The Vault: Classic Music Reviews podcast host, Brian Cox gave us an education on the island of Grenada.
Brian shared his unique perspective as a first-generation American of Caribbean descent. He described the soundtrack of Grenada, and how music has changed there over time. We learned about the music and food you would encounter at a typical Grenadian party.
The Vault: Classic Music Reviews is a top-rated music commentary podcast. The co-hosts, hip-hop fans that grew up in the 90s, review classic hip-hop, R&B, and reggae albums 20 + years after their release. They break these albums down to see if they stood the test of time. Listeners get a perspective on classics from a fresh point of view. The Vault: Classic Music Reviews also includes guest interviews, round table discussions, and artist catalog debates.
We sat down for an interview with Tessellated, the Billboard chart-topping, Emmy-nominated Jamaican artist who blew up in 2017 with the hit single, Pine and Ginger.
During our Interview with Tessellated we uncovered:
What were his early musical influences?
From where does he draw his inspiration?
Who is he listening to right now?
What’s next on the horizon musically?
How did he get to #1 on the Billboard Jazz charts?
How did he earn the 2020 Emmy nomination?
How would he describe his lyrical and production styles?
The fusion of Afrobeat and Dancehall on new single, No Ansa feat. Crayon from Nigeria.
With Jamaican influence on international music inescapable in the current era, a new wave of exciting artists is emerging from the Caribbean island. One artist leading the charge for this global assault on the music industry is Tessellated, a multi-talented 23-year-old artist/producer from Kingston who burst onto the scene in 2017 with his bona fide Caribbean hit collaboration – Pine & Ginger.
Citing influences from many genres, a unique blend of styles and sounds shapes the backdrop for Tessellated’s musical endeavor. Through this, he aims to push forward a fusion of Jamaica’s roots presented alongside other world genres. With this original style, Tessellated has now carved out a lane of his own already garnering support from music industry heavyweights such as Camila Cabello, Lily Allen, Diplo, Major Lazer, Jorja Smith, and more.
Continuing the trend of breaking boundaries, last year Tessellated picked up a huge sync deal for his track ‘I Learnt Some Jazz Today’, a fusion of jazz, dancehall & hip hop, with Apple for their film ‘Bounce’ created for the release of their new AirPods. After its release, the song saw massive support worldwide, racking up several million plays in a matter of months and going #1 on the Jazz Billboard Chart, a first for a Jamaican artiste.
Since then, Tessellated has signed with Sony/ATV Publishing and is currently gearing up to release his first solo project.
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.
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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This episode examines the dichotomy that is the incarcerated, gold-selling, chart-topping, and ever polarizing Vybz Kartel. His murder conviction was recently upheld by the Jamaican appeals court. Also, he won the Best Male Dancehall Artist category at the International Reggae and World Music Awards in Jamaica for the last two years in a row.
3:10 – Tory Lanez IG Live shut down.
5:04 – Reggae community responses to COVID19.
11:41 – Coronavirus and quarantine themed reggae/dancehall songs from Sizzla, Luciano, Ding Dong, Kabaka Pyramid, Christopher Martin, Ce’Cile, Christafari, Ed Robinson, DYCR, Silver Kat, Zagga, Mr. Vegas and more.
22:10 – Walshy Fire’s second Quarantine Clash featuring Bobby Konders (Massive B) versus Jazzy T (Renaissance).
26:40 – Major Hype (Massive B) versus Nore (Afrique).
32:45 – What matters more to Kartel fans, his songs or whether he committed the murder?
44:10 – Would more people attend a Vybz Kartel concert than Buju Banton’s Long Walk To Freedom concert in Jamaica?
54:04 – What would the dancehall industry be like if Vybz Kartel was never allowed to record music in prison?
This episode explores the current trend of celebrity producers and song-writers going live and competing in pseudo-soundclash fashion.
Selectors are juggling live and clashing on social media channels like never before. The music industry must continue to thrive using the technology that’s available whether through live content, on-demand, or both. The lock-down situation will no doubt push the limits of what’s possible.
25:15 – Antigua Quarantine History Clash 2 with Stonewall vs Exorcist on FB live.
29:22 – Brief recap from Spring Killing in NY with Super Tremor vs. Real Sound vs. Venom Xenos.
33:19 – Pantason urging artists to lower dubplate prices
36:18 – Rest in Peace to Apple Gabriel, a founding member of Israel Vibration. Reaction to his passing.
38:16 – Due to the Coronavirus, the 38th Annual International Reggae and World Music Awards (IRAWMA) was limited to a media-only broadcast. We discuss the winners and compare them with our predictions. Buju, Vybz Kartel, and Koffee were the biggest winners.
A talented group of Reggae producers has been spreading the culture worldwide without necessarily getting their due fanfare. Many listeners may not know who is responsible for the songs and riddims they enjoy listening to.
Some Jamaican hitmakers are even infiltrating other genres and collaborating with the biggest names in music. We highlighted some producers who have shined with successful records but have remained behind the scenes.
Kool Herc appears at the Jamaica Music Conference.Plans to open a museum in Kingston.
Pharell Williams of the Neptunes in the studio working on music with Buju Banton.
The superstar talks about his recently released album entitled “It All Comes Back to Love.” The project was executive produced by Shaggy.
We preview the album’s title track “It All Comes Back To Love” and “My Pillow’ which sound classic.
Listen for “It’s a Summertime Vibe” feat. Bounty Killer, and Maxi’s favorite cut, “The Bridge You Burn.”
Also, “Cool Nuh” with Shaggy, and “Anything You Want” with Estelle and Anthony Hamilton. Maxi takes us back to his early days in East London lifting speaker boxes. The singer walks us through an evolution forged in London’s sound system scene.
He was the first reggae artist to have a No. 1 hit worldwide, including the U.S. Billboard charts. There’s so much to learn from this fun conversation with the living legend, Maxi Priest.
Rising reggae star Lila Iké is our special guest for the 150th episode of Reggae Lover.
Podcast: Lila Iké – Reggae Lover podcast.
Often highlighted on this platform for being part of the resurgence of conscious, organic music in Jamaica, it was a pleasure to discuss the state of the culture with Lila. The talented Manchester native shared her story with us in an amazing interview.
During the interview we touched on:
Lila’s new single “Where I’m Coming From”
Childhood and the Influence of her mom
Move to Kingston and linkage with Protoje
Learning the business of music
Working with Protoje
Love of sound system culture and creating dubplates.
A special edition of Reggae Lover is now being broadcasted live on Nice Up Radio every Monday from noon to 1 pm PT. Check out NiceUpRadio.com or download the free Nice Up Radio mobile app from the iTunes Store or Google Play.
Many women have made a name for themselves in the male-dominated genre of Reggae music.
Here we speak of some current notables and analyze some of the issues that have always existed. There is always a balance of positive and negative and we touch on that in this Reggae Lover episode.
Of the several female artists that continue to hold their own, here are some highlights:
Etana has produced above average music for at least the past 10 years. She earned a nomination for Best Reggae Album at the upcoming 61st Annual Grammy Awards for her latest project, Reggae Forever. She is the first female nominee in that category since Sister Carol in 1997, and the fourth ever.
Spice became the first reggae artist to cross the 1 million followers mark on Instagram. Known for raunchy lyrics, she ventured into social commentary on her single “Black Hypocrisy.” The song, which tackles the issue of colorism is on her Billboard chart-topping mixtape entitled “Captured.” I hope that Spice tackles more serious issues in the future. She can be a positive influence for young women the way she is controlling the media right now.
Queen Ifrica has wowed audiences at festivals like Rebel Salute and Reggae Sumfest for the past several years. Her songs have broached the toughest topics from incest to skin bleaching. She sings out against crime, unhealthy diets, corruption, and other evils. Queen Ifrica is also well-rounded and able to discuss love and sexuality in tasteful ways.
Leaders of the new school:
Reggae revivalist Jah9 is as refreshing as she is an enigmatic force. She’s a yoga practitioner and poet turned reggae performing artist. Her dancehall career was nurtured by RoryStoneLove who produced her debut album. Jah9’s lyrics are deep, thought-provoking, and meaningful. Her music is powerful yet diverse.
The 17-year-old singer, songwriter, and guitarist, Koffee, emerged as a star in 2018. Her single’s, “Burning,” and “Raggamuffin,” gained local and international attention. Look out for her new hit, “Toast,” which looks to be an even bigger smash.
Lila Ike is one of the protege’s of Grammy-nominated reggae revival leader Protoje. She was a unique style and flair with songs about love and socioeconomic topics.
Twenty-one-year-old Yanah is known as “The Tiny Powerhouse.” With a hand-full of songs released to date, she has captivated listeners. Her delivery is sultry and passionate.
Sevana is another songstress working with Protoje’s In.Digg.Nation Collective record label. She stood out on “A Bit Too Shy” and “Sudden Flight” which featured Jesse Royal. Sevana has an amazing sound – one of the sweetest voices to come out of Jamaica in a long time.
Naomi Cowan came out with a fun 2018 single called “Paradise Plum.” She has an R&B/soul, reggae vibe and is actually the daughter of musician Tommy Cullen and singer Carlene Davis. She spent time in Canada where she went to college and then earned a Masters in digital media. After some time running her parent’s businesses, she has turned her focus to a music career. Look out for big things from Naomi!
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Kristine Alicia‘s 2nd album “Songs from Zion” debuted in 2017. Produced by RoryStoneLove and featuring Dean Fraser, the 11-track album is classic roots reggae with inspirational messages. Kristine’s vocal prowess bolsters the project. Rory’s Black Dub label has been grooming many promising female artists.
The ever-versatile Keida and potent lyricist Karamanti both represent a strong female presence. Their content centers around themes of unity and consciousness. Karamanti launched her own record label, BlackWuman22 Music.
Dancehall artist Dovey Magnum has risen to international fame in the past year. She’s by far one of the most powerful female performers in her class and her talent is undeniable. Her spiritual side is expressed in “Prayers Me Use and Win,” but her more popular anthems are X-rated. Dovey can definitely affect positive change by injecting conscious messages into her music.
Kelissa is the daughter of the lead singers from the foundation group Chakula. She attended University in California where she toured extensively. Kelissa also performed and spent time in Africa gaining notoriety there. She has toured and collaborated with Chronixx in the studio as well.
Other artists mentioned:
Marcia Griffiths, Nadine Sutherland, Tanya Stephens, Lady Saw (Marion Hall), Lady Ann, Lady G, Sister Nancy, Sister Charmaine, and Shensea.
There are many other female artists out right whose music is only about sex and sexuality. Their music gets to the forefront in the major media channels more often than not. Selectors and radio disc jockeys have been doing more following than innovating. Their playlists feature the same raunchy songs, with few attempts to introduce more diverse subject matter. It seems quite difficult to get played as a new performer. This only entices young upcoming women to embrace the same age-old cliche – sex sells.
Spice, who many refer to as the new Queen of Dancehall signed her record deal in 2009. Since then, her label has failed to release a full-length studio album of her songs. We dissect this issue trying to figure out how this could even happen.
With this climate how can new female artists get discovered while avoiding exploitation? How can we achieve more balance on the lineups of shows and concerts? How can radio, dancehall, and mixtape playlists become more diverse? How can reggae music, a genre that once stood as a voice for the voiceless embrace its own women? How can we become less hypocritical as an industry and as a society?
In this, the age of the #metoo movement, and “Surviving R. Kelly,” it is imperative that we protect and support our women. This discussion may pose more questions than answers, but it spawns a dialogue that needs to be had.
Add the names of female artists that should have been highlighted in this piece (tag them in the comments). Do you agree or disagree with the statements we have made? Do you have an answer to the questions posed? Let us know. Thanks for listening, reading, and sharing. This is dedicated to you. #reggaelover
Gregory Isaacs is one of the greatest reggae singers of all times. He’s in my Top 5 along with Bob Marley, Dennis Brown, Freddie McGregor, and Buju Banton. Many people around the world rate The Cool Ruler as their number 1.
Gregory Isaacs was active from the 60s all the way through the 2000s. There is a great deal of material in his catalog. This mix provides sweet reggae music with a love-related theme. The music can set a relaxing, romantic mood so please listen responsibly.
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Gregory songs about roots and culture are in an upcoming episode. Here The Cool Ruler sings the finest love songs. That’s right, A Mix of Gregory Isaacs LOVERS ROCK Only – Selections of Reggae, rubadub, lovers rock, rocksteady, and dancehall for lovers.
Best known for outstanding contributions in Lovers Rock, reggae singer Tony Curtis has prevailed over 3 decades in the music business.
Click image to download the MP3 audio file | 105 – Reggae Lover – Tony Curtis Greatest Hits
Tony Curtis has recorded many solo hit singles, 7 full-length studio albums, and a string of notable collaborations. Listen to Reggae Lover Podcast 105 to find out more about one of the best and most underrated contemporary Jamaican singers. This is an exclusive Tony Curtis mix with commentary at the end.
With an unwavering respect for and deep knowledge of reggae music, Highlanda Sound co-founder Kahlil Wonda hosts and produces the Reggae Lover Podcast. Stream Reggae Lover by Highlanda Sound on Apple Podcasts, Listen via Stitcher Radio On Demand or enjoy listening for free on SoundCloud from a desktop or your mobile device.
In 2018 Octane committed to growth by giving his fans a better live music experience. Bringing old-school standards to the new school, he will be performing with a live band as much as possible moving forward.
“Reggae music is the biggest music world wide… i’ve been to places in Africa where they don’t know about Jay-Z, but they know Bob Marley.”
I Octane is the executive producer of his new studio album, “Love & Life.” The album is an independent project recorded at his studio for his label, Conquer The Globe Productions. He talks about why he chose that route instead of signing with an international major label.
This artist is serious about applying proven business principles to solidify his career. Listen as he talks about his future goals, creative process, and reasons for his success.
I had an eye-opening conversation with Atlanta-based organizer for social justice, Ben Speight.
Ben tells how and why he fell in love with Reggae.
He talks about reggae as the soundtrack to movements of social change over the years.
He discusses the history of Ska and Roots Reggae, highlighting the political content.
He draws comparisons between Motown and music from the Rocksteady and UK Lover’s eras.
Hear his thoughts on dancehall, Cali reggae, and the new school of roots rockers coming out of Jamaica.
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This interview, episode 100 of the Reggae Lover podcast, is a testament to the diversity and power of reggae music. Like my guest said, please continue to support reggae music artists, musicians, DJs, and promoters.
Listen to the official promo mix for I-Octane’s May 4th Miami Album Release/Birthday event.
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This is a special edition of Blackfyre Ent’s Madhouse Fridays at Club Fate, 601 Silks Run # 2499, Hallandale Beach, FL 33009.
I-Octane is celebrating his third full-length album “Love & Life!” Preview songs from the album “Love & Life,” including “Up to We”, “Pretty Loud (feat. J Boog)”, “Let Me Love You” and many more. Shaggy, Demarco, Yanique the Curvy Diva, Ginjah, and Romain Virgo have features on the album.
Check out “Love & Life” by I-Octane on Amazon Music, iTunes, Spotify, Google Play Music and more. Stream ad-free from your desktop or mobile device, or buy CD’s and MP3s now.
This episode features amazing vocal talents Etana, JC Lodge, Marcia Griffiths, Timeka Marshall, Tessanne, Tami Chynn, Alaine, Adele, Kayla Bliss, Nikisha Lindo, Jodain Pantry, Queen Ifrica and more.
The theme of this mix is love. It makes you want to listen with friends or even with a special friend or loved one. Turn down the lights, turn up the music a little bit more, light a candle, sip some wine, and you know what to do. Its all about love which is a natural Vibes.
There’s reggae music for every mood and emotion, every day of the week, every part of the day, every day of the year. Go ahead and rock this episode on special occasions, play it at a party, or enjoy while you do work or play. Make sure that you go visit the archives of Reggae Lover too. You can visit reggaelover.com to enjoy a variety of different shows giving you a microcosm of reggae. I share from my personal music collection and it’s my passion to make people feel good so I enjoy sharing these mixes with you. I make it a point to represent for many female artists.
Thank you to all my loyal listeners and welcome to all the new listeners. If you’ve discovered this let your people know that you found a great way to enjoy mixes dedicated to reggae lovers. Shouts out to everybody that takes the time to write me via email and thank you for the requests. If you want to reach out to me email firstname.lastname@example.org. You can DM @reggaeloverpodcast on IG and @reggaeloverpod on Twitter. Keep tuning in and listening for new shows coming out weekly. Bless up.