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.
Please share this show with a friend and tag @reggaeloverpodcast (IG) or @reggaeloverpod on Twitter.
We are back with a new season after taking an eventful summer break. Our first episode, Caribbean Black Lives Matter, features Nick, the host of the Jamaican State of Mind podcast.
At the time of recording this, we were grappling with strong emotions. This, as a result of the series of events ensuing from the George Floyd lynching. Caribbean black lives matter.
We added a spin on the conversation as Caribbeans. Hear views on how American racism is viewed in the Caribbean and particularly Jamaica. It’s an interesting conversation.
We covered race, policing, protests, other solutions, and more. Most importantly, you’ll hear different perspectives on how reggae music is and should be interacting with the politics of today.
This is a time where we need Reggae music reform. Reggae needs another renaissance. We need to return to the culture once again. The music needs to reflect what’s actually going on in reality. There is too much music about flossing. We are living through curfews. The time is dread right now. People need more. And when you talk about revolution, that’s what reggae music is supposed to be doing. Reggae should be there to help fill that void and burn that fire.
At recent protests on the streets of American cities, Bob Marley and Peter Tosh’s music could be heard. Will any of our modern artists create music that will be a part of the soundtrack for the revolution? This is one of the underlying themes for this season of the podcast. #reggaereform
Because of the length of this conversation, we didn’t get into some of the other segments that we usually do, but they will be back throughout the season.
The Tastemaker segment will be back. Soundclash updates will return if and when we have SoundClash content or sound system subject matter. Today, we just wanted to take the time to highlight this important conversation, Caribbean Black Lives Matter.
WALSHY FIRE STATED THAT “JAMAICAN ARTISTS ARE ON THE VERGE OF CREATING A NEW GENRE” IN A RECENT INTERVIEW. THIS CLAIM WARRANTED FURTHER EXPLORATION SO WE WENT IN ON THE NEW MUSIC OF JAMAICA.
Before analyzing today’s music we reviewed the many genres that Jamaica has created. That amazing history includes Mento, Ska, Rock Steady, Reggae, Dub, and Dancehall. Reggae sub-genres Nyahbingi, lover’s rock, and rub-a-dub are also popular styles.
There was a peak in dancehall popularity in the early 2000s followed by a decline in quality reggae. At that time vinyl formats transitioned to the CD. Then CDs went out and digital downloads came in. As a result, DJs started using laptops to play music and consumers turned to personal electronics. This transitional period subsequently led to what we call the reggae revival.
The current global dancehall and reggae revival movements are creating genre-bending trends. Artists like Protoje, Chronixx, Kabaka Pyramid, Jesse Royal, Damian Marley, Lila Ike, and Koffee are synonymous with such trends.
Based on our analysis there either is a new emerging genre, or the concept of genres is simply dead. Distinctions between genres have become blurred and young audiences around the world are embracing that change.
Kerry-Ann Reid-Brown is the Jamaican born, New York City-based founder of Breadfruit Media; a podcast production company that provides strategy, development, and production of stories by Caribbean Americans on a variety of topics reflecting the diversity of experiences of the Caribbean’s global diaspora.
She is also the host of Carry On Friends – The Caribbean American Podcast, a show with authentically energetic Caribbean vibes, and thoughtful dialogue around culture, heritage, career, and everyday life that make up the Caribbean American experience.
When Kerry-Ann isn’t producing or recording episodes, she’s building a community with the Caribbean Podcast Directory which is a growing list of podcasts created by people of Caribbean Heritage whether in the region or in the diaspora.
A prestigious belt title on the line, the second installment of the exciting, competitive series goes down on Friday, October 18, 2019, in North America’s soundclash mecca—New York City. This epic, one-on-one, musical square off features the crowned “King of Europe”, Germany’s Supersonic Sound as the first-ever WFC belt challenger, versus USA’s defending WFC champion King Shine from New Jersey.
King Shine’s battle-tested selector, Jimmy Spliff, made history by earning the very first WFC champion title in the inaugural “Round 1” event, in March 2019. Having killed two New York City sounds (in NYC), he established King Shine as the Tri-State WFC Champion—but, the upcoming WFC2 is for the international title.
Supersonic, is an accomplished powerhouse that has competed over industry icons like Mighty Crown, Sound Trooper, Freddie Krueger, King Turbo and legendary Black Kat–to name only a few.
Nominated by global sound clash fans on social media, and later selected by legendary King Addies, Supersonic re-enters the arena after being off of the battlefield for 4 years—which is what aficionados of the culture consider “parked” (out of the game/no longer competing).
Additionally, the Berlin-based heavyweight hasn’t competed on US soil in over 6 years. Meanwhile, King Shine has been coming up in the ranks and killing respected sounds like Sound Trooper, Pink Panther, Earthruler, Alaska Sound and more. King Shine is one of the most active competing sound systems in the world. Since earning the champion title, they’ve already dominated and won 3 one-on-one bouts, in the USA and Canada.
With WFC2 right around the corner, the writing is on the wall: Supersonic will either dispel the “rusty gun” myth and reclaim their prominence as a formidable force to be reckoned with, ah yawd in Europe (their turf) and abroad; or, Jimmy Spliff may slay the biggest giant in the eastern hemisphere of the world, and confirm King Shine is indeed a heavyweight. World Fight Club is an emerging, cutting edge brand, created by experienced sound clash experts, which offers a fresh approach to a long-existing, ever-evolving and growing industry.
For several decades, sound clash entertainment events have been taking place in established and new markets such as Japan, various European countries, the UK, Africa, South America, across the Caribbean and of course its birthplace—Jamaica.
And over the years, events have pulled various sized crowds ranging from a small circle of friends at underground bouts, to more recently over 20K exhilarated patrons in one event.
A new arena for champions, WFC is an ongoing battle series for musical supremacy and it’s all about dominating crowd approval, donning the beautiful belt and big bragging rights.
Yet, the WFC league stands out among other clash brands because only true thoroughbreds in the global arena can face the ultimate test of top tier musical savvy, and wit, in WFCs classic format of fewer sounds competing, in longer timed rounds. But most importantly, the champ must be prepared to defend the coveted belt versus any challenger selected by the producers, to keep the title.
This musical war of worlds will be covered and broadcasted internationally on “The Release” television program, which targets over 19 million viewers across the USA, Canada, Jamaica and other Caribbean nations on 5 cable television networks including CIN, CEEN, CVM, HYPE TV, and READY TV. WFC is produced by North America’s #1 sound system, legendary King Addies. They have also been barrier-breaking, competitors in the culture for the last 36 years.
Highly respected and referred to as the “Iron Fist of New York” by other industry titans, their promotional team also includes Tru Money Musiq, Irie Jam Radio, Reggae Vibes Media, PowerOfReggae.com, Britelite Promotions, Tek9 Promotions, and Impulse Nation.
WFC invites all mainstream DJs, and their fans, to get involved. Co-founder Shinez said, “Everyone loves music and exciting competition. Soundclash is the best of both worlds and [the] World Fight Club is the ultimate experience.”
Download and tune into the Irie Jam 360 app on Tuesday, October 15th at 9 pm ET for the live pre-clash press conference. Meet Supersonic at the Pre-WFC party on Wednesday, October 16th at Club Timehri’s, in Washington DC. Come out to the main event on Friday, October 18 at Lodricka Hall in Queens, NY. Join the movement and buy tickets at WorldFightClub.Eventbrite.com
A request from a die-hard fan and a follow-up to my Roots, Reality, and Culture 100% Barrington Levy mix (Reggae Lover Podcast #35), this episode presents the best of love songs from Mr. Levy’s extensive catalog.Take a listen to experience the raw dancehall reggae vibe that ruled from the late 1970’s all the way through the 1980s. Barrington’s vocal delivery is like none other, and some of my personal favorite songs are included here such as “Shine Eye Girl” and “Moonlight Lover” from 1979’s classic ‘Bounty Hunter‘ album released on the Jah Life label and recorded at Channel One studios.Barrington Levy Playlist
1 Like How You Kiss And Caress Me
2 Super Star Girl
3 Mary Long Tongue
4 Shine Eye Gal
5 Sister Carol
6 If You Give To Me
7 Jumpy Girl
8 Dances Are Changing
9 Why Did You Leave Me
10 Wife and Sweet Heart Dem A Friend
11 Shine Eye Girl (alt. version)
12 True Love
13 Shaolin Temple (Pretty Looks)
14 Lonely Man
15 Trying To Rule My Life
16 My Woman
17 21 Girls Salute
18 Moonlight Lover
19 I’m Not In Love
20 Good Loving
21 Mini Bus
22 Love Someone
23 Pick Your Choice
24 She’s Mine
25 Here I Come
26 Too Experienced
Barrington Levy is one of the only reggae singers to have great success throughout the entire decade of the the 1980s. He recorded prolifically with many of his releases topping charts in Jamaica and the UK while he maintained his relevance in the dancehall from then until now.
A Reggae Lover Podcast listener suggested that I feature Barrington’s work, so I have selected this portion of tunes which highlights some of my favorite reality tunes and features many of the Joe Gibbs and Volcano roots recordings. A follow-up mix that covers lovers rock will be coming soon.
Barrington Levy Playlist:
1 Now A Days
2 Don’t Fuss or Fight
3 Do Good
5 Too Poor
6 Praise His Name
8 Under Me Sensi
9 Collie Weed
10 Dont Pretend
11 Mine Your Mouth
12 This Little Boy
13 Jah Is With Me
14 Prison Oval Rock
15 Money Move
16 Teach The Youths
17 Black Roses
18 My Time