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  • BET Awards - Dawn Penn, Elephant Man, Beenie Man, and Chaka Demus & Pliers

    Finally, one of these American music awards show gave Dancehall a little well-earned, well-deserved respect! Last night, the BET Awards had the crowd on its feet with a mash-up of Dancehall favorites, including Dawn Penn's "No No No," "Murder She Wrote" from Chaka Demus & Pliers, "Who Am I," and "Girls Dem Sugar" from a rather hoarse Beenie Man, and "Pon Di River," and "Signal The Plane" from the Energy God Elephant Man. Shout out to Hot 97's Jabba who hype-manned the entire segment.

    The best part of this video is the audience of course: Kevin Hart's chair bogle was priceless, as was  Gabrielle Union trying to bubble, and Nicki Minaj giving them a run in her spike heel boots.

    Check it out below:

     

     

  • Busy Steps Out of Jail and Into the Studio - 'Come Shock Out' pon dah one yah...

    Elephant Man and Shane Brown welcome Busy Signal back to Jamaica


    Played by the king love is all I bring all I know, dem style mek yuh dance pon yuh toe...

    Busy Signal is back on Jamaican soil, following a six-month stint in a U.S. jail on charges of absconding bail. Glendale Goshia  Reanno Devon Gordon, who now proclaims that he is "cleaner than dettol and peroxide," wasted no time hitting the studio, dropping two Dancehall killers within a week of his release - the anti-crime/anti-gangster "Think Man A Idiot" and the super-groovy freestyle "Come Shock Out." 

    The Signal, who was  featured on the title track for Punk band No Doubt's latest album Push and Shove, has a unique lyrical dexterity that can ride virtually any riddim of any genre from any decade. "Think Man A Idiot" is a fast-spitting, lyrically-packed hard-hitting modern Dancehall single, with an obvious Hip Hop influence in both the beat and style, while "Come Shock Out" is a strictly rockers '80s-style rub-a-dub freestyle over a blend of vintage riddims.

    According to a recent press conference, Busy Signal will be able to apply for a work permit and visa to visit the United States in 2014. 

    I can't wait.

    - Raine


  • New Video: Keep You - Wild Belle

    Same. Song. Again and again. You wrong me twice and I keep coming back. Tell me what the matter is, little boy...

    Natalie Bergman's folksy-styled vocals of a lifelong unreciprocated love wrap rather nicely around a groovy retro 70s Dub bassline - which is why I've totally been digging Wild Belle's debut single "Keep You." Released a few days ago, the video, directed by Melina Matsoukas and filmed in Kingston, is at first odd - the 'love story' of tempermental young Jamaican boy and his adult...nanny? - however, having dealt with my own share of spoiled and bratty adult boyfriends, the underlying tone is both sad and extremely humorous. 

    "It's a story about unrequited love and how with age, we don't necessarily mature," director Melina Matsoukas said to Rolling Stone. "As a child, all we want is love and attention and that story never grows old, it just takes a different form as we age. So it's not so much about 'all men are boys,' but just [that] all of us are forever young. Old habits never die."

    The other thing I totally dig about this video: the subtitles for those who don't understand Jamaican patois, are written in patois.

    "Keep You" is the lead single from Chicago sibling duo Wild Belle's debut album Isles, slated for release in March 2013. 

    - Raine





  • Vybz Kartel and The Trilogy of Freaky Gyal

    Just when you think you've heard all just about all you've never imagined you'd hear about Vybz Kartel's cock, another tune pops up, ruder and rawer than the previous. Over the past 3/4 years, his outrageously explicit, sexually-charged lyrics have pushed the envelope for, not only what can be played on the radio, but for what is considered sexual taboo in Jamaican pop culture. Its been just about a year since he's been under lock and key at the Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston, but his musical cock-iness continues to drop jaws and drawers around the globe. His most recent offering, "Freaky Gyal Pt. 3" is the final installment in a music series that has more fellatio than a Deep Throat trilogy, and enough tight vaginas to fill a convent.

    "Freaky Gyal Pt. 1" (Head Concussion Records) featured an audio recording of a very exhuberant...uh...consumer of Kartel's...uh...treats, shall we say.

    "Freaky Gyal Pt.2" (Head Concussion Records)

    "...mi love pum pum/pussy until mi dead/nothing else cyaan suh nice..."  Self-explanatory.

     

    "Freaky Gyal Pt. 3" (TJ Records)

    ...and for the grand finale, the Oh So Bleached One opts for a soft R&B-esque ballad to: " freaky freaky freaky gyal/mi love yuh love yuh love yuh gyal/mi nah call you suck-hood gyal/yuh a smaddy pickney an yuh is a good gyal..."

    How sweet.

     

    ...and now that that is done, if you'll excuse me, I feel a strong urge to bathe.

    - Raine.

    1. No Long Talking - Bounty Killer - Antibiotic Riddim (Jah Snowcone Entertainment)

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    Let's be real - Bounty Killer hasn't sounded this good in years. As a matter of fact, the last time he came out with lyrical guns blazing was back in 2009 when Kartel touched his corn and Killer shot him up with "Just Mek A Duppy." But on "No Long Talking," the 90s era Five Star General is back in the trenches with some HEAVY lyrical artillery. Produced by Billboard-topping producer Rohan 'Snowcone' Fuller, the Antibiotic Riddim is the perfect remedy for that viral plague that has infested Dancehall with crappy piano rifts and watered-down pop melodies that sound like they were produced via transistor radio. And who best to drive the nail in the coffin than one of the genres original badman tune-slinging stalwarts.

    Look out for the full Antibiotic catalogue, featuring ill tunes from Assassin, Elephant Man, Mr. Vegas, Jah Vinci, Spragga Benz, Savage, Stylysh, Beenie Man, and more - dropping later this month.  

    1. Roll Out - Pepita ft. Vybz Kartel - Fateyes Production

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    Jamaican media princess turned pop singer Pepita Little tests her deejays skills against lyrical slickster Vybz Kartel on her latest single,  the fun and flirty "Roll Out." Produced by Bulby York for Fateyes Productions, the riddim on this one is a certified killer.

    ...Mi waan si yuh buss a whine fi mi baby/mi waan si yuh just move it around/mi waan si yuh buss a whine fi mi baby/from the top then yuh whine to the ground ...

  • Mega Banton Goes Gangnam Style - in a Dancehall Badman Style

    Mega Banton, known for slaughtering soundbwoys on Salaam Remi's smoothed out "Soundboy Killing" remix in 90s, brings back those badman-era gun-toting, tough-talking lyrics - Gangnam style. Banton, with G-Loc and Singer J, give it to you 'Gangnam Badman Style' on a remix of South Korean rapper Psy's viral dance sensation. The only thing missing from this version, is his old lyrical sparring partner Ricky General.

    Mega Banton killing sound boys back in '94


     

  • Desmond Ballentine is on the loose...again.

    Photo by Peter Dean Rickards

    Desmond "Ninja Man" Ballentine is...special. But in his case, that extra...special...brand of 'specialness' is what makes him one of Dancehall's most colorful, most memorable, most prominent, and most beloved characters. The lyrical deejay-slaying machine was on the loose in Jamaica, with Nitty Kutchie and Peter Dean "Afflicted Yard" Rickards. Now free (on bail) after spending over three years in jail on a murder charge, its clear that incarceration (and middle-age) just can't tame the Gorgon. 

    Below is pure unadulterated Ballentine...in all his awesome specialness.

  • DJ Khaled and Mavado are 'Suicidal'

    Khaled Bin Abdul Khaled and David Constantine Brooks are on a suicide mission to prove to the world at large that they the best. The alliance between Palestinian rebel DJ Khaled and self-proclaimed Jamaican "gangsta fi life" Mavado has been under heavy scrutiny since its formation nearly a year ago, but to date the pair has launched only a handful of musical missles, none of which have really landed on target. In anticipation of the release of DJ Khaled's Kiss the Ring next week, We the Best Music Group is set to hurl  "Suicidal," with the intention for it to hit and obliterate everything in its path. Official 'behind the scenes' footage of this planned attack has been released to the mass media. 

    ...they're haven't been any reported fatalities just yet, but I would like it to be noted that Mr. Brooks is killing with those shoes.

  • Black Americans, Reggae, and the Conquering Lion of Snoop Dogg

    …so Snoop Dogg Lion is at least semi-serious about being the reincarnation of Bob Marley…

    …I’ll stop rolling my eyes for a brief second to reflect on this seriously.

    What I find most interesting about this charade change is that Snoop, being a Hip Hop icon, is in a unique position to foster a real understanding and appreciation of Reggae among 'middle-America' African-Americans - who traditionally haven’t really been too enthused about Reggae. In my travels around the U.S., I’ve found that outside of New York, Miami, LA, and other urban centers, African-Americans have relatively little knowledge/interest in Reggae.

    I’ve always had an interesting relationship with Black Americans. Born in New York and raised in a Jamaican household in the Caribbean-dominated section of Flatbush in Brooklyn, I had no idea how different I was from other African-Americans until I was plopped into the small town of High Point, North Carolina during my teenage years in the 1990s. Race relations at that time at my high school were... interesting. There was a big bold line between white and black - in where you lived, how you were raised, what you did, where you went, and how you were supposed to act.  

    I on the other hand, was Jamaican – which was viewed by both black and white kids as a completely different race in and of itself.

    I was surprised at the way other black kids ostracized me, and asked ridiculous questions about Jamaicans.

    “Do Jamaicans’ eyes turn green when they get mad – like Screwface in Marked for Death? Does your father smoke weed like Bob Marley? Where is Jamaica? It’s not in Africa, is it? What do you call that language that Jamaicans speak?”

    When I blasted Reggae in my car, my black friends would always grumble… “I can’t understand that shit, why can't we listen to the radio?” While Shabba, Patra, and Supercat had a few mainstream hits out there – they only took an interest when they collaborated with Hip Hop or R&B artists.

    By contrast, my Jamaican roots and love of Reggae/Dancehall made me very popular with white kids, who knew a bit more about the music, and didn’t usually ask me a bunch of crazy questions. They would instead ask me where I got my music, advice on the best places to go in Jamaica, and if I was related to any Reggae singers or any of the actors in The Harder They Come.

    There were a myriad of reasons for the difference in reaction to Jamaicans and Reggae from white and black teens at my high school. Most of it revolved around economic and cultural disparities. White kids more often than not came from wealthier homes with college educated parents, and tended to be more traveled and more open to and interested in a wider range of things. The black kids at my school were from less weathly homes and were way more socially limited and confined.

    Shifts in economic opportunity and cost of living have caused many immigrants and urban residents to move out of the big urban centers and into smaller cities over the past few decades,  and with the incredible success of cross over artists like Shaggy and Sean Paul, there is more exposure to Reggae on Hip Hop and pop music stations throughout the country. However Reggae artists who’ve toured the United States - outside of the usual chitlin curry goat circuit - will tell you that the majority of their audience is still very white.

    I'm not quite sure why African-Americans across the board don't embrace Reggae as much as White Americans, but I do know that the artist formerly known as Snoop Dogg could very well be the Reggae's conquering lion in America. He is a world-famous, multi-platinum Hip Hop/pop artist with a huge African-American following, who has, for the time being, converted to being a roots Reggae artist. Rihanna, Beyonce, Jay Z, and many other pop, R&B, and Hip Hop artists have sprinklings of Caribbean flavor in their music here and there, but none have really put Reggae at the center, like Snoop Lion proposes to.  I’m curious to see the impact his conversion will have on African-Americans and Reggae as a whole. Does the mighty Snoop Lion have the power to really cement Reggae as part of America's pop music landscape? Will he now open up a more lucrative market for Reggae? Will Reggae become 'worthy' of coverage in African-American and urban media?

    One thing I will say about that Snoop Lion, his roots Reggae cover of “Gin and Juice” is quite groovy.