Sunday, September 13, 2020

Rugged and Deadly Album is Here and Worth the Wait

In an article written by Jamaican Entertainment Editor Kevin Jackson, published Friday, September 11, 2020, for The Jamaica Observer Splash, Bramma, Mr. Rugged, and Deadly speak of his debut album, why it has been so long in coming, what the album title signifies, his personal journey prior to the release and the kind of work that went into it click to read 
Collaborations with Freddie and Stephen McGregor, Mojo Morgan (Morgan Heritage), upcoming artiste Zagga, Luciano, and Anthony B, the Riddim Force Executive Produced Rugged and Deadly album is more than expected and the type that grows on you.

When Bramma hit the music scenes with a track called "Heading To The Top" he was younger, fresh on the scenes, and excited about popularity. He made an imprint which leads him to explore the Jamaican music culture, then several years later, creates an album that pretty much sums up his experience over the years and the direction in which he now chooses moving forward.

Rugged and Deadly album is almost perfect coming from Bramma, with quality production, collab choices, expression, and arrangement, it is right to say this independent reggae/dancehall artiste has done well putting out this project. 

The sixteen tracks, three skits, and four music videos already released depicting a clear storyline can be enjoyed by all demographics of roots, rock, reggae music fans. Freddie McGregor, Anthony B, and Luciano adds depth to the arrangement of the album, with Freddie and Anthony B embracing today's Dancehall. On the other hand, Mojo Morgan and Stephen McGregor engage Bramma in conversations on social, topical issues. The African continent must be mentioned in any conversation having to do with black lives which is the vibe behind 'Africa' featuring Luciano, and of course, whining down, Bramma is off on a 'Sensie Ride' closing out with Zagga on "Wi Deya."

Rugged and Deadly is quite the album, and sits well among the other impressively entertaining albums heard so far this year. Jamaican reggae and dancehall artistes have stepped up their game. More time and effort is being put into production, content, expression, and creativity where needed, complemented by some exciting fusion of other music genres that intertwines with the original late 70s through 90s reggae and dancehall signature sounds. Listening one whole podcast of female dancehall or reggae artistes only, irrespective of content is a stepping stone for the music. Reopening the music entertainment industry is looking more and more prospective while, Bramma's Rugged and Deadly album is poised for breaking yet another hardworking entertainer from the local industry.

Written by: Sophia McKay

Monday, August 10, 2020

September Release For Bramma's Album

In somewhat of a sobering tone Bramma aka BrammaGGOD announced on his Instagram page that his long-awaited Rugged and Deadly album is finally completed and will be officially released September 11, 2020.

Bramma posted his album cover and tracklist to the delight of fans many of whom congratulated him. Executive Producer of the album Riddim Force Records and distributor VPAL Music also posted the album cover and tracklist on their respective pages. 

The nineteen track compilation boasts major features by Mojo Morgan (Morgan Heritage), Steven and Freddie McGregor, Anthony B, Luciano the Messenjah and, the promising artist Zagga. Bramma also thanked producers Steven McGregor, Emudio Records, Tvch Point Music, DJ Smurf, German base producer Sensi Movement, and DJ Nico citing, "we made one for the books one that exudes our culture to the fullest, something timeless a masterpiece so thanks." Arranged by Bramma, Rugged and Deadly comes in a three-part storybook audio series with skits at the beginning of each new segment. Each track is reflective of one of Bramma's many moods and ways of making music to appease his diverse fan base.

Written by: Sophia McKay

Monday, August 3, 2020

Visions of Rasta's Paradise

"visions of Rasta's Paradise"
When Jamaican singer Vernal Sage teamed up with one of reggae's music pioneer, Mr. Boris Gardner, he was so excited to work with him he said, "after my friend Norman aka Azee gave me six love in a domino game he concluded that it's best that I stick with making music. But he was a fan, impressed with my songwriting ability so he got me linked up with Boris, the rest was history, the man is a maestro!" 

Vernal Sage, along with musician Donovan Lee Palmer from the Fab Five reggae band and Boris got together to launch their first project, a single entitled “Rasta’s Paradise” on Boris's Bronco Label. Boris Gardner in an interview with DJ Kat on Jamaica's KLAS FM station shared how he felt when he heard the song for the first time he said, "I liked the song the first time I heard it and as I listened I said it's a nice song I just need to straighten out a few verses and submit the second set of lyrics, so he agreed with me and he went home and sat down and the next day he came with a new verse." Joking he added,  "I said I didn't know that he was a poet also!" Click here to listen to the full interview

Rasta’s Paradise is the inspiration behind a book that was written by Caribbean Author K. Shawn
Harris entitled, Reggae Superstar. Vernal Sage said, "It is a special request by the author himself to have the song written and recorded as ‘title track’ for the Reggae Superstar storybook content.

Vernal Sage hails from the parish of Westmoreland, in Jamaica, an old-schooler in music, his early musical influences were Ernest Wilson and Cocoa T, his neighbor, and friend from the district of Rocky Point in Clarendon where they both resided and where he harnessed his dream of becoming a Jamaican entertainer in his formative years.

Vernal Sage emerged once again onto the music scenes in June 2020, with his new single, Rasta's Paradise, a new music career, and, with new and exciting ventures to further indulge reggae music lovers.

Written by: Sophia McKay

For NIPnews

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Bramma Team Up with Big Ship Captain Freddie Mcgregor

After hitting Number One on the Japan-based More Fire Radio chart and receiving rave reviews for his single, Jamaican recording artiste Bramma G.G.O.D. has teamed up with Big Ship Captain Freddie Mcgregor on the remix of the Riddim Force Records produced 'Big Chune' single.

Obviously earning the legendary singer's respect, Bramma went even further releasing behind the scenes footage from the making of a video for the single with himself and Freddie McGregor.

Big Chune remix forms part of Bramma's promised, Rugged and Deadly album which also features Anthony B, Luciano, and more. Three singles have been released from the album so far, namely, Belly A The Beast, Dancehall Rock featuring Anthony B, and the official Big Chune respectively.

NIPnews has learned that there might be yet another single(s) release from the album before it's the official release and according to Bramma, "songs released will not make the album less interesting as there are other special features to come."  

Fans and music lovers are reminded to follow Bramma on social media @brammggod and

@brammaggodofficialupdates for the latest news. Rugged and Deadly album is produced by Riddim Force Records and distributed by VPAL Dancehall.

written by: Sophia McKay

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Unity is Strength Division is Weakness

Some of the most successful Reggae artists of all time, are those who are able to project their own ideas of their culture through the music and are seemingly prophetic in their execution. Bounty Killer and Beenie Man's recent historic live stream performance has rehashed discussions with regards to the Jamaican Music Industry, of which this writer would like to share personal opinions. 

Before the internet, the Jamaican music industry was somehow regulated, which made it more of a united business industry to some extent, even though there were disparities with varying management styles. If an international body wanted to conduct business with an artiste the agent for the artist would inevitably be contacted. Certain regulatory tactics enforced during that era proved to be more effective when compared to the freelance, free-for-all tactic provided by the world wide web now. A united industry leads Tessane Chin to victory on "The Voice" and Bounty Killer and Beenie Man to a historic live stream show that attracted almost half-a-million viewers. It is hereby fitting to remind ourselves that the two artistes in question are products of that era.

While all credit must be given to telecommunications giant Digicel, Ms. Sharon Burke, one of the cornerstones of the industry, Grammy-winning producers Swizz Beats, Timbaland, and the entire production team of the Bounty Killer Verzuz Beenie Man live stream recently, the show of support by members of the industry, and Jamaicans across the world, not only proved how marketable the Dancehall genre is; how much of a tourist attraction the music is, or, how impactful the culture is on the rest of the world but, also, how great we are as a nation when we pull together. Contrary to the narrative that is spewed when something goes awry, we have witnessed time and time again the success of our artistes on the international front. More Jamaican artists are going mainstream, more of our female artistes get recognition for their work and diversity. However, our failure to control key elements that make an industry not just great by name but by revenue accrued has created the inability of capturing the true value of the culture. 

According to the IFPI Global Music Statistic Report 2019 -  For the full year 2019, total revenues for the global recorded music market grew by 8.2% or US$20.2 billion. Streaming revenue grew by 22.9% or US$11.4 Billion and for the first time
accounted for more than half (56.1%) of global recorded music revenue. Growth in streaming more than offset a 5.3% decline in physical revenue, a slower rate than 2018. This growth was driven by a 24,1% increase in paid subscription streaming with nearly all markets reporting growth in this area. There were 341 million users of paid streaming services accounting for 42% (33.5%), with paid streaming accounting for 42% of total recorded music revenue.

Call it what you may, this writer believes the key reason why the local music industry is not reaping the benefits of its reggae brand as it should is as a result of dis-unity among its stakeholders. This flaw however is not unique to this body but more so, the black man's attitude towards his fellow black man. The good news is, it can be changed as we have often witnessed among ourselves. Jamaicans are known for their resilience, our culture which is bred and shaped by our colonial past has made us a people with the tendency to impact the world positively in more ways than one and at times when the world needs it most. This is our talent. This talent of ours can be put to greater use, it can unite black people across the world, but most importantly unite us as Jamaicans. Unification of the stakeholders can solidify and maintain this one great legacy those before have left us called, The Jamaican Reggae and Dancehall Music Industry.

To Jamaicans wherever you are and especially those not associated with the industry but rather a fan of the music, we are not ashamed of who we are, or, of our culture. The 'Verzuz' clash between Bounty Killer and Beenie man was an artistic and cultural expression of our music. It is important to add here too, that this writer is a none supporter of certain lyrical content regardless of whom the performer is but rather a supporter of individual expression.

Lastly, lest we forget we are stronger together as a people and we all win when we support each other, the Bounty Killer and Beenie Man historic performance has afforded us insights that can help us navigate our way forward through any discourse. What is profound about their performance, is the fact that these two entertainers who were arch-rivals that aggressively competed for their standings seem quite comfortable working with each other. In the heat of things the dancehall 'general' did say, "on stage we war, inna real life we par." So, we can agree to disagree but let love and light lead us to victory.  Who would have thought that Bounty Killer and Beenie Man would have come together in the manner in which they did and made us all proud in the way they have done? Who! Who! Who!...

"It always seems impossible until it's done"
~Nelson Mandela~

Written by Sophia McKay
For: NIPnews
Excerpts: IFPI Global Music Report 2019

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Historic Bounty Verzuz Beenie Live Stream Clash and Another Great Loss For Music

Clash of the titans! 
It was truly a historic and awesome moment in time for Jamaica music culture and Dancehall legends Bounty Killer verzuz Beenie Man who represented themselves in another memorable and timeless clash. Reminiscent of their 1993 musical confrontation live on stage 'STING' greatest one-night dancehall event but, void of expletives and, certainly appealing to a large audience, bigger and better than the two might even imagine they could have drawn.

The two, obviously have out-grown their differences as Bounty Killer stated, "pon stage we war inna life we par," and had the over four hundred and eighty thousand views locked-in on Instagram live throughout the entire proceedings.

A clash that was exciting, fun, and friendly once again placed the Jamaican music industry in the spotlight and looking real good. The clash which trended on twitter attracted the attention of celebrities such as Rihanna, Swizzbeats, DJ Khaled, Erykah Badu, Ashanti, Ja Rule, Busta Rhymes, Dwayne Wade, P. Diddy, Timbaland to name a few, as well as popular music news sources such as BET, The Source and Vibes Magazines, Angella Yee, Charmalagne Tha God, DJ Envy and so many more, cheering the Dancehall legends on. 

Another Great Loss For Music

Another reggae music pioneer, studio engineer, and producer Bobby Digital has passed. His death is yet another great loss to Jamaica's music industry. Several pundits remember Bobby Digital, a few of which we thought it fitting to share as we remember and pay homage to the former highly respected music Producer. Sleep in peace Bobby Digital (S.I.P.).

Professor Donna Hope reposted Dancehall Archive sharing smiling pic and a little history. 

Music Journalist and author of the book Rebel Frequency, John Masouri also shared a post on FaceBook, "when certain people leave us, it's as if an era has passed away with them.."

Clyde McKenzie remembered Bobby Digital his friend, "holding on to each other crying like two babies in a cemetery on a hill overlooking the plain of Manchester. We had lost our dear friend Michael Jones (Mighty Mike) and we're supporting each other .....

One of Bobby Digitals' most outstanding projects from then until now and will forever be for this writer is the album ''The Real Thing" by Sizzla Kolanji. Sleep In Peace Bobby, gone but not forgotten

Sophia McKay