Friday, 20 June 2014

Melissa Steel ft. Popcaan - "Kisses For Breakfast" [Music Video]

I've written about Melissa Steel's debut single featuring one of dancehall's finest exports, Popcaan, here. Watch the video below. Proper nice video to match the song. Shot in Jamaica. Obviously.

Really think the song suits here to a tee.

Monday, 9 June 2014

Some recent Jamaican videos fi di i-dem

Quick updates on some videos for songs I'm feeling

Keznamdi dropped a well shot video for acoustic jam "I Don't Wanna" for the ladies them. Catch this one on the 'Bridging the Gap' EP.

Kabaka Pyramid reverts to a more hip hop vibe with "Liberal Opposer", but importantly, retains his Jamaican identity. Video shot during his time in London. Can't go wrong with fire pon babylon.

"Pon di battlefield, I'm a rebel with a cause.
Never pause
Babylon ah devil"

Mavado "Tie Yuh" on the impressive Sex Mate riddim is one of the best gal songs Mavado has done in a bit. Wicked melody on the chorus. Second half of the video is the best Mavado gal song in recent time for me, "Friends With Benefits". Same speed as "fire pon babylon" songs, you can't go wrong with sexy dancehall.

Busy Signal demonstrates flows upon flows on "Bou-Yah". Ok, so its a Mavado diss subliminal, but ignoring that because we don't want another Alliance war, the way he abuses the Khona riddim is disgusting.

Kranium's anthem for the summer. The way this is gonna lock the little segue from hip hop to dancehall jugglings. "My Lifestyle". Should be able to make a few change from cutting dubs too. This New Yorker is gonna have a good summer what with "Nobody Has To Know" already burning up the gal section.

Major Lazer finally got with Sean Paul to lace something and it's fire. Sean Paul delivers a vintage performance with melody and lyrics.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Melissa Steel ft Popcaan "Kisses For Breakfast" / Kano ft Popcaan "Alien"

Seems like the #TeamUnruly King is in demand amongst English artists. Last year saw him on a track with north London rapper Sincere, this week saw two releases of audio boasting a Popcaan feature.

First up, Atlantic records recent signee, Melissa Steel "Kisses For Breakfast". The Yorkshire lass cut a version of the Wundah-produced should've-been-a-hit single by Lea-Anna in 2012, however, this obviously has more flavour with the unmistakable Popcaan assistance. Check it out below and look out for the video.

The other is on a hip hop-based beat with co-mic controller Kano. As K-A mentions, he's done songs with Kartel, now here he is with a protege.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

Fuse ODG = best black British artist right now*

Yeah I said it. That statement may come as a surprise to narrow-minded folk that believe it's impossible for someone who loves bashment (like me) to give an afrobeats artist that accolade. Maybe that's the case for some, but I have no qualms, mate.

Here's why:

He makes the truest music of any black artist in the UK on a known level right now (no bedroom guys/girls). His music is relevant to what's happening here in the UK - with the proliferation of house music in charts and dance floors - and his home country, Ghana, at the same time. There's very little compromise in what he's doing too. He's still the same guy we first knew to now - both lyrically and musically. And it works across generations. Kids love it, teens do and grown ups too.

See, the reason why what he's doing stands out a whole lot more is mainly due to the rest of these guys out here replicating what goes on in a country we're already exposed to. Not to cuss 90s babies, but criticising 90s babies, they lack understanding of their own identity. Majority aren't offering much different to the regular import we've got in abundance. I often think "Why listen to you when I can listen to the guy you're copying?" when I watch videos.

Fuse is in a lane all by himself. He's the only afrobeats artist in a major label deal over here. I'm sure Wizkid will be signed soon (my money's on Atlantic. Don't ask me why), but as it stands, Fuse is able to offer an accessible version of music that's really popular in certain sections of the country to people none of his peers can.

But let us not get it twisted, he's on par with most of elite as evidenced by his popularity on the continent itself. D'Banj was the first through the door with major label-assisted "Oliver Twist"mainly  because everyone really wanted it to work. It was a popular song, good floor filler but everyone really wanted it to work. The Kanye co-sign and novelty factor really helped push that song. Ministry-assisted Atumpan "The Thing" (equally as massive in clubs) barely scratched the surface.

"Antenna" on the other hand is afrobeats' first genuine smash-hit. I'm not saying this after the fact (it sold over 200,000 copies), I stated it will be the surprise hit of last summer prior to Radio 1 even playlisting it. Partially ignoring "Azonto" (novelty record that charted at #30 because Fearne Cotton hates it), dancehall-inspired and highest charting single "Million Pound Girl" (UK #5) is another genuinely good song and credible pop. A search against the name of any his songs + "dance" brings up videos of amateur dancers having a crack at showcasing their choreographed routines racking up thousands of views. You can't buy those genuine feelings for a song.

Or 6 million views in the case of this video below

Anyway, his new single is out. It's the coming together of two worlds; afrobeats and bashment. You'll find stupid people pitting them against each other all the time just because majority of London's black population are either Caribbean or African so you have that rivalry. Fuse ODG not only features Jamaican artist Sean Paul, Jamaican Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor is on production duties alongside Ghanaian producer Killbeatz. And don't think Sean Paul is washed up; this will be the fourth time he's fronted or featured on a UK top 10 single for the past three years (including The Saturday's only #1).

Fuse is an example of the artist I said people should be like in 2012; dance floor fillers about females that males don't find cheesy. Well, I actually said "gal tunes man dem rate". Infectious melodies, lyrics upgrading females and home-away-from-home inspired music (soca, afrobeats, reggae/dancehall etc.) are always win in my books. And it's always won. And I won't stop banging that drum.

Fuse is encapsulates everything we actually need right now. We don't need a hip hop or r'n'b scene. Trust me. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against it; they can do it if that's how they feel to make music, but we definitely don't need a UK-imitiation of an American scene. What we need is original music. One that (excuse the pun) fuses genres. Like Lovers Rock, 80s UK reggae & UK dancehall, jungle, UK Garage, grime, UK Funky. Contemporary with our traditions. That's what we need.

Get it off iTunes here

p.s. this is the third time Fuse has worked with a Jamaican dancehall artist. Elephant Man features on Azonoto remix and Konshens features on Million Pound Girl

*subject to change when Skepta, Chip and/or Wretch drop some material.

Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Sean Paul latest features > Sean Paul latest album. Why?

Can we all just rejoice at this fact please? I say fact cos it isn't mere opinion. Also, I'd like to say it's an achievement in itself that he's still popular after 10 years since bursting into the mainstream that wonderful 2003. 10 years ago he was nominated for best newcomer at the Grammy's alongside Heather Headley (last I heard she was in theatre), Fountains of Wayne (WHO?), 50 Cent (who cares anymore? recently split from label), and winners Evanescence (where are they now?). So big him up for that. 1st Jamaican-born, third reggae(ish) (Musical Youth and Ace of Base before (do they count?) Maybe fourth if you count Culture Club too. They won it in 1984.)

Hoowwwwever, if you were thinking about buying Full Frequency - in short, do so at your own risk! Maybe I shouldn't say that. Let me rephrase: please don't listen to it if you have a high respect for Sean Paul's music + good taste because it will taint your opinion of him and his music. And I'd rather you not do that to yourself or him. It's easily one of the worst albums I have heard this year for so many reasons; it's lazy and strays too far from not only good dancehall music, but from good music. It's easily the worst album of his discography (big word!). Easily. I can't complain enough about how bad it is. The producers are rubbish and most of the features are worse. I want to have a word with whoever advised it.

I mean, someone thought this was a good idea? Well, the Konshens feature was. But the rest of thing as a whole? I can't even bring myself to call it a song. It's a thing that (barely) exists.

And as if you didn't like Juicy J that much, the last person you want to hear on the same song is 2 Chainz! And I'm partial to Nicki Minaj sometimes, but not this Nicki Minaj. See, this is a "Let's make something for US urban radio spins. Sean isn't hot with them anymore so let's get every rapper who does the most features for the right price." Throw that together with an abomination of EDM and you have a song that's definitely shitter than my description makes it sound.

I suspect it wasn't his fault though. Looking back, the writing was on the wall when his third major label sponsored album, Imperial Blaze, failed to match success of the previous two. It also marked the change in strategy; he went from trusted dancehall riddims to creating things on his own and aiming for a mainstream audience who were interested in Lady Gaga type artists.

Follow-up, Tomahawk Technique, saw him step away from Jamaican producers for the first time, probably because the label had more say in the making of the product (aka "Why don't you go in with [insert proven pop chart hit-makers]?"), but part of me thinks Sean wanted to branch out (check the video below). I'm not gonna lie, the album wasn't terrible for what it was. It had quite a few bangers including smash-hit "She Doesn't Mind". Album still under performed (did well in certain territories I believe) so they put him back in with pop producers but couldn't attract the names they did the first time (smaller budget? People didn't want to be associated with an artist not pulling in numbers?) and it definitely sounds like it.

At this point, I'd usually tell you about a song I liked on their. This won't happen today. Actually, the first single "Other Side of Love" is listenable. Good song lyrically, but beat is a rehash. Benny Blanco got the big hit on the previous and here too. The rest is incredibly bad. However, if maths serve me correctly this was his last album on Atlantic.

But on a positive, he has putting in some work as a featured artist on some quality/better songs and a non-album single. All of which have been a million and forty times better than his album. I recommend you get stuck into these instead. Had this been the work he was doing last year, life would've been a bit better for this album I reckon. Let us raise our heads and pray the label doesn't get involved (at all) with the creativity again so we can get the proper good Sean Paul back.

No this The Saturday's song isn't good, but its an example of an electro song better than his album. And he got a #1. Then he got a #7 in the same year with "Other Side of Love" yet no album dropped until he was cold. My money's on the label's American side messing up the base (or maybe the album wasn't ready). A EU released album would've capitalised on his success. In the end, it was dropped into a vacuum of space.

First up is a nice and easy reggaeton song for the ladies hips with a top reggaeton artist called Farruko produced by Jamaican producer Rvssian. Those of you familiar with SP's rise to fame will know the Hispanics embraced "Gimme The Light" helping him turn into the star he became. He catered to them on Tomahawk Technique (both "Got 2 Luv U" and "She Doesn't Mind" are very close to where reggaeton is now), lacked that factor on most recent.

Next up is Enrique Iglesias (yes, the lucky bugger who still goes out with Anna Kournikova) recruited Mr Sean Paul for the Spanglish version of current smash-hit Bailando ("dancing" en Ingles.)

So you've got the Hispanics on board. Who else will make Marvin a happy guy? Africans!

Timaya's "Bum Bum" was one of my favourite afrobeats songs last year. Ok, so Machel Montano's remix is a lot catchier, but hey, it's better than anything on Full Frequency.

Not just one song, there's two. UK's very own Ghanian, who's currently on a spree of chart hits, only went and bagged an SP feature. This is better than the above. Not gonna say much on this because I have another post lined up for this. Listen below. (And pre-order please)

Last but by no means least, the crossover-"EDM" crowd is sorted with this Major Lazer feature. Similar to last year's Busy Signal-assisted "Watch Out For This (Bumaye)" with the moombahton/electro-reggaeton/dancehall vibe (and we know reggaeton is heavily influenced by dancehall/Poco Man Jam riddim).

To me, this is what Sean Paul should and hopefully wants to do. Not too much of this EDM stuff. I can tell the features are just him and management choosing what's right as opposed to falling victims to major label pie charts and graphs. I could've helped him make a much better album than what he produced. There were enough Jamaican riddims for him to touch. I would've hooked him up with people like Rudimental and other UK producers too to give him bangers. Got man like Kill Beatz and it's orn end poppin' san. Why didn't he link with Rvssian for his album? Anju Blaxx? C'mon. Popcaan feature? Denyque? Get Di Genius to give him some dancehall?

So yeah, if you don't like anything Sean Paul has done in the past few years, I hope/reckon you'll like at least 3 of the above 5. And please, preserve your mind of good Sean Paul. Get Full Frequency at your own risk innit. That's your "Marvin's Advisory" e-sticker.

Other features:

There's this with a Haitian artist, this with Wisin (of Wisin y Yandel fame) and this solo song which is awesome, produced Rvssian (again), on the Rvssian riddim, which sounds like another Hispanic-friendly riddim. Vintage Sean Paul on form here. Not as good as but definitely close to the levels of the peak. And his best dancehall song since "Turn Me On" on Smokin riddim.

Here's hoping for a bright future.

p.s. check my post on why dancehall hasn't produced another Sean Paul here.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Kabaka Pyramid - "Never Gonna Be A Slave" [Music Video]

We (I) posted the audio on here a couple days after it dropped, today I post the video. Quite simply the music the world is missing. True rebel music. I'm telling you, there;s no movement like the reggae revival movement right now. Large up Kabaka Pyramid in every aspect. I mean, how can you hate this sentiment? That's right. You can't. Video's shot really well too.

Witnessed him perform it live at Hootananny in Brixton surrounded by Rastafarians and reggae lovers alike who respect the same livity and viewpoint. Pree an accurate review here. Definitely something everybody should experience. Hear how the music touches people.

If you like the mood of the above, my thoughts on the Reggae Revival movement and some recommendations on more here

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Jesse Royal ft. Sly & Robbie + Earl "Chinna" Smith - "Little Did They Know" live studio performance

Put three legends in a room with an artist making incredible headway in Jamaican music at the moment and it's gonna be great. And it's quality.