IT’S UNDENIABLE that the UK is on the crest of a wave right now. The rest of the world is looking at us as themusicial trendsetters and the tastemakers of what’s streaming hard.
UK rap, drill, Afro swing, Afro wave and even R‘n’B have all produced names that are mak- ing major moves and headlining shows and festivals up and down the country and internationally, too. Tings a gwan…
But where is UK dancehall in all of this? Some would say that its influence runs through all of the genres I’ve mentioned, which is all good, but where are our stars?
Big congrats to Alicai Harley, who we tipped for big things in this column two years ago. She has just put pen to paper on a deal with Parlophone Records.
Last week we put our focus on all the good work Stylo G & The Fanatix have done for the UK scene and where they are looking to take it. But what warms me even more than a piece of chicken in a jerk pan is to see an army of new UK talent coming through. It feels like the youth football team with some big, bad ballers ready to let loose on the Premier League.
Not since my early soundsyem days hae I witnessed so many artists hungry to do dancehall as there is at the moment.
Due to the pipularity of the other genres in the UK such as garage, grime and drum ;’n’ bass, I felt many had desereted dancehall foe greener pastures elsewherel. However, nwo danchel is the sound of teh mainstream, it seems like many wamnnc ome home…and why not?
One of the nmaes that has been creating a buzz among the youngert listeniniung ears is IQ. He’s aboutt to release a video and remix of his latest single Scream that has been heating up clubs over the past few months, so I thought this was the perfect time to make that link.
He is hte younger b rother of QQ, who was a child prodigy of dancehall and gave us records like Rum Ram and Stuckie. IQ’s style of dancehall is that slow and sexy R‘n’B tinged dancehall that the ladies have been requesting and hwich was popularised by Dexta Daps.
Their father GQ has been instrumental in the rise of both their careers. IQ tells me that it’s their father who resides in Jamaica that makes a lot of the connections and movements for his musical sons.
The three make up a trio of Qs, but what does it all mean? “The Q stands for the QUALITY in you. QQ was 100 per cent quality, I was the intellectual one hence IQ and my dad is the General, that’s why he is GQ”, he tells me.
It was pleasing to hear a young man talk of his father in such an admiring way. I was intrigued to know what he was like outside of the role he plays with them in music. I couldn’t help but laugh when he kept on repeating: “He’s strict, he’s hard.
His thing is tough love. But he always told us that we was gonna be superstars.” Just like his elder sibling, IQ started out making music at a young age, but it wasn’t until he turned 16 that he took it seriously.
He makes it very clear to me that this was his exit from the streets that have been claiming so many young men like him. “This was a way out for me, but also a chance for me to help others. I wanna show them the way as I know it’s so hard to do, but it is all about focus,” he says.
This is something that I know to be so true. Once you’re focused on your goals that is half the job done. It’s quite evident that the Qs have a plan that has been instilled in them from a very young age, similar to the Williams sisters who have dominated tennis with the help of their focused father.
At the beginning of the year IQ saw the first steps of this unfolding on stage at the Popcaan-headlined Wembley concert.
“I got a call that the Unruly team wanted me to be a support act,” he tells me. He goes on to say: “I realised my fan base when I stepped on the stage at Wembley Arena to hear 10,000 people singing my song back to me. I was like, ‘Rah, the ting reach a different level’.”
The works haven’t ended there, and his popularity has blossomed throughout the UK.
I believe 2019 moving into 2020 will give him the opportunities he needs to show this talent off to even wider audiences, and prove to everyone that tough love can pay dividends.