Billboard named Joss Stone Reggae Artist of the Year 2015, But Here’s the Thing

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I noticed the recent uproar caused by, and massive publicity being given to Billboard Magazine, who announced their best of 2015 recently.  The initial blip that came on my radar was a Jamaica Observer article, but since then I have seen many of my peers in the reggae industry, especially those representing Jamaica, sounding off and voicing their disapproval of Billboard as if this was an objective award selection.

This controversy inspired my inquisitive mind so I did some research into Billboard Magazine’s previous year’s Reggae superlatives and found that it’s solely based on Reggae Album sales and these statistics have never been friendly to Jamaican performers.  Check the history over the past 5 years:

No Jamaicans have been Reggae Artist of the Year according to Billboard Magazine

No Jamaicans have been Reggae Artist of the Year according to Billboard Magazine

By simply visiting Billboard’s website and reviewing the rankings I saw that what happened in 2015 – a non-Jamaican crowned Artist of the Year – also happened in 2014, 2013, and so on and so forth. No one slammed the magazine when California-based reggae group Rebelution, Israel’s Matisyahu, or American rappers NAS and Snoop Lion were crowned.

If anything, Jamaican reggae artists, supporters, and the media alike should be reporting that 2015 was the best year in recent history for Jamaican reggae acts as evidenced by releases from Morgan Heritage, Protoje, Jah Cure, and Kymani Marley all selling well enough to be on the 2015 Reggae Album charts.  Yes, Joss Stone (UK) sold more, but in prior years only the Marley name could be found consistently among the top selling reggae albums reported by Billboard.

Congratulations to the aforementioned artists carrying the reggae banner in 2015.  How can we continue this resurgence of Jamaican reggae and secure a place for artists from the genre’s homeland on international music charts, and concert stages?  Start by putting your money where your mouth is.  Vote for the artist you love by buying their album.

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Reggae In the Age of the Internet

Everyone knows that reggae is best appreciated loud through a sound system with a stomach shuddering bass. This is not what one normally associates with music heard through the internet – the speakers on most laptops are not going to do justice to King Tubby’s dubs or Prince Far I’s vocals. However, the internet has brought lots of good things for the world of reggae and Jamaican music.

In 2010, a young Jamaican entrepreneur and computer programmer created a new reggae/dancehall computer game which was reported in The Gleaner. Alex Morrisey, who previously created the famous website jamaicanmusic.com, called the game Songwrita and hopes it will be played by fans all around the world. His earlier website is a fantastic resource for anyone who wants to know about Jamaican music.

The idea behind the game is that you have to catch various song lyrics as they fall from the sky while you name the artiste – it also links in to iTunes too, so you can buy the music you like. Morrisey told The Gleaner that “I am delighted to have launched this game because dancehall and reggae music is an international entertainment staple that influences so many cultures around the world – Songwrita will definitely help to bring popularity to upcoming artistes and further establish the strength of our music around the globe – something that we are all proud of.”

This wouldn’t be the first time music has inspired a computer game. Music is found in everything from corporate blockbusters like the Grand Theft Auto games, which include lots of great tunes, to smaller games, like pocketfruity.com and Kerrang Radio‘s collaboration on Stairway to 7. Other internet entrepreneurs have looked to Facebook and other social media for inspiration rather than games. The website muzikspace.com is a Caribbean online community where people can meet other music fans and share music, images and videos. An interesting project that is currently seeking funding on the crowd funding website Kickstarter is Trendy Reggae. This is a social utility for reggae and dancehall music fans to discover new music and gigs. The app was created by Tarique Smith (based out of New York) and Calvin Brown (based in Kingston) and you can help funding it until the end of Monday May 12th 2014. Another good reggae community site is reggaelution.com, so check that out too.

There are many other good reggae themed websites – and ours should surely be right at the top – and here is one of the best: For anyone who live in the UK or Europe generally, David Rodigan‘s site rodigan.com should be a saved your bookmarks. Rodigan is a legend in the UK where he has been DJing reggae since the 70s on the radio and live, he has even won the Champion Trophy at World Clash Reset in New York in 2012. This man has a serious passion for the music.

A few other websites you can try to find music, videos or to chat to fellow reggae fans are yardflex.com which has lots of news about Jamaica in general, but music in particular; dancehallreggae.com has loads of videos and lots of forums where fans can chat with others; if you’re just after a forum dancehallareaz.com forum is a great place to chat; and if you’re just after videos reggaetopten.com has lots of good stuff.

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Bunji Garlin’s Carnival Tabanca EP is Ready For The Road

Bunji Garlin - Carnival Tabanca EP - Artwork

Bunji Garlin – Carnival Tabanca EP – Artwork

Bunji releases a brand new EP to vocalize his Trinidad & Tobago Carnival sentiments.  According to Urban Dictionary, “Tabanca,” is defined as “an extreme sadness and/or a depression following one’s breakup or separation from one’s significant other.” Not one to dwell on the sadness, Bunji also includes “Red Light District,” “Carnival Tabanca (Vikings remix),” and this year’s Carnival anthem “Truck On D Road” on the EP. Full track list below:

1. Carnival Tabanca
2. Truck On D Road
3. Red Light District
4. Carnival Tabanca (Vikings remix)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kTeDBTKt19M

iTunes link.

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Vybz Kartel Drops New Album, ‘Kartel Forever: Trilogy’

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Dancehall icon Adidja “Vybz Kartel” Palmer drops his new album Kartel Forever: Trilogy, now available physically and digitally worldwide from Tad’s Record.

vybz-kartel-forever-620

Scoring coveted media attention from mainstream press including MTV, The Fader Magazine, and Complex Magazine, along with articles and reviews in numerous European and Caribbean media, ‘Kartel Forever: Trilogy’ debuted at #5 on the iTunes Reggae Top Albums Chart during its release day on September 24, 2013.

The three-disc anthology remains in the iTunes top ten reggae albums, a commendable showing for an album that comes with a hefty price tag of $24.99, compared to other releases that average $9.99.

Hailed as the undisputed World Boss of the dancehall genre, Kartel Forever: Trilogy is a rare international release from the talented and controversial artist, who remains incarcerated in his homeland, Jamaica.

Celebrated and polarized for his stimulating lyrics and provocative ploys on and off stage, there is no doubtVybz Kartel is a defining thread in the fabric of dancehall.

The Fader Magazine prides itself on being a definitive voice in music and previously hosted Vybz Kartel on its cover in June 2011.

The Fader exclusively premiered the entire ‘Kartel Forever: Trilogy’ album as a live stream for its massive audience on its release date, as the magazine celebrates Vybz Kartel as one of the biggest names in music today.

Check out The Fader’s Live Stream of Kartel Forever: Trilogy

MTV Iggy, a division of Viacom Media Networks, is focused on bringing cutting-edge global music and pop-culture to the US.

With a full album review due out later this week, journalist Marlon Bishop previewed the album with some bold words. “Vybz Kartel is the most powerful force in Jamaican music today: this is a fact few on the island would dispute,” Bishop stated.

Read the MTV Iggy article here.

Kartel Forever: Trilogy boasts 60 tracks on the three-disc album, including previously unreleased singles and numerous hits from recent years.

Kartel is determined to stay atop his dancehall throne and keep his fans satisfied until his inevitable return to the studio to make music for the masses. Jamaican imprintTad’s Record maintains a strong partnership with the entertainer.

According to the label, both overt and covert fans are raving about this colossal collection that showcases Kartel’s hit songs in its raw and purest form.

“The positive response that we have received regarding ‘Kartel Forever: Trilogy’ is overwhelming and more than we could imagine,” reveals Tad Dawkins, President of Tad’s Record.

“Vybz Kartel’s fans were starving since the release of Pon Di Gaza 2.0 and we are pleased to have lived up to their expectations with this follow-up tribute to a pioneering dancehall lyricist.”

With a slew of Vybz Kartel songs currently enjoying heavy rotation in Jamaica and on urban radio worldwide, including new singles “Compass,” “Business”and “School,” ‘Kartel Forever: Trilogy‘ provides a vivid kaleidoscope of his continued evolution as an extraordinary artist.

Despite his geographic limitations, his music speaks volumes, as is evident from his continued surge in popularity and international demand, which continues to increase with each passing day.

Kartel Forever: Trilogy is now available in stores or online, from Tad’s Record.

BEENIE MAN featuring CECILE – THUG LOVE – OFFICIAL VIDEO

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Hot off the heels of his appearance at the BET Awards, Beenie Man is back with a love song done in his own uniquely-worded way. The “King of the Dancehall” premiered his new joint “Thug Love” with a live walk-on on BET’s 106 & PARK on August 30th.

Music Video by Beenie Man feat. Cecile performing Thug Love (Explicit). (C) 2013 Grillaras Productions/Zojak World Wide.

Thug-Love-cover

Filmed on location in the picturesque setting of Portland, Jamaica and Directed by United States-based filmmaker Mike Abela.  Abela’s past credits include videos for Vybz Kartel, Junior Reid, Sharon Tucker and many more.

The single is currently available on iTunes and a variety of online retailers.

SLY & ROBBIE PRESENT DANIELLE “DI” – THE REBEL, Now In Stores

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Reggae/dancehall blockbuster hit makers Sly & Robbie present dancehall female singjay Danielle “DI” in her debut studio effort, The Rebel, now in stores from Tad’s Record.

danielle_di

Born Danielle Isaacs and raised a stone’s throw away from the home of the legendary Bob Marley in Kingston, Jamaica, Danielle is determined to follow in his footsteps as an ambassador for her homeland.

The Rebel accomplishes this ambitious goal and catapults this music sensation towards fulfilling her dream of being a global sensation.

Working with legendary producers and songwriters on eight sizzling tracks, Danielle “DI” is following a formula for sure success.

She also collaborates with some of the top names in reggae and dancehall, including Cherine Anderson on the title track “Rebel,” dancehall great Shabba Ranks on “Big Man,” and reggae royalty Gramps Morgan on “Sexual Healing.”

“Putting out this album has a bit of excitement to it because it’s a different kind of a showcase of dancehall from a female point of view,” reveal producers Sly & Robbie and Orville “Rory” Baker.

Known to fans as the ‘Rebel Princess of Dancehall,’ Danielle “DI” has been on the scene for some time, honing her skills and working on her craft with the likes of Beenie Man, Ce’Cile and Vybz Kartel.

More information

 

Tad’s Record Releases Hit Dancehall Compilation, ‘Phantom Vol. 3,’

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Jamaican imprint Tad’s Record releases the latest installation in their hit dancehall compilation series, Phantom Vol. 3, available worldwide now.

phantom_vol3

The album features the biggest names in dancehall music and showcases the hottest tunes straight from the dance halls in Jamaica, to keep the genre alive and fans satisfied year-round.

Boasting 31 electrifying singles, Phantom Vol. 3 features hit singles that are already tearing up the airwaves in Jamaica, including I-Octane with “Gal A Gimmie Bun,” Mavado with “Million Dollar Man” and Vybz Kartel with”Lighter.”

The album also sees the likes of dancehall heavy-hitters Konshens,Popcaan and Tommy Lee Sparta, giving aficionados the very best in dancehall music today.

“Phantom Vol. 3 is our third installment in the hit series, which has found a home with dancehall fans around the globe,” reveals Tad Dawkins, President of Tad’s Records.

“Each year, Tad’s Records strives to bring the latest and best music from the Jamaican music industry to the global fan base and this album fulfills that mission.

It also makes obvious that the genre is alive and well, both at home and internationally.”

 Phantom Vol. 3 is now available worldwide from all major digital retailers, including iTunes and Amazon, from Tad’s Record. For more information,please visit tadsrecord.com.

 TRACK LIST

1. Konshens – No Hesitation (I’m Coming)
2. I-Octane – Gal a Gimmi Bun
3. Mavado – Mr Tek Weh Yu Gal
4. Tommy Lee Sparta – ExplicitBun Nu Nu (Raw)
5. Tommy Lee Sparta – Bun Nu Nu (Clean)
6. Popcaan – Naughty Girl
7. Popcaan – When We Party
8. Vybz Kartel – Lighter
9. I-Octane – Bun It and Laugh
10. Vybz Kartel – ExplicitWeed Smoker (Raw)
11. Vybz Kartel – Weed Smoker (Clean)
12. Mavado – Million Dollar Man
13. Mavado – At the Top
14. Vybz Kartel – Mr Bleach Chin
15. Mavado – ExplicitMarch Out (Raw)
16. Mavado – March Out (Clean)
17. Konshens – ExplicitFrom Yuh See Me (Raw)
18. Konshens – From Yuh See Me (Clean)
19. I-Octane – Buss a Blank
20. Popcaan – ExplicitKilla From Me Born (Raw)
21. Popcaan – Killa From Me Born (Clean)
22. Tommy Lee Sparta – ExplicitDem Nuh Bad (Raw)
23. Tommy Lee Sparta – Dem Nuh Bad (Clean)
24. Tommy Lee Sparta – ExplicitDi Mechanic (Raw)
25. Tommy Lee Sparta – Di Mechanic (Clean)
26. Konshens – ExplicitBad Gal (Raw)
27. Konshens – Bad Gal (Clean)
28. Popcaan – ExplicitCoolie Gyal (Raw)
29. Popcaan – Coolie Gyal (Clean)
30. I-Octane – Fly Ova Badmind
31. Tommy Lee Sparta – Lyrical Bomber

Midnite’s ‘Be Strong’ Album Available May, 2013

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Hailing from St Croix, Virgin Islands — Midnite’s cutting-edge sound of modern roots music comes alive once again on their upcoming album Be Strong on May 14.

Hailing from St Croix, Virgin Islands -- Midnite's cutting-edge sound of modern roots music comes alive once again on their upcoming album Be Strong on May 14. The release follows In Awe, which was chosen by iTunes U.S. as one of the Best Reggae Albums for 2012. On Be Strong, their naked and raw roots reggae style -- filled with extensive remixes, overdubbing and other musical refinements -- weaves the cultural lyrics of old- school roots music with modern day to create a unique listening experience. In this album, look for Shona style guitars and percussion, hand drums from Mali and the Congo, Mbira (hand piano), Marimba, Zimbabwean guitar lines, trumpet from new orleans. Heavy African Influence, featuring members and players from "Playing for Change" ( a famous group in their own right), as well as various traveling African musicians. These traditional styles of ancient music blend with modern roots to crate a scorching sound. These production styles are unique to Midnite's catalog, brought exclusively through collaboration between Midnite and Fifth Son Records' production. Midnite is currently touring the U.S. until the end of April. Their live performances have won them a legion of fans among the reggae community.   Be Strong - Album Available May 14, 2013 [VPAL Music]

The release follows In Awe, which was chosen by iTunes U.S. as one of the Best Reggae Albums for 2012.

 On Be Strong, their naked and raw roots reggae style — filled with extensive remixes, overdubbing and other musical refinements — weaves the cultural lyrics of old- school roots music with modern day to create a unique listening experience.

In this album, look for Shona style guitars and percussion, hand drums from Mali and the Congo, Mbira (hand piano), Marimba, Zimbabwean guitar lines, trumpet from New Orleans.

Heavy African Influence, featuring members and players from “Playing for Change” ( a famous group in their own right), as well as various traveling African musicians. These traditional styles of ancient music blend with modern roots to create a scorching sound.

These production styles are unique to Midnite’s catalog, brought exclusively through collaboration between Midnite and Fifth Son Records’ production. Midnite is currently touring the U.S. until the end of April.

Their live performances have won them a legion of fans among the reggae community.

Morgan Heritage Hits Number #1 with “Perfect Love Song”

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Within a week of its release, Morgan Heritage‘s “Perfect Love Song” hit number #1 on the iTunes Japan Reggae chart.

Morgan Heritage Hits Number #1 with "Perfect Love Song"

from left to right: Gramps, Una, Mojo, Lukes, Peetah

Although no artists like to be compared to another, Reggae’s royalty Morgan Heritage have been referred to as the “Rolling Stones” of Reggae music. Their longevity, their sold out arenas and festivals, and their worldwide chart topping music make them a contender for the music hall of fame.

Murmurs of critics who have heard tracks from the upcoming “Here Come The Kings” studio album, are in consent that the work is Grammy worthy. “Here Come The Kings” is slated to be released June 4th worldwide.

Morgan Heritage is preparing for a promotional tour in the North East of the United States to support the growing success of their “Perfect Love Song” single.

Below are some of the dates for the upcoming weeks and log on to Facebook.com/MorganHeritage to keep up to date with future appearances.

Perfect Love Song is available worldwide on iTunes / MorganHeritageMusic.com

See Morgan Heritage Live:
March 13 New Haven, CT Toads Place
March 14 NY, NY BB Kings
March 15 Boston, MA Kays Oasis
March 16 Albany, NY The Polish Community Center

Reggae Royalty “Morgan Heritage” Gives Fans the Perfect Love Song

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It is not by self imposed accolades that MORGAN HERITAGE are referred to as Reggae Royalty, but rather from music lovers around the world who recognize their rich Reggae heritage and gift to Reggae Music. 

From playing to hundreds of thousands of people in sold out concerts throughout Europe, Africa and the Caribbean Islands, to numerous #1 hits internationally, Morgan Heritage long ago cemented their name and stake in this industry.

2012 saw Morgan Heritage reconnect with their fans as they embarked on a long awaited “The Return” tour and gave new music to eager fans from their EP of the same name.
The EP released in most of the world in August and in North America in September of 2012, brought a breath of fresh air to Reggae, and at the urging of their fans they have been back in the studio putting the finishing touches on their upcoming “Here Come the Kings” full album.
Morgan Heritage - Perfect Love Song - Artwork

Morgan Heritage – Perfect Love Song – Artwork

Thankfully fans will not have to wait to regale their ears with new music as the “Perfect Love Song” hit iTunes on Tuesday February 5th, 2013. The single was chosen for it’s fun loving vibe. “It’s different” says Peetah Morgan.
The single merges genres as it captures the Morgan Heritage crossover appeal while keeping the roots vibe present in the verses. As an added Bonus, fans will delight in Gramps deejaying for the first time on a Morgan Heritage song in over 10 years.
“The story behind “Perfect Love Song” is just a person realizing that the one he or she loves makes them feel beyond good, beyond great. Instead the person makes them feel HEAVENLY!” – Peetah Morgan
“A perfect love song to me is a love song that goes beyond the bedroom. It’s a song that can apply to love universally.” – Mojo Morgan
Written by Morgan Heritage and produced by Linton “TJ” White, Andrew Myrie and Morgan Heritage “Perfect Love Song” was released by VP Records and is available worldwide on iTunes. The “Here Come the Kings” album is slated to be released later in 2013.
Preparations for the video “Perfect Love Song” are under way and will be shot on location in Miami Beach, Florida.

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