Tuesday, April 20, 2021

The Government of Jamaica Blames Specific Lyrical Content In Dancehall Music for the Cause of Crime in the Country

With a spiraling crime rate specifically murder and rape, an unstable economy, and the effects of a pandemic, Jamaica's Prime Minister, Andrew Holness blames specific lyrical content from the music of some dancehall artiste as the cause of crime. His statement caused outrage within the music industry. 

There are some industry players who agree with the Prime Minister's views but several popular artists have come out against it using constructive and insightful arguments to make their points. It is also important to note that the Prime Minister in his last election campaign during the peak of the pandemic, had dubplates recorded mimicking some of the same content to which he refers and even taps into the music culture bearing an alias name as he sported Clarke's shoes to demonstrate his 'down-to-earth persona and attract targeted young Jamaican voters. Aspects of the election campaign replicated a hardcore "Dancehall Clash."

While this writer must agree that some lyrical content heard in songs recorded by some dancehall artists is graphic one cannot ignore the fact, that people, in general, gravitate to that which is attractive to them as well as, that which is popular (as in the case of the PM's election campaign) but usually make decisions as it relates to choices based on personal preferences. In other words, the person who takes a gun and kills another person would have had that intention already. The music to which that person chooses to listen in that context supports his idea whether the writer of that specific song or songs intended to create such perception. An example could be that of a love song written specifically about an artist's own personal life but resonates with fans because they can relate to the content or, perceive the lyrics to be sensual, loving, warm, sensitive, or bold. 

Most fans who listen to explicit and graphic dancehall songs, more often than ever, do not carry out violent acts of any kind more rather, quite the opposite. The music is perceived and interpreted in several different ways based on the individuals who listen to it.  There are those who are impressed with the mode of the music which will always be perceived on the basis of good or bad. A song depicting a tough, rough, gangster can also be perceived to demonstrate specific qualities such as competitiveness, strength, dominance, greatness as opposed to violent, arrogant, murderous.

There is also the case of inspiration behind the construction of a song. There is no denying the fact that an artist (or individual) can find themselves involved with crime, but to say the music is the cause of crime, and not, a specific crime, is wrong. The increase in crime in Jamaica has grown with successive leaders and is, at this point, at its highest under the present leadership. The underlying crime management issues are still to be addressed and have over the years evolved resulting in, among others, the continuous creation of musical content by some artists that are disgusting, threatening, scary, and violent to law-abiding citizens yet reflective of a society that lacks good governance and leadership, security and failure to address the real cause of the problems albeit willingly or unwillingly.

Sophia McKay

Monday, April 12, 2021

Tarus Riley Drops New Single, Tells Daily Beast "Music Is Going Through A Change "

New York, April 12, 2021 - Known for his evolutionary sound, Taurus Riley is set to kick off the summer with his new single, "Just Like That", produced by DJ Frass Records. The single, which was released April 2nd, garnered solid streaming numbers via Apple music and on Apple US iTunes charts, has been receiving airplay on various mainstream stations in the US and UK.

Tarus Riley, known for his impressive catalogue, "Good Girl Gone Bad", "Lion Paw", soca track with Machel Montana "Memory", classic single "She's Royal" to his EDM hit with Major Lazer and Ellie Goulding "Powerful", is no stranger to hits as well as experimental sounds. "Just Like That", which is a fuse of dancehall and R&B flavour, has a groove, which will get females dancing and feeling beautiful at the same time.

In an article written by Pat Meschino titled, Are Jamaica's Biggest Stars Leaving Reggae Behind for Daily Beast, Tarrus Riley said "don't watch the tempo because I like doing new things. People are concerned with names, labels, trap, rap, hip-hop, dancehall, I can't bother with them things. I have always been doing different kinds of sounds and I will continue. Music is going through a change right now, people are blending and fusing, everybody wants to call it a name, but I just call it good music."


Source: Destine Media 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Tribute Pours In As Toots Copped 2021 Grammys Plus Other Music News

The late Toots Hibbert is 2021 recipient of the Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album and the tributes have once again started pouring in. Toots, "Got To Be Tough" album snatched the coveted prize over nominees, The Wailers, Buju Banton, Skip Marley, and Maxi Priest, at the 63rd annual Grammy Awards, held March 14th, 2021. Freddie McGregor in his congratulatory post on Facebook said, "Toots my brother, you're a true Reggae icon, you've gone too soon! I wish you were still here to celebrate this great achievement with the Reggae community." 

In other posts/tributes, Steven Cat Coore wrote, "Yes my brother, for the FOUNDATION, for Jamaica, forEVER we love you." 

For Shaggy's post, he commented, "the only thing better would've been him (Toots) being here to collect and celebrate his win. Well deserved." 

From his Twitter page young Skip Marley tweeted, "Bless up Toots and the Maytals on di Grammy win. Di whole foundation of wah wi ah do now is thanks to dem man deh, dem pinnacles of reggae music. Nuh only reggae, blues, funk, soul, energy him bring, everything. Nobody nuh does di stage like Uncle Toots."  

In acknowledging the achievement a post from Toots and The Maytals Twitter page read, "Very honored to have Got To Be Tough win the Grammy for Best Reggae Album! A very special way to remember the legacy of Toots Hibbert! We are very grateful to everyone who helped make this happen." #Tootsforever

Both late great reggae icons Bunny Wailer and Toots Hibbert were acknowledged in a  Musical Remembrance tribute at the Grammy ceremony.

Popcaan Strikes Gold

Spotify's 2020 second most-streamed Jamaican Dancehall artiste Popcaan has another big milestone to celebrate certifying GOLD by the RIAA for I Know There's Gonna Be (Good Times)' by Jamie XX ft. Young Thug. Just three months into the new year and Andre 'Popcaan' Sutherland's career continue to strive on an impressive path that has lead to his success between 2008 and 2014 when he signed with Mixpak Records and released, Where We Come From album. Recently he gave us a surprising performance when he appeared at the Beres Hammond Virtual concert performing their single God Is Love and we watched Rihanna vibing to "Silence" one of his biggest tracks from Where We Come From album. 

Freddie McGregor Beres Hammond Marcia Griffiths & Beenie Man YGB Icon Hall Of Fame Inductees

In other news,  Veteran singers, Beres Hammond, Freddie McGregor, Beenie Man, and Marcia Griffiths have been inducted into the Young, Gifted and Black (YGB) Caribbean Music Entertainment ICON Hall of Fame in New York in recognition of Black History Month 2021. Freddie McGregor on acknowledging the award said, "Once again, I am extremely gratified on receiving the 2021 Caribbean Icon Hall Of Fame Award from YGB."

Carl Gray, president YGB, said the ICON Hall Of Fame was established to memorialize trailblazing individuals in their roles as historical members of their culture and of society. Carl Gray founded the YGB awards in 2006 in honour of Black History Month, and since its inception, the awards program has grown in prominence and is now a civic event with significant importance in New York. The program attracts public and private sector leaders who have local, national, and global appeal. The awards provide peer-to-peer recognition of "Unsung Heroes & Heroines for the Talent, Ambition, and Achievements towards the Continued Pursuit of Success in hopes that their stories will inspire others towards achieving their goals.

Bounty Killer and Beenie Equity Stake after Verzuz

Both Beenie Man and Bounty Killer will benefit from the "Sale of Verzuz" the musical battle recreated by Swizz Beats and Timbaland during the pandemic that attracted millions of views across social media. According to reports, the Jamaican Dancehall icons are among 43 creatives with an equity stake in the Triller Network acquired by Swizz Beats and Timabaland's Verzuz Platform. 

The American ace producers have now become members of Triller Network management team but did not forget to show their appreciation for the artists that took part in the Verzuz battles and who helped them to build a successful and sought-after brand.


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Bunny The Last of the Great Wailers Trio Has Died

The legendary Bunny Wailer, the last founding member of the Wailers trio, 
has transitioned. Legends in their own rights the Wailers, Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Bunny Wailer will be spoken of for eternity. As Jamaica and the worldwide reggae music industry mourns their loss, those left behind must now work to secure their legacies and carry on we must.

A generational shift is taking place during this pandemic, a whole generation has transitioned or is transitioning, including some great black leaders, motivators, inspirators, icons, role models, and legends as if sudden, or unprecedented. The years 2020 - 2021 have been like no other and although death is inevitable, waking up to the news of the passing of another as it unfolds deepens the sadness.

Born Neville Livingston on April 10th, 1947 in Nine Miles, St. Anns, and died at age 73 at the Medical Associates hospital in Kingston on Tuesday, March 3, 2021, Manager Maxine Stowe confirmed the ion's death (via the Jamaica Observer). While no cause of death was given, Bunny Wailer has been in and out of hospital since he suffered a stroke in 2020.

On behalf of the New Image Promotions family, we send condolences to the family, friends, and fans of the late reggae icon. Walk good sir and may your soul rest in peace R.I.P.

Written by: Sophia McKay

Friday, February 19, 2021

Inezi "Rise" With New Song

"Rise" is a powerhouse! Arguably one of the hardest roots-reggae tracks to hit the air-waves since the start of the year." Sophia McKay.

Since our first introduction, NIPnews has absolutely no doubt that roots-reggae singer Inezi is a force to be reckoned with and we've watched him grow, consistently putting out music that gets better with every new song. His first release in 2021 is a heavy-sounding, drum and bass, roots-reggae, and dub-wise track called, "Rise" produced by Switzerland-based producer Addis Records. The producer's authentic rhythm and Inezi's soft tone, oftentimes, melodious vocals synchronizes as he effectively speaks on several topical issues as well as offered solutions.

"Rise" is a powerhouse! Arguably one of the hardest roots-reggae tracks to hit the air-waves since the start of the year. Its heavy beat has already sparked flames among several sound-system deejays (see review below) and is the ultimate hardcore, social commentary type of song one listens to when driving on the highway. The level of consciousness on this track makes it a hit in this writer's view, forcefully yet pleasant on the ears. 

Unity Sound Review "Big Tune or Big Flop"

Inezi is known for songs like Roots and Culture produced by Teflon Zincfence, Straight Away on the New Vision One Record label, Music is Life, produced by Pon Di Corners Records and Gold Mind Production, and Sorry Fah also produced by Addis Records.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

Legendary Toaster Daddy U-Roy Dies at 78

As tributes pour in and news of the passing of his death trends across social media we at New Image Promotions would also like to pay full tribute to Ewart Beckford O.D., Daddy U-Roy, The Originator, September 21, 1942 - February 17, 2021.

The Jamaican Dancehall DJ Pioneers' musical journey began in the early 1960s. Inspired by Winston Cooper, aka Count Matchuki, also a Jamaican deejay in the era of Ska, Daddy U-Roy released his first single, 'Dynamic Fashion Way' back in 1969. In 1970, he went on to release, 'Wake The Town' and 'Wear You To The Ball' and would have established his reputation as The Originator of toasting over a micro-phone in Jamaica as a form of musical expression. This musical expression created by Daddy U-Roy became known as Dancehall deejaying which was subsequently introduced in the Bronx, New York by Clive Campbell aka DJ Kool Herc, a Jamerican DJ accredited for originating Hip-Hop music in the Bronx through his Back To School Jam in the 70s. Daddy U-Roy changed the paradigm when he recorded the 'Version Galore' album. His music and style garnered a huge following in the UK as he essentially paved the way for many deejays to become the Godfather of Dancehall and Hip-Hop. In 2007, Daddy U-Roy was awarded the Order of Distinction from the Jamaican Government for his contribution to music. 

On behalf of us here at New Image Promotions we extend our condolences to Daddy U-Roy's family, friends, fans, and our colleagues in the Jamaican Music Industry. Rest Well Our Jamaican Legend, Ewart Beckford aka Daddy U-Roy, The Origination, September 21, 1942 - February 17, 2021. R.I.P.

Written by: Sophia McKay


Friday, February 12, 2021

Marvin Binns Plans to Stick With Reggae

Since his re-emergence on the music scenes in 2019, Jamaican recording artist Marvin Binns recorded and released a mixture of reggae and dancehall music fusions to reassert himself in the music industry. Almost two (2) years in, he has taken the decision to stick with his own -- Reggae. I use to think I needed to fuse reggae with other genres and even tap into recording music in genres I personally love to make it more appealing to the fans. On this subject, I have had some interesting discussions too with colleagues but found myself having great admiration for the likes of Chronixx, Protoje, Lila Ike, and all the other Jamaican artists who are younger than I am for sticking it with reggae, fighting the odds and getting the attention they deserve." It's a tough fight sometimes but when they win they not only win big, they stand out!

For the year 2021 and beyond Marvin Binns seeks to captivate the hearts of all the supporters of authentic reggae music, as well as, join the list of proud Jamaican artists who are comfortably recording and striving to keep the genre always appealing to a younger audience. In keeping with such plans, he released his first track of the year called "Tell Me How" to a pleasantly surprising reaction.

Tell Me How, is a cover version of Snoh Aalegra's popping single, Dying 4 Your Love. It is relatable and trendy but when asked why he chooses a cover to make a statement here's how he explained it, "as I contemplated going all out reggae, a friend suggested that I should cover this particular track and once I hit the studio and started recording, I knew! There's a sense of belonging like it's mine, this is my genre, my music I identify with! This is really who I am and who I'm supposed to be." 

Though early in its introduction, the signs are favorable toward this latest song, 'Tell Me Howand Marvin Binns intends to stick with its reggae concept while making improvement whenever necessary. "I recently sat down to watch an inspiring interview with Damian and Steven Marley, Onstage with Winford Williams, and realize my music also has to be about purpose. I am a proud Jamaican, if other artists in other countries love and appreciate my music the way they do, and has successfully made a career out of it then my greatest challenge would be to prove to myself that I have what it takes to become successful doing my own music too.

Written by: Sophia McKay