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Seani B heads to Jamaica

ORIGINATORS: Ding Dong and Seani B

THESE DAYS I’m more of a “working vacation” kinda guy, which means I don’t quite know about the holiday blues as I’m rarely ever on one. However, I am always aware of when something is missing in my system.

Jamaica has a funny way of doing that to me. I just recently spent 12 days there, absorbing all the energies to keep me going for another few months.

As always, February in JA is ‘reggae month’. The month also hosts the birthdays of two reggae legends, the Crown Prince Dennis Brown and the king himself, Bob Marley.

All throughout this period you will find something on the island to quench that desire of the sweet riddims and baselines.

As it’s also Black History Month the veteran artists are always to hand. I took in and enjoyed a free performance by Admiral Bailey and Richie Stephens which I watched from my hotel room in the Jamaica Pegasus.

You can’t get that in England now can ya?

That was one of the very few moments I actually stayed in my hotel room as there is always something for me to get up to in the ‘Yard’.

Out of 12 nights I was there I think I partied on eight. Not bad going... I don’t think Kingston’s nightlife can be topped anywhere in the world. Not only is there a street party every night, but now you have at least three parties a night minimum.

The unique thing with these parties are that they are not competing with each other. On any given night you will see the blue flashlights of the police at around 2am indicating the dance is done at party one.


GOOD TIMES: Party night or day

The masses then roll on to the next event, and that’s the way the night continues until you decide to tap out.

I was told by Andrew Powell, son of legendary Stone Love Sound System owner Weepow, that Thursday night holds five events, culminating at a day rave, which explains itself! Andrew also has a position in the streets as one of the important street promoters.

Every night you see a whole host of street promoters at every party liaising with the selectors to get music played. If you’re not in a party then your music won’t get played just like that. Even icons like Beenie Man have to put the work in on the streets to stay relevant to the core market.

The biggest workers in the streets have to be the dancers though. Each night at every event you see the cheerleaders and skankers create and build an atmosphere. What is even more special is that it seems to have helped tourism in Kingston as every party has huge numbers of “foreigners” coming out to be part of the spectacle.

These dancers practice by day and dance into the night, you can literally see them counting in their heads... one, two, three, four and move...

What I enjoyed about this trip was seeing the likes of Masicka, Govanna, Shane O, Lanz and Prohgress and many other young artists really making their mark. These are exciting times for young artists coming up as DJs and the selectors in the street parties who give them their fair share of airtime.

Right now in Jamaica the first big song of the year goes to Masicka, They Don’t Know. This record is a monster in the streets, as is Shane O’s Mill Fi Share. Some of the biggest records on the island right now that you can hear in every bar, club, taxi and bus includes Breeze by Aidonia and Govanna, Masicka’s They Don’t Know, Popcaan’s Family and Shane O Mill Fi Share.

As they would say in the streets, “Ah it, Ah it, Ah It!” I got a good team now, with good production so we are ready for the road,” Shane O tells me on a live broadcast from Big Yard Studios which I co-hosted with ZJ Bambino from Zip FM.

Talking about road, driving through Halfway Tree in the middle of Kingston, I noticed a very large LED screen with Konshens’ image taking a up a very large proportion of it, with the letters IFG. That represents the title of the album he is getting ready to drop, It Feels Good. He actually made a special effort to come and link up with me in Kingston to talk about the new album and his recent marriage. Top man.


PICTURED: Not Nice

I also had the chance to get a sneak peek at some other albums I heard, with Kabaka Pyra- mid and Protoje both preparing to unleash their new work soon. Both are currently still unfinished, but I can safely say they have some treats for our ears. Kabaka and Proto have called in the finest producers and musicians for their work.

Let’s not even start to talk about some of the collaborations that I heard. I know I’m a journalist technically, which means there is no secrets with me, but I don’t want to break that circle of trust I have, so just trust me and remember where you heard about it first.

An album I can tell you about is I Octane’s Love & Life. I had the chance to listen to it in full at his brand new studio, Conquer The Globe. The album is a balanced mix of dancehall and reggae, which Octane sounds comfortable flipping between. One of the stand out cuts for me was a reggae track called Nothing In Common, produced by notable dancehall producer Seanizzle. The album drops March 30.

In my opinion, studio lifestyle is one of the most important things in Jamaica. There was a time when you saw many studios closing down as the new generation were making music on their laptops in a bedroom.

This still happens, but when you have hubs like Big Yard, Truck Back studio or Frenz For Real you notice the difference. Truck Back is like home for me – on any given day or night you can meet Tommy Lee, Bling Dawg, Mr Lexx, General B, Tony Curtis, Beenie Man among so many others.

In among all that you can find top producer Adrian Locke, the man be hind hits such as Erupt’s Click My Fingers. Adrian is often found busy working away with his laptop out and headphones on crafting that next banger, whilst the previously mentioned music legends discuss world politics and him having to repeatedly calmly say ”Gentlemen you don’t have to talk so loudly” in an effort to get them to keep the noise down.

Only in Jamaica... Only in Jamaica...

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