Review: Kabaka Pyramid Releases ‘Kontraband’ Album

16 Tracks in total, ‘Kontraband,’ the debut from Kabaka Pyramid does not disappoint.

Kabaka Pyramid - Kontraband. DIGITAL RELEASE [Ghetto Youths International, Bebble Rock Records].

I only heard 3 of the songs before the album’s release so this is a fresh, new experience. The album is reminiscent of Chronixx’s “Chronology” in its diverse representation of modern reggae music.

Hip-Hop influences are evident throughout but do not detract from the roots vibe. You can choose to bob your head and/or skank to the beats. Kabaka spits bars of knowledge with a cool, collected delivery. At times, he sing-jays on the riddims in perfect melody.  

‘Kontraband’ is a strong debut for Kabaka Pyramid and it bolsters his global appeal. The Damian and Stephen Marley executive-produced album features Akon and Stonebwoy out of Africa. Jr. Gong joins Kabaka to illustrate the story on the title track.

Pressure Buss Pipes from the U.S. Virgin Islands sings the hook on “Make Way,” the opening song of the album. Fellow reggae revivalist Protoje makes his mark with a succinct verse on “Everywhere I Go.” Kabaka teams with Chronixx on the mesmerizing and memorable “Blessed Is The Man.”

Kabaka doesn’t only chant a lyrical onslaught on Babylon. He considers the divine essence of black queens on “Natural Woman.” He opens up about affairs of the heart on “Kaught Up,” and “All I Need,” which features Nattali Rize. The different vibes on ‘Kontraband’ balance out. If you ranked this entry as one of 2019’s top reggae releases, I would say that’s accurate. 

MARLEY | Reggae Lover Podcast Episode 84

A promotional mix featuring Ky-Mani, Damian, Stephen, Ziggy, and Cedella Marley among other heavy hitters for the BobFest ATL event in Atlanta, February 15 –




BobFest 2018. 7th Annual Festival, a special celebration of Bob Marley and reggae music.

Thursday: Yoga with Jah9 and friends Feb 15

Friday: Concert in the Village (and village marketplace!) featuring Jah9 FOR THE FIRST TIME IN ATL, lyrical genius SaRoc and More- Feb 16

Saturday: AFRICA UNITE Film Festival- Feb 17
Sunday: Stir It Up Farm to Table Feast!- Feb 18

Purchase tickets at

Email for information.

STITCHER RADIO: SUBSCRIBE AND LISTEN HERE.79 - Reggae Lover Podcast - King Jammys Tribute (2nd Volume)





My Conclusion – Stephen Marley feat. Akon & Buju Banton (New Video)

My Conclusion – Stephen Marley feat. Akon & Buju Banton

Stephen Marley sings

Stephen Marley sings (Photo credit: GregPC)

Free Buju!

Buju Banton performing at the Ilosaarirock fes...

Buju Banton performing at the Ilosaarirock festival in Joensuu (Finland) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Talking Shotta Culture With Spragga Benz – Dancehall Now 44


This feature recaps a candid interview with superstar reggae/dancehall artist turned big-screen actor Spragga Benz, plus highlights from the Highlanda mix show on Dancehall Now.  Spragga talks with SuperPec about the ‘Shotta Culture’ album, touring with Stephen Marley, his reaction to the Trayvon Martin case and more.  

Catch the syndicated Dancehall Now broadcast live on each Tuesday from 6pm to 9pm (EST).


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Proceeds from Gramps Morgan’s new single Go to family of Trayvon Martin



Soulful Reggae star, Gramps Morgan has taken a stance in solidarity with the family of Trayvon Martin, the 17 year old boy recently killed in South Florida.  To date, the man who shot and killed Trayvon has not been charged. So in an effort to support the Martin family’s demand for justice, Dada Son is donating a portion of the proceeds from the iTunes sales of Gramps’ new single, ‘Life Too Short’.


“Yes Rasta!” American-Jamaican crooner, Gramps Morgan is unleashing another anthem with his unique brand of ‘Rockaz’. His first single ‘Life Too Short’emerges from his upcoming second, solo album, Reggae Music Lives which will be released on April 24 2012, in time for Mother’s Day.


Penned with his brother Peetah Morgan, ‘Life Too Short’ was co-produced by Roy ‘Gramps’ Morgan and keyboardist, Llamar ‘Riff Raff’ Brown (Stephen Marley). Gramps Morgan has the gift of delivering spiritually uplifting lyrics aimed precisely at the listener’s soul. Through song, Morgan reminds us to live this life while we still have it. Gramps says ‘Life Too Short’ is simply “a song of comfort”, and as a firm believer in delivering music to heal humanity, ‘Life Too Short’ raises consciousness of the fragility and sanctity of life.

Gramps Morgan’s songs and lyrics tend toward the positive in all situations, so when he belts out “…Life too short fi a stress di small things when we know Jah bless me with everything /Life too short fi a worry bout bad mind when the world a suffer from war and crime…” he means that he draws his strength from Jah/God. Believing in a greater power than self, Gramps urges the listener to stop wasting time sweating the small stuff and to let go of grudges and “bad mind” (a Jamaican idiom that refers to being envious of, or grudging someone).


Trayvon Martin


Gramps’ perspective on the murder of Trayvon Martin is that of a father and an American citizen. In a recent statement the Centric Soul Train nominee said: “I couldn’t imagine that ever happening to my son.” He’s speaking of his eldest, Jemere. “As a father of a 16 year old…I don’t know what I would do if I was in that situation, but I know that justice must be served.”


“We have been following the tragedy that has happened with Trayvon,” explains Wendy Morgan, Gramps’ manager, “and after reading a report that he was a lover of Reggae music, it humbled us to have someone of that age love our music. We wanted to do our part to pay respect to his young life and contribute to help keep Trayvon’s memory and legacy alive.”
Finding strength in the hardest of times isn’t always easy, but Gramps is reassuring people that there is light at the end of the tunnel.


‘Life Too Short’ was recorded in Kingston, Jamaica at Grafton Studio and Dada Son Recording Studio in Atlanta Georgia.


The single is now available on iTunes with a portion of the proceeds going to the family of Trayvon Martin.


“I’m free like a bird, Jah is my word, that means my word is love.” Gramps Morgan

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Nowadays Lovers Rock mixtape from Highlanda

Mix by Highlanda Sound featuring music released in 2011 by various artists performing in the lover’s rock reggae genre.  Hear new tunes from Buju Banton, Stephen Marley, Maxi Priest, Hezron, Sizzla, Tarrus Riley, Alaine, Jah Cure, Romain Virgo and more.   Click Image To Download from Mixcloud.

Cover of Nowadays Lover's Rock Mixtape




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Dancehall and Reggae’s Top Rated 50 Songs of 2011



Buju Banton performing at New York's Apollo th...

Buju Banton performing at New York’s Apollo theater during the 26th International Reggae & World Music Awards (IRAWMA) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

(Based on the Dancehall Now weekly Top Rated International 8 @ 8 Countdown compiled from a composite of all major global reggae and dancehall charts)


# – Artist – Song – Label
1 Laza Morgan ft Mavado – One By One – Elektra
2 Gramps Morgan – The Almighty – Pure Music
3 Baby Cham ft. Mkyal Rose & Bounty Killer – Stronger – Madhouse
4 Vybz Kartel – Summer time – Addjahiem
5 Sean Paul ft. Alexis Jordan – Got To Love You – Atlantic
6 Romain Virgo – Dark Skin Girl
7 Courtney John – Love Is
8 Buju Banton – Innocent
9 Duane Stephenson ft. Gramps Morgan – Rescue Me
10 Beenie Man – Nah Talk Too Long – Seanizzle
11 Romain Virgo – I Am Rich In Love
12 Kiprich – Caan Get Brown – Birch Hill Records
13 Da’Ville – When I’m With You – Tad’s Records
14 Damian Marley – Things Just Ain’t The Same
15 Wayne Marshall – Good Ole Wife – Washroom Ent.
16 Wayne Wonder – If I Ever
17 Wayne Marshall ft Tifa & Fambo Swaggin –  Washroom Ent.
18 Tarrus Riley – Peer Pressure – John John
19 Vybz Kartel – Dancehall Hero – CR203
20 Lady Saw – Wife A Wife – TJ Records
21 Beres Hammond – Pull Up Selector
22 Junie Ranks – Bring Back The Love
23 Mavado – Settle Down – JA Production
24 Vybz Kartel – Dumper Truck
25 Khago – Blood A Boil – TJ Records
26 Mavado – Delilah
27 Queen Ifrica – Times Like These – 2Hard Music
28 Assassin – Talk How Mi Feel – DJ Frass
29 PopCaan – Only Man She Want – Sounique
30 Shaggy – Sugarcane
31 Toya ft Beenie Man – One Man Woman – Downsound
32 Richie Stephens ft Gentleman – Live Your Life – Pot Of Gold
33 Maxi Priest – Bonified Love – Lockdown Records
34 Stevie Face – Thank You For Loving Me – Penthouse
35 Mavado – Star Bwoy – Chimney
36 Hezron – Forever &  Always
37 I-Octane – Nuh Love Inna Dem
38 Stephen Marley ft Damian Marley & Buju Banton – Jah Army  – Ghetto Youths
39 Ikaya – Hard Way
40 I-Octane – Puff It – Cashflow
41 Mavado – Final Destination – Chimney Records
42 Gyptian – Nah Let Go – VP Records
43 Lovers Rock – Sophia Brown – Music Mecka
44 Etana – People Talk – VP
45 Mavado – Pepper Big Ship
46 Jahdore – This Love Is Over – Heartcour Productions
47 Shabba Ranks – None A Dem – Big Ship
48 Mavado – Messiah
49 Alaine – You Are Me – 1Thirty1 Records
50 Ray Darwin – False Alarm  – Joe Fraser

Circle House Studios Scores Big With Latin Grammy Nominees & Winners



Calle 13 (Trece) nabbed numerous Latin Grammys, including;


Album of the Year

Record of the Year  “Latinoamerica”


Song of the Year  “Entren Los Que Quieran”


Best Urban Music Album 


Best Tropical Song “Vamo’ A Portarnos Mal”


Producer of the Year – Rafael Arcaute




Best Female Pop Album 


Sale El Sol, Shakira [Epic/Sony Music Latin]


 Nominees for the Latin Grammys included:


Album of the Year 


Euphoria Enrique Iglesias, Universal Music Latino/ Universal Republic Records.


Sale El Sol [Epic/Sony Music Latin] Shakira


Grammys nominations for 2012:


Best Reggae Album 


Revelation Pt. 1: The Root of Life. Stephen Marley [Tuff Gong/ Universal Republic]


Best Rap/Sung Collaboration 


Motivation Kelly Rowland & Lil Wayne from Here I Am [Universal Motown]


Circle House Studios opened its doors in 1998. Located in North Miami, the recording studio soon became a favorite among the A-listers. Owned by the reggae legends Inner Circle, the studio has recorded artists such as; No Doubt, Mary J. Blige, Pharrell, Lenny Kravitz, Pitbull, Enrique Iglesias, Rico Love, Jim Johnson and Good Charlotte just to name a few.


Ian Lewis stated; “We took a little bit of Jamaica and brought it to Miami. It’s a home away from home for the artists. When we built Circle House, many of the elements reflect that relaxed vibe.”

Circle House is currently one of the only two studios in South Florida to have a SSL duality console. Each of the three rooms hold a Pro Tools HD system, one SSL 9000j and a SSL 4000g+. Along with state of the art tools, artists can lounge by the waterfall and pool while the in-house chef cooks.

“You gotta be diverse and have a good working atmosphere that’s comfortable for artists. With us you get more than just a studio”, stated studio director Abebe Lewis.

In addition, CircleHouseStudiosOnline.comoffers an online mixing service where you can be anywhere in the world and get that Circle House sound.


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Stephen Marley Returns With Revelation PT 1: The Root Of Life

Reggae artist Stephen Marley performing in Van...

Image via Wikipedia

7-time Grammy award winning singer-songwriter, Stephen Marley, is set to release his third solo project, REVELATION PT 1: THE ROOT OF LIFE from Ghetto Youths/Tuff Gong/Universal Republic on May 23, 2011.  Conceived as a celebration and preservation for roots rock reggae, REVELATION PT 1: THE ROOT OF LIFE ensures that the music’s regal template is maintained throughout the 21st century.

Anchored in reggae’s scorching drum and bass backbeat, THE ROOT OF LIFE delivers an organic and richly textured sound through its 14 tracks, making it a true body of work that delivers powerful messages and encouragement for the struggling masses (“Working Ways”); depicts the harrowing residual effect of slavery (“Old Slaves”); evokes the sorrow of rejection (“She Knows Now”); conveys the disappointment of “False Friends”; in reggae’s lovers-rock tradition a duet with Melanie Fiona, “No Cigarette Smoking”; to the final track “Now I Know,” a contemplative song about moving on.

The first single, “Jah Army,” features Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley and Buju Banton spitting formidable, career-defining verses over a thunderous one-drop rhythm with lyrics to rally the troops. “Whether it’s in the music or our life, get it together man, the Gideon is on,” declares Stephen.

Conceived as a two part project, THE ROOT OF LIFE will be followed by the release of REVELATION PT 2: THE FRUIT OF LIFE, due in fall of 2011, which will feature an array of styles that have emanated from reggae’s core.

Reggae music has influenced hip hop and so many other kinds of music, “Stephen reasons. “THE FRUIT OF LIFE will be more open, eclectic kind of record. There will be songs for the club, dancehall reggae will be there, love songs in there, but it will remain conscious good music that you can always take something positive from.”

Having recently completed a cross-country tour to launch this album, Marley will also see exclusive distribution for the vinyl version of THE ROOT OF LIFE from VP Records.

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Dancehall and Reggae’s Top Rated 50 Songs of 2010

Dancehall Now
Image by highlanda via Flickr

This is the latest episode of the syndicated Dancehall Now podcast produced by Highlanda Sound System.  The live Dancehall Now radio show airs on Da Flava Radio ( every Tuesday at 6pm EST.  Dancehall Now features the very latest Caribbean music in a full stereo radio broadcast format.



1    Drinking Rum & Red Bull – Beenie/ Fambo
2    Hold You    – Gyptian
3    In the living years – Stevie Face
4    TIME AND PLACE – Buju Banton
5    ONE MORE NIGHT – Busy Signal
6    My Heart – Wayne Marshall / Mavado
7    Wanna Give You Love – Warrior King
8    For Your Eyes Only – Shaggy / Alaine
9    Clarks – Vybz Kartel / Popcaan / Gaza Slim
10    Thank You For Loving Me – Stevie Face
11    Clarks 2 – Vybz Kartel
12    The Leaders – Eljai
13    How We Do It    – Elephant Man / Bounty Killer
14    I’m OK – Beenie Man
15    Touch A Button     – Vybz Kartel
16    Free    – Etana
17    Nah Sell Out – Khago
18    One Man – Vybz Kartel / Gaza Slim
19    Color Of Love – Richie Stevens
20    Gal A Mad Ova    – Mavado
21    Innocent – Buju Banton
22    House Top – Mavado
23    Bad boy – Chuck Fenda / Sammy Dread
24    Put The Stereo On – Gappy Ranks
25    Murderer    – Romain Virgo
26    Long Time – Shaggy
27    Skip To Ma Lou     – Serani / Ding Dong / Biggy
28    Butterflies – Gappy Ranks
29    Wildfire – Tarrus Riley
30    Unconditional Love – Jah Cure
31    End Of Time – Stephen Marley / Christopher Ellis / Jah Cure
32    IN MY CUP – Richie Loops
33    LIFE WE LIVING – Vybz Kartel
34    Messiah – Mavado
35    Keeping it real – Beres Hammond
36    Million $ Check    – Mojo Morgan
37    Moving On – Luciano
38    Nightshift    – Busy Signal
39    The Pill – Junior X
40    Wine You a Wine – Da’ville
41    Only You – Peetah Morgan
42    Dance the night away – Voicemail / Busy Signal
43    Schoolaz – Ding Dong
44    The Realest Song – Konshens
45    Come Back To Bed – Gramps Morgan
46    Come Into My Room     – Mavado / Stacious
47    Gangster Life – Junior X
48    Hand Inna Di Air – Assassin
49    Land of Promise – Nas / Damian Marley / Dennis Brown
50    Heaven In Your Eyes – Gappy Ranks

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Podcast: Dancehall Now Thanksgiving Show – Nov 23, 2010

Cherine Anderson at the 2009 Cactus Festival i...
Image via Wikipedia

This is the latest episode of the syndicated Dancehall Now podcast produced by Highlanda Sound System for November, 2010. Dancehall Now airs on Da Flava Radio every Tuesday at 6pm EST. Dancehall Now features the very latest dancehall and soca music in a full stereo radio broadcast format.

Special Guests: Billy Slaughter of Stone Love, Bugsy Bam Bam, DJ Cold Rice, Mikey Top Ten, Rico Vibes, Virtuous One, Pampi


1 Stay The Same – Spragga Benz feat. Stephen Marley and Jazmine Sullivan
2 Anything You Want – Mary J. Blige featuring Gyptian and Busta Rhymes
3 Nah Let Go (Soca Remix) – Gyptian
4 Real Man – Chuck Fender
5 Nine Lives – Mavado
6 Irie – Andrew and Wada Blood
7 Dreams – Popcaan
8 Love Me Right – Selena Serrano featuring Pressure Buss Pipes
9 Original Dancehall Style – Richie Stephens
10 Hold A Vibe – ZJ Liquid
11 Jeans And Fitted – Vybz Kartel
12 Mixshow Segment**
13 Blessed – Eljai featuring Capleton
14 Stronger – Cham featuring Mykal Rose and Bounty Killer

**Mixshow Segment features new music from Cherine Anderson, Warrior King, Romain Virgo, Lutan Fyah, L.U.S.T, Busy Signal, Mavado and Flexxx, Beenie Man, Angel Doolas and Bounty Killer, Vybz Kartel, Khago, ZJ Liquid, Spice, Timberlee and Akane, Tarrus Riley

Sponsors: Da Flava Radio Outreach, The Honorable Vin Martin, Holy Cross Church, Da Costa Plumbing, Atlanta Jamaica Association, Earl Hilton, Tropical Brand, Chapel Auto Sales, Joe T Plumbing, Atlanta Tile and Masonry, The Whatz Happening and The Honorary Citizen.



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Stephen Marley: Reggae, Guitars and His Father’s Legacy


“There’s a simple explanation,” says Stephen Marley, with a laugh. “It’s called DNA.”

Just about everyone agrees: of all the children of Bob Marley, Stephen received the lion’s share of his father’s musical genes. As the family’s “go-to” producer, the 36-year-old has earned a slew of Grammys for his work through the years. More than that, however, Marley simply sounds like his father. As evidenced on Mind Control, his 2007 debut album, his voice bears an uncanny resemblance to that of reggae’s greatest practitioner.

All that said, however, Marley has proved adept at pushing the boundaries of traditional reggae. On the pioneering 1999 reggae/hip-hop fusion album Chant Down Babylon, and on his brother Damian’s Grammy-winning Welcome to Jamrock, the producer-songwriter wove a mix of contemporary styles into reggae’s solid foundation. And even on Mind Control, on trip-hop flavored tracks like “Hey Baby” and “Traffic Jam,” he sometimes sounds like a modern-day equivalent of madman reggae pioneer Lee Perry.

Just as important, Marley seems to have inherited his father’s formidable work ethic. In the midst of a mini-tour, and with several projects in progress, he spoke with us about his music, his guitars, and why he likes country-western songs.

How did you become the go-to guy for most of the family’s projects? Does it have more to do with your personality, or with your musical versatility?

It’s more about my personality. I’m the member of the family who was born in April. In the Bible, April is from the tribe of Reubin. Reubin was the first son of Jacob. That type of personality — being a leader, a big brother — is part of me.

Which do you enjoy more working on a project of your own, or working on someone else’s project, where you’re sort of behind the curtain?

It’s hard to say. Everything we do is done the same way. Obviously there are small differences, but with the Mind Control project, for example, Damian and Julian were there with me. Nothing changes, really, in our approach.

Is it different working with members of your family, as opposed to working with people with whom you aren’t related?

It is different. There’s more of a bond in the conception, with family. Everyone kind of thinks on the same wavelength. Working with people outside the family involves communication that has to be sort of broken down.

Looking back, the Chant Down Babylon album, where you incorporated hip-hop into your father’s songs, seems especially significant. Did you have reservations about doing that?

Yes. We were very cautious, but the relevance of that record was very important. The way it came together, it was clear it was meant to be. For example, we were in the studio talking about Erykah Badu (, and she just happened to come to tour the Bob Marley Museum at the same time. I said, “You know, we were just talking about you.” I told her about the project and she came on-board. It was effortless.

Do you think your father would have been a fan of hip-hop?

Yes, mon. He was a big fan of dancehall music. He liked Big Youth and Dillinger — those types of artists.

People might be surprised to learn that you’re a big fan of country-western music.

Yeah, very much. Country music reminds me a lot of Jamaican folks who live in the country. Music with just an acoustic guitar, or a banjo, has that folk style, where most of the songs tell stories. A lot of Jamaicans love country music. Back in the ’70s and early ’80s there was a lot of country music there — Kenny Rogers and so forth.

When you begin work on a song, which of your guitars do you usually pick up?

It’s usually an acoustic guitar, usually an Ovation. But on-stage I play a Gibson, a Les Paul Custom. And now I have my first Gibson acoustic. It’s a beautiful guitar. I’ve been playing it a lot while I’ve been out on the road — getting to know her, so to speak. I’ve been writing on the Gibson acoustic a bit as well.

Your father also played Les Pauls. Do you still have his guitars?
Yes, the family has them. He used to call his main Les Paul “Old Faithful.” He would tell us children, “Go and bring ‘Old Faithful’ to me.”

Do you ever use his guitars in the studio?


Your father had an incredibly strong work ethic, which is something you seem to have inherited.

We inherited the lessons from that, in the sense of knowing what a strong work ethic brings. After that, it’s up to you, whether you want to work hard or not. Seeing the results of my father’s hard work — what that hard work brought — is the best lesson we learned. If we want similar results, then we too have to work hard too.

His legacy has never seemed burdensome to you. Instead, you’ve always seemed to cherish the responsibility that goes along with that.

That’s true. That responsibility makes you a better person. It keeps you in line, and helps you in life. It helps you in life because his example is so positive.



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