Sunday, July 27, 2014

Inside Gang Banging the Past and Future - JaneFrFinch Transition - Watch Her Grow

Canadian hip-hop artiste Jane from Finch (JanefrFinch) is trying to turn her life around.  A life un-imaginary to many but yet not unique.  Once known as 'Creature' a ferocious and angry former gang leader from one of Canada's most notoriously violent neighbourhoods known as Jane and Finch, Latoya Jane open up by sharing her life story as a gang banger in a documentary that is currently being pitched in film festivals around the world. 

Interestingly, JanefrFinch recently recorded the single 'Flossa' with Jamaican Dancehall artiste Blak Ryno citing the Jamaican music industry as a music society she hopes to make a positive impact because the music she says, "has helped her to recognise who she is and has changed her." Jane, is trying to step away from her past, transitioning into a 'girl' or young woman seeking a second chance.  She is clinging to Jamaica because of her Jamaican background and her love of the music.  

The documentary has given us intimate access to a world where Latoya Jane's friends and brother were murdered, she attended more than forty funerals.  It also captures her daily struggle to bring 'Creature' under control played out in her ongoing inner conflict between good and evil, the odds for the 'Latoya's' in that world that are stacked against them and how society creates even more gangsters in the 'perfect societal storm' that encompasses family and environmental issues as well as public apathy. 

Jane's story started as a news piece but as more people such as former Detroit gangster 'Spider Jones' wanted to have his activities recorded, it became a documentary that brought to the fore, the issue of gang violence that plagues cities.  The documentary is recorded using an DSLR camera combined with homemade videos and photographs, providing a very personalized perspective and brutally raw view of those living in communities that are marked by perpetual violence and despair.

Latoya's aim in allowing this documentary to be filmed is an effort to not only show how 'creatures' are made, but how they can be prevented and rescued. This is done by contrasting people from divergent socio-economic positions in life that share the same core essence to their being.  It is in this way we see how different outcomes of people with the same personal issues is realized in our society.  Latoya's desire to bring in the 'girl' is about subduing the 'creature' that is harboured within all of us.

Which will prevail in this real life drama between good versus evil? Will it be the gangster or the girl?

more on JanefrFinch
10 Questions with JanefrFinch
JanefrFinch Introduces Herself to Jamaica Music Industry

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Happy National Dance Day

As dancers across the world celebrate 'Happy National Dance Day' we take time to send shoutouts to the many dancers across Jamaica's music industry. Dancing goes hand in hand with much of Dancehall music, it's fun and provides an income for many Jamaicans who thrive on the small but growing industry. 

We also remember late Dance icons Bogle and Ice who contributed tremendously to the popularity of the art in Jamaica.  If you have not done so already, download Dr. Shaka Pow McDonald's 'Dancing 101' album memorablia, a collection of dance songs that captures 'dance moves' by some of Jamaica's best Dancers over 10 years.


Aidonia Plan to Launch V1/1Voice Clothing Line

"Ever since my emergence in the music industry I've always wanted to dabble into other aspects of business...." 

Dancehall artiste Aidonia is getting ready to launch his new 1V or 1Voice clothing line within the coming weeks.  Known for having a keen sense of fashion, the deejay will once and for all roll out his fashion clothing for men, women and subsequently children.

Aidonia and Mr. Renzo
Aidonia in explaining how he took the decision to embark on this venture told the media that fans have not only made inquiries about his music CDs but clothing merchandise, "It's also something the fans have been demanding for years" he said.

V1 or !Voice collection will showcase tank tops, pullovers, t'shirts, hats and caps and will be made available in stores across the island.  An official website will be launched to allow for international purchases.


Friday, July 25, 2014

LL Cool J Drops New Single 'The Hustler" Featuring Mavado

It's here folks, fourteen years after releasing his chart-topping album G.O.A.T. (Greatest Of All Time) LL Cool J, the hip-hop veteran has announced the sequel, G.O.A.T. 2 featuring Mavado according to

Instead of charming the ladies, LL takes it to the streets with the Gully Gad on his dark and gritty single, "The Hustler," produced by Jerry Wonda.
"These streets ain't loyal / These snakes uncoil right there for you / Family separated like water and oil," he raps over the ominuous beat.

Mavado croons, "The streets got so many stories untold.......let me introduce you to the streets faded glory..." click to listen


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Shaggy Rocks Hollywood Bowl Before the Commencement of his Six Weeks "Out of Many One Music' Tour

When Shaggy took the stage at the Hollywood Bowl in New York recently the very large crowd went wild. Dressed in black shorts and white shirt the newly wed launched into an upbeat, uptempo performance his fans appreciate so much. He began his performance with hits such as 'Long Time and Bonafide Girl' and had his audience singing and swaying to the beats. The Grammy Award winner got his audience turn up having them engage in his performance and when he started singing 'Mr Boombastic then Oh Carolina' the very huge crowd at the Hollywood Bowl was by now in their elements, fully enjoying every bit of his performance. In a show of appreciation fans took to social media, one posted "you were amazing in Hollywood last night, you are not just a singer, you are an entertainer" on Shaggy's facebook page.

Shaggy, who has been on his 'Out of Many One Music' tour over the past months is also working on another album in between shows. He is scheduled to perform in Hawaii then off to the UK and Europe where he is expected to perform in Bristol, Winchester, Liverpool, Germany, France, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia and back to New York August 29.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Reggae Sumfest "Greatest Reggae Show on Earth" 22 Years and Still Going Strong in 2014

Reggae Sumfest 2014 is in it's twenty second staging and it's organisers promises a spectacular showcase.

Young, vibrant and current US RnB and Hip-Hop artistes Jason Derulo, Wiz Khalifa and Future are among this year's list of international entertainers to take the stage. The 2014 line up for the prestigious reggae show will also include performances by Sean Paul, Tessanne Chin, Chronixx, Freddie McGregor, Sanchez, Jah Cure, Bounty Killer, Busy Signal, Beenie Man and Popcaan to name a few.

As with the annual event, performances by the artistes/entertainers extend over three days from July 17 to 19 but is usually cushion in with pre-parties such as a 'special rave' party that was held at Aquasol Theme Park in a setting reminiscent of Brazil's Copacabana Beach on July 13 and was hosted by DJs Nico, ZJ Sparks, Crazy Neil and Coppershot, offsetting a World Cup Football vibes in tandem with the live broadcast of the FIFA World Cup 2014 Finals between Germany and Argentina. The second pre-party is schedule for Tuesday July 15 at Pier One which will be transformed into an 'All White' party hosted by DJs Bambino, Kentucky and Smoke.

The big nights are designed to satisfy fans of Reggae, Dancehall, Hip-Hop and RnB music. The most anticipated of the three is Dancehall Night which commences Thursday July 17 then followed by International Night 1, Friday July 18 and International Night 2, Saturday July 19 all staging takes place at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex. "Everything is on track for completing all the intricate details necessary to make the show a success.." the event Technical Producer, Martin Lewis told the Jamaica Gleaner.  

Reggae Sumfest is the largest concert festival in Jamaica, taking place each year in mid-July in Montego Bay.  The festival started in 1993 and often attract young crowds and features a variety of Jamaican reggae artists.  In keeping with their motto, 'Promoting Music, the Universal Force' organisers over the years have sought to also present other music forms to a diverse audience. To this end, the event have been successful at presenting Rihanna, Chris Brown, R. Kelly, Mary J. Blidge, Destiny Child, 50 CENT, Snoop Dogg, Wyclef Jean, Akon, Lionel Richie and the Temptations to name a few.

"The live shows will bring the very best of Jamaican production to the 'Greatest Reggae Show on Earth" with carefully balanced sensory enticements as the sound and lightning quality is expected to rival the best in the world...." Executive Directory Johnny Gourzong told the Jamaica Gleaner.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Wilted Efforts in Marketing or Promotional Platforms Cause of Weak Album Sales for Tessanne Chin; Dolli Difference 'Lingerie' Track Hits #1 on Dancehall Promo Chart UK

Tessanne Chin
Tessanne Chin's album label Republic is considered the cause of the weak sales number for "The Voice' Season 5 winner due to wilted efforts in marketing, press or promotional platforms reports IBT.  According to the Headline Planet report, the sales number on Tessanne Chin's album came from the weekly sales report of Hits Daily Double which generally reports sales number slightly different from Billboard/Nielsen SoundScan data.  The weekly sales report revealed that "Count On My Love" debuted with about 6,568 weekly sales sum.

The report further noted that Tessanne Chin's post-show album does not have a strong opening compared to "The Voice" Season 3 winner Cassadee Pope and Season 4 winner Danielle Bradbery who had introductory album week sales of 43,000 and 41,000 respectively.  

Tessanne Chin is currently on the first nationwide tour of "The Voice" with the other contestants as they travel to different cities across America to perform with their impressive vocals. The Jamaican singer had the time to discuss her music, new album, "The Voice" tour and coach Adam Levine in the Examiner interview

When asked what was it like for her to be in the studio and making her own album, Tessanne Chin admitted that it was a wonderful process and experience because she was able to work with amazing people like Diane Warren, Toby Gad, Claude Kelly, Supa Dups, Ray Marshall and Chuck Harmony.
Tessanne Chin

The music artist further revealed that she does not want her music to be just one genre and her reggae roots will always come out so the songs on her album ended up being diverse.  "I hate being put in a box and I hate being told I can only do one thing.  Even if I never do all reggae it has to come out in some way because that's who I am.  I think a part of being successful or trying to be successful is staying true to who you are.  Be genuine. And I think that's when people really connect," Chin explained.

Dolli Difference Hit Number 1 on Dancehall Promo Chart in the UK
Dolli Difference
Dolli Difference is doing her thing alright, her recently released 'Lingerie' track hit Number 1 on the Dancehall Promo Chart in the United Kingdom hosted by DJ Master Mix.  'Lingerie' is Dolli Difference second song to hit a UK chart, the popular 'Gangsta Girl' song was first. The Dancehall artiste is pleased with the news which she shared with a growing fan base in Uganda recently when she was interviewed on NTV Africa.  Dolli is also enjoying consistent airplay and recognition across Kenya and hope to visit the motherland soon.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

VP Records 35th Anniversary Pop-Up Exhibit to Debut at NYC's Annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival

The Reggae power house celebrate 35 years, sharing their story and history of Reggae music with state-of-the-art display designed by Michael Thompson.

New York - From ska to rocksteady, roots reggae to dub, lover's rock to dancehall - VP Records has been at the forefront of Jamaica's musical evolution.  2014 marks the 35th anniversary when its founders Vincent and his wife Patricia Chin moved their headquarters from Kingston, Jamaica to Jamaica, New York transforming their operations to the largest reggae company worldwide. On Sunday July 20th, 2014, VP Records will celebrate their story and the history of reggae music with a special pop-up exhibit that will debut at the fourth annual Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival, held at Queens' Roy Wilkins Park. 

The VP Records 35th Anniversary exhibit will feature a visually appealing storyboard installation designed by Michael Thompson. There will be a detailed map exploring the global impact of reggae music in every continent and an illustrative timeline covering each era - beginning in 1958 (when the Chins established Randy's Record Mart and Studio 17 in Kingston, Jamaica).

Patricia Chin (Ms. Pat)
A Short video documentary will air as part of the installation. The video's narrator and Sirius XM Reggae personality Pat McKay will walk the viewers through the social and political history of Jamaican music and explain how VP Records is a key contributor to its growth, development and future. In an excerpt from the video, McKay explains that "Vincent and Pat's move to New York and the founding of VP Records's Distribution formed an independent and vital channel from Jamaica to the world.  The classic recordings of the period made an indelible mark and established reggae as a dominant form of the developing 'worl music' genre."

VP Records co-founder Patricia Chin along with her sons Christopher and Randy Chin, who run and operate the label today, will be on site at Grace Jamaican Jerk Festival and available for interviews.  After the exhibit's debut, the label plans to take this travelling installation into other markets throughout the rest of the year.


Rootz ReLeaf - An Environmental Preservation Project Inspired by Rootz Underground

While on the road in the U.S. West Coast, Jamaican roots rockers Rootz Underground had an epiphany. Inspired by the green living and evvironmental friendliness they saw throughout Oregon, Washington and California, Rootz Underground started an environmental project for themselves, their fans, and eventually for school children in Jamaica and beyond.  Rootz ReLeaf originally began as a program to inspire people to plant trees and track the locations of the new transplants, creating a new network of awareness and pro-environmental action. ReLeaf sprouted in 2011 with an official kick-off on Earth Day, April 22, 2012.

On tour, Rootz Underground was inspired by the brethren and sistren they saw tirelessly working in the realms of nature preservation, food safety and propagation, and environmental health.  As the band passed through San Jose, CA, their dear friend Shama Cameron introduced them to a farm called Veggielution, which specializes in community empowerment and involvement, creating community gardens and access to local healthy food.  The seed was sown to grow ReLeaf to the next level, bringing environmental awareness and activism to the children and schools with Rootz REAP. ReLeaf Environmental Awareness Program.

Rootz Underground
To help spread the message far and wide, REAP garnered the support of Lasco, a Jamaican company specializing in food production and distribution.  As a company, Lasco has a strong reputation for their involvement in sustainable development; community, social and youth empowerment; and education and health - a perfect partner for REAP.  In the words of Rootz Underground's lead singer Stephen Newland, "the chairman of the organization, the Honorable Lascelles Chin, has been a visionary, and as such, saw the great potential of the [REAP] initiative, and immediately affixed his signature...Since then, the company as been actively involved in the program, and has placed itself at the helm of REAP corporate support."

Newland continues, recounting REAP's main objectives:
[REAP] facilitates children's involvement in safe environmental activities [and] incentivizes children in three main environmental areas: tree planting, recycling and energy conservation.  We are also actively engaging the community through our Lasco REAP National Schools Competition, and have recently completed our Schools Engagement Tour and [other] special events.  As of February 2014, we welcomed the participation of 128 schools and expanded the competition to include all age, preparatory and junior high.

REAP has already experienced massive success and growth at home in Jamaica.

More on REAP