Music never stopped during the dark days of the global Covid-19 epidemic, so let’s the music play! We offer you 15 reggae & dancehall releases over the past six weeks concocted by more than 20 Jamaican artists.
Don Andre is the one with whom we start our presentation. On March 27, 2020, he extracted from his album “Paradigm Shift” his new single “Real G”…as a real gentleman ? This single was released under the VPAL Music label.
Gyptian who knows how to talk to women released on April 3, 2020 “So in love” featuring Bascom X (VPAL Music). It’s a beautiful romantic ballad for women as well as men and makes you want to fall in love…
SumeRR, nicknamed the Jamaican bombshell, we introduced to you on March 23, 2020, came back on April 10 with another single called “Old School” under the VPAL Music label. The young artist who lives in Spain and mastered several musical genres (soul, R&B, rap etc.) distils with this new song good reggae vibes. The release of her album “Downs District” was scheduled for May 1st.
Noah Powa arrived on April 24 with a “big sound” of dancehall and hip hop entitled “Spend Nuff Money” which he performs in Jamaican patois (VP Records). Money, always money! “Whether it be the men who like to spend nuff money on the ladies, or the ladies who spend nuff money on their tastes in fashion, Noah represents them”, we read in his presentation. The artist is no stranger to hits: his song “Keep the Same Energy” sold at a gold price and appeared on the Reggae Gold 2019 compilation, “Feel It” and “Same Way” each became club anthems and mixtape selections.
Barrington Levy, Gregory Isaacs, Prince Allah and Wayne Jarrett, who have nothing to prove in reggae music, came on the market in the vinyl section (Spring 2020 Catalog 7-inch Vinyl) on May 1, thanks to the 17 North Parade label. “We find Barrington Levy at a creative peak in 1983 with the heartfelt “Praise His Name”, recorded for dancehall producer extraordinaire George Phang ; Gregory Isaacs steps forward with one of his all time deep roots classics, “Babylon Too Rough” from 1975, also known by Dennis Brown’s version “Easy Take It Easy” ; another from the Joe Gibbs/Errol Thompson stable is Prince Alla’s “Naw Go A Them Burial” from 1978 ; and for the first time on 7-inch single, Wayne Jarrett’s 1982 masterpiece “Love In A Mi Heart” (…), the presentation underlined. But, you will only enjoy one minute of each of his songs.
Black Ark in Dub and Blak Ark Volume 2, released on May 8 under the sub-label 17 North Parade, are two big events in this musical news. These 2 CDs are two pieces in the musical work of reggae and dub producer Lee “Scratch” Perry, recorded in his famous Black Ark studio. They will be reissued on vinyl and will be on streaming platforms this June.
For connoisseurs: “Black Ark In Dub features bass heavy, spooky dub deconstructions of Lacksley Castell’s “Jah Love Is Sweeter,” Carole Cole and Aisha Morrison’s “Ethiopia,” Lee Perry’s “Lion A De Winner,” Watty Burnett’s “Open The Gate,” George Faith’s “Guideline,” and Danny Hensworth’s “Mr. Money Man,” along with an embellished dub version of Ras Keatus I’s “Dreadlocks I” and the much sought “Guidance,” a Jah Shaka Sound System staple, exclusive to this album”.
As for Black Ark Vol. 2: “it’s more vocally oriented, with more elaborate dub mixes of Carol Cole’s “Ethiopia”, The Originals’ “Got To Be Irie”, Junior Byles’ “Mumbling & Grumbling” and The Inamans’ remake of the Bee Gees’ hit “How Deep Is Your Love”, as well as an alternative version of The Silvertones’ roots classic “Give Thanks” (with a flute overdub), and some excellent covers of Bunny Rugs, the lead singer of Third World”.
As you already know, the Various artists collection for Mother’s Day was dedicated to Sizzla, Gyptian or Garnet Silk… In the English-speaking Caribbean this celebration took place on May 10 and you surely heard various tracks proposed by VP Records on May 8. You can re-listen to “Thank You Mama” by Sizzla, “Mama” by Gyptian and “Hello Mama Africa” by Garnet Silk. After all, Mother’s Day is every day…
Christopher Martin also came on May 8 with his new single “Little Green Apples” which was produced by Jeremy Harding. It’s a cover of a 1968 hit of the same name. This song reminds us that even if he sings dancehall, like his last two tracks “Dem Vex” and “Bigi Big”, Christopher Martin is also a crooner. (VP Records label)
After “Energy Up” last December, Squash, nicknamed the “6ix Boss”, released “Let it Go” on May 15 under the VP Records label. This composition is a reflection on betrayal in his love and friendship life that made him stronger, more mature. “Let it Go” is classified in the Trap-Dancehall category and Squash chose a soul / R&B backing vocalist to give a particular colour to his music.
Bulby York has been in stores since May 22 with his new single “Wiggle Wiggle” Ft Beenie Man & Malicia. This dancehall track, under the VPAL Music label, should make a splash during long school holidays of July and August for some or during summer for others, it is said. The cover is original enough to talk about it. Indeed, it shows something that young people do not know but that was for adults a real revolution in music: a cassette…
VP Records’ Various Artists collection presented Reggae Loves Unity on May 22. Produced by Eisaku “Selector A” Yamaguchi, this compilation of 11 old tracks brings together several styles of reggae ; the lead song is Jah Cure’s “Brighter Days”, words of hope that gather everyone during this global Covid-19 epidemic.
Jah9 also offered his fans “Could It Be” on May 22. After “Maat (Each Man)”, “Heaven” and “Highly”, this is the fourth single from her album “Note to Self” which was released in March and is a real treat for reggae and jazz lovers with strong lyrics. May 23 was Jah9’s birthday, this special day was celebrated during her concert in Tanzania (East Africa) which her fans attended live on the VP Records Youtube page.
Bella Blair, a new dancehall representative, presented “Gimmie a light” on May 29 under the VPAL Music label. Produced by Frankie Music, it’s a nice track with a very famous tune that this artist who released her first hit “Jamaica” in 2016, offers us.
DJ Major & Busy Signal released on June 5 “Something New”, a track in the dancehall category under the VPAL Music label. A love song for ladies that you can listen again and again…