’s such a thing as an instant classic, and this Buju Banton new album is that. Listen to our in-depth analysis of every track.
Buju Banton New Album, Sales and Streams
We also talked about record sales and chart performance. The album got close to 3000 sales in its first week. That includes all physical copies, digital downloads as well as streams. What is a “stream?” What is the stream worth? A stream is a fraction of a sale. So you need a certain amount of streams, whether it be songs or the entire album, in order for it to equal one sale.
It was actually a strong debut compared to other releases from Jamaican artists. We look at the fact that Vybz Kartel released his album on the same day as Buju. His album, “Of Dons and Divas,” sold a little less than half that of “Upside Down 2020.” Koffee’s “Rapture,” EP which won the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album had less than 600 first week sales.
We have had episodes about Billboard, sales, and what it means for Jamaican reggae artists. Music is actually the marketing tool for touring, merchandise sales, etc. In that case, Buju is in good hands with Roc Nation. I’m sure they’ll exploit this album very well.
The Buju Banton new album, “Upside Down 2020” debuted in the number two position on the Billboard reggae chart. Also, on the Itunes chart for reggae music, it debuted at number two. At the time, Bob Marley held the number one slot on both of those charts. Vybz Kartel’s “Of Dons and Divas” debuted at the number six position on both charts.
The Tastemaker Segment
Last week’s episode, we didn’t get to go into this segment at all. As a result, there were a few things that I wanted to make sure that we mentioned.
Firstly, the Dré Island album, a debut album that features Popcaan on the “We Pray” single. The name of the album is “Now I Rise.” I bumped it or a good little while when it first came out. He’s doing press for the album right now. Go look for “Now I Rise” from Dre Island. Very good music.
If you’re a fan of Chronixx or Damian Marley, you’ll definitely love Dre Island. He’s very talented in his own right. He has a song out with Tory Lanez. So he has crossover songs as well.
Secondly, there’s an awesome release from Grammy nominee, Etana. An album entitled “Gemini,” which debuted on June 19th, distributed by Kojak WorldWide. That album is official. Very good production. “Gemini” brings a strong balance of dancehall, reggae, and lovers’ rock. There is some roots reggae flavor as well.
Kabaka Pyramid has a feature on there. Nomadz has a feature on there along with an artist known as Yhasha. This may be her best album to date. It’s definitely one of my favorites. Every song has a good vibe. I would add the whole album to my quarantine playlist. Take my recommendation. This is good, solid music.
Thirdly, we have to talk about Koffee. Her new single entitled “Pressure” is an inspirational song for the times. She speaks to the ghetto youths, but she’s also talking to every man. Every one of us is under pressure, if not now, at some point. It’s that type of message that can help to pull you through that kind of a situation. So I love it. She’s singing. She’s deejaying. It’s message music. A music video for that is also out.
In addition, Koffee is on “Bigger Love,” John Legend’s new album, released June 19. The song that features coffee is “Don’t Walk Away.” This song a breakup love song duet between the two of them. The curious thing is, so far, Koffee’s material hasn’t been love songs. There’s Justin Bieber’s, “I don’t care” remix where she appears alongside Chronixx. That would be the first but is more pop dance.
“Don’t Walk Away” is more of an R&B style song. Definitely check that out. And of course, if you’re a John Legend fan, we talked about him earlier with this feature on the budget album. He’s got a big project out right now.
Finally, we’ve got a new song from Anthony B entitled “Black and Proud.” This is not a protest or a revolutionary song a la “Fire Pon Rome.” He’s not telling you who needs to get burnt up in the fire. It’s a revolutionary song along the lines of just making this simple statement. I’m black and I’m proud.
If you follow the news you know that saying “Black Lives Matter” is offensive to many people. So saying things like “black power” or “black and proud” is also going against the grain. These are the messages that we want to hear from our reggae artists, especially our cultural artists. And Anthony B is known for being that guy.
This one is on the new World Rebirth rhythm produced by Reggae Vibes Music. It’s a brand new song released on July 8th. Anthony B’s “Black and Proud.” Please check it out. It’s awesome. Good reggae music. Good for the heart, the soul, and the brain.
Sound System Update and Wrap up
We also gave a very concise recap of some recent sound system, soundclash live online events. In conclusion, we announced next week’s special guest will be Walshy Fire of Major Lazor.
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