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The Rara talks jail, new music and his master plan

MASTER PLAN: The Rara, whose single Elegance is still going strong, has big plans for 2019

THERE SEEMS to be a new wave of excitement for UK dancehall music at present, with so many artists doing their thing and doing it well.

The sound of dancehall has always been a dominant force in the UK, but in the last decade the scene has been mainly headlined by Gappy Ranks and Stylo G.

Stylo started off 2019 in a very strong position with his club banger Touch Down continuously building. It now features remixes with Nicki Minaj and Ding Dong, which has also been added to the BBC Radio 1 playlist.

Two other artists that we spoke about this time last year have also continued their growth into 2019.

Big Zeeks started off the year with his single, aptly named Happy, and Alicai Harley has been tipped as “hot for 2019” by my home station, BBC 1Xtra.

So what is the predication that Seani has for you for 2019. Well…

I’d like to introduce you to south Londoner The Rara, whose track Elegance is on the verge of being the UK’s next big dancehall tune.

Just like Rara, this single has been floating around for a little while now and been getting crazy support from the underground. The song’s journey started a year ago, he tells me.

“The man just released it without me knowing and I saw triple the number of views and I thought, ‘What is going on here?’”

One year later and fresh off the Kojo Funds Golden Boy Tour, he was excited to share his experiences with me.

“Norwich gave us one of our biggest receptions and London was shelly when I stepped out,” he tells me.

During our conversation Rara drifts in and out from being my south London cuzzie to my chargie from Jamaica.

Born to Jamaican parentage, he grew up in Spanish Town, Jamaica. “I learnt to walk over there. I was there from a baby, but came to London for secondary school and was back and forward.”

His first taste of success in the UK scene was back in 2010 when he hijacked Vybz Kartel’s Touch A Button/Sprite Riddim.

Head Hot was the name of the tune and was running the whole of south and north London. Gappy and Sneakbo had versions and the Sneakbo one was due to my team as he used to use our studio,” he tells me. Sneakbo and Vybz Kartel to this day is still a bonafide UK anthem and still shuts down any club.

BLESSING

Rara continues: “Our studio was the hot studio at that time as we had certain pieces of equipment first. We were the first to lock down autotune on the ends.”

Unfortunately, he took a little holiday (he cheekily explains with a giggle in his voice). His voice then turned to a more sombre, reflective tone. “Man just sat down and prerecorded everything. I was hearing you play every artist on the radio, and they got their buss with you, Seani. I just thought, ‘I know what I have to do’.


ABOUT TO BLOW: The Rara's track Elegance is on the verge of being the UK's next big dancehall tune

“The wicked thing is, it was like a blessing in disguise, as I had more time in the studio than when I was on the road. I was in the studio 24/7 . I even did an A-level in music. This is why I think so many people come from jail right now and end up doing well in music as they listen to where t h e y wanna be when they get out.”

I asked him if he thinks the system helped rehabilitate him.

“Absolutely. It worked in my favour. I got to do more of what I wanted to do and was able to work on my talent and master my craft in there. When I eventually touched the road I had a name change and sound change. This threw people off as I had already built up a fan base in south London.

“I waited a whole year and stuck to my plan.”

It seems that the young upcoming dancehall star has a master plan.

Even though he only has the Elegance single on rotation at present, he has assured me that there is so much more of that to come.

I know he’s not lying as he has already been in my studio cooking up some heat for my BrukOut releases in 2019. “I have an EP that I’m working on at present, but I’m so picky ‘cos I work with the seasons and the sounds.

“I also have this song called Supercharge that I know is gonna be one of the main songs that I push.” With an air of confidence he laughs when he says: “That one is gonna slap weh!”

All that being said I know that Elegance still has more legs in it and can do so much more.

He agrees with me, but swears me to silence about what is gonna happen for it next…

Sometimes it’s hard being a writer! I suppose all will be revealed soon…

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