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.

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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.