Saturday, 30 January 2010

Why Wiley Is King

This guy is that guy

Shouts to Donatella looking hot as always and laying foundations for a interesting interview! But anyway, Wiley has so many quotables. My favourite is regarding Bashy: "If I was a mad man I'd be in jail doing 30 years and he'd be dead".

To think Donatella kept a straight face deserves props alone

Catch Grime Daily on Flava TV, Sky Channel 367. Comes on @ 6pm/ 1800 hours. Check your EPG for the listings and Sky+ that

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Busy Signal - NightShift/ One More Night [video]

Despite the controversy, this is one of the biggest songs of the genre.

Kingston looks beautiful. Ah man, can't wait to be back there.

Check my interview with him here. One of my best from them days; still ranks high up there to this day. We discussed temptation to venture into crime, maintaining his hype vs establishing himself, not working with Stephen or Don Corleon, beef with Aidonia, working with Mavado, and more.

Also, the man behind this new Busy Signal (post-Step Out), manager and producer Shane Brown. We spoke about live instruments vs digital sounds, if producers are accountable for when artists are feuding with each other, banning of songs, how reggae producers make money and helping to reinvent Busy.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Diddy unearths G-muthafu*kin-Dep

I can't believe it, Diddy brought this guy up from under the ground. Where has he been? If you aren't familiar with the name, check the vid for songs ('Special Delivery' and 'Let's Get It')

I never really got how Diddy spoke over the intro for a whole minute! Look how lost G-Dep's looking whilst he waits for the drop. Wouldn't be surprised if they cut the vid because he missed it.

G Dep was one of my favourite rapper them times; his flow was awesome. Most of the lyrics didn't make sense, but it sounded fly as anything! Bad Boy had a bit of a roster post BIG and Mase at the top end of the 90s; G Dep, Black Rob, Shyne and Loon were all firing.

Shouts to Tim Westwood. Days when 56k + Napster were all we had meant downloading mixtapes for fresh music was a no go. Standard 15mins for one solitary 192 bit rate song at 4kbps (kilo bytes per second), 5 kbps was a God send. MixTAPES on TDK, pausing before the DJ spoke etc. was regular occurance. Copying songs you downloaded on CD were for the rich kids.

Who remembers the Harlem Shake though? Not gonna lie, I never fully caught it but I rated it highly.

Who Art Thou Jason Derulo?

Seriously, who is he? Is he Usher? Is he Mario? Is he Chris Brown? Is he Justin Timberlake? Will he get his own identity? These questions need to be answered. If you handle his PR holla at me We, the people, need to know what's going on!!!

Maybe you're scratching your head wondering where this came from; well watch this

Clearly stole the clothes Chris Brown was supposed to wear on TV promo dates but wasn't able due to the unforgettable ChRihanna incident. Where's he going with the ballerina spin? The guy who played Billy Elliott got bullied for that, Jason Derulo most definitely can't get away with that.

Who wants to tell me it doesn't look identical to Justin Timberlake's Like I Love You?

And did I notice rippin the late-but-never-forgotten Michael Jackson's Keep It In The Closet moves behind the sheet?

Mate, sort it out

Song isn't bad but how long does this guy think he'll be around for if he's cloning everyone who isn't about? What next, dying his hair platinum ala Sisqo 'Unleash The Dragon' times? Give us a break!

Monday, 25 January 2010

Marvin Sparks x Morgan Heritage Interview

Many see Morgan Heritage as the next-in-line after the Marley’s as royal family of reggae. Reaching the successful heights they have was something they only “Dreamt of”. With a career spanning over a decade with a slew of timeless classics, they credit their success and longevity to learning from legendary producers, namely King Jammy, Donovan Germaine, Fattis Burrel, Bobby Digital amongst others before going on to produce on their own. Success hasn’t gone to their heads though; they give thanks “to people who have recognised what we have done so far,” but go on to declare “we still feel we have a long way to go.”

Marvin Sparks caught up with members Mojo and lead singer Peetah to share the reasons why each Morgan Hertiage member has decided to go solo, leaving reggae music out of respective their solo projects, why Morgan Heritage aren’t bigger commercially, and their perspective on the burning question; is reggae what it used to be.

Marvin Sparks: Everybody loves the group Morgan Heritage; what are your reasons behind working on solo material?

Peetah: The solo projects just came by as an idea to introduce each member behind the group to the audience and to the fan base so that the audience can know each individual. Everyone knows the group but a lot of people don’t know the names of the member in the group. I go to places and get called Gramps, Mojo goes places and gets called Gramps, the biggest name in the group is Gramps - everyone knows Gramps! It’s something that we sat and reasoned about for a while and gave it much thought. At the same time it’s something that will breathe new life into the career of Morgan Heritage. We’ve been doing this for so many years, we’ve become comfortable in knowing what works. It wasn’t really a challenge for us anymore. Doing this now is a new challenge; it’s like fresh blood, starting all over again, so it’s a lot of fun.

Marvin Sparks: How will your solo material differ from what you already produce as Morgan Heritage?

Peetah: We’re not going to be doing roots reggae. My album is going to be straight up hip-hop and r&b. I’m working with a lot of producers in America who have worked with mainstream hip-hop and r&b artists. Mojo’s going to be doing alternative, more rock album; his sound is called rasta-rock and it’s very interesting. Una is doing neo-reggae-soul, Gramps already did a reggae album which was called 2 Sides of my Heart vol. 1 which came out August 2009 and he’s currently working on volume 2 which is going to be a more r&b/adult contemporary album.

Marvin Sparks: Which producers are you working with?

Peetah: I’m working with a kid named Ikon in Jamaica whom I met through Shane Brown. In America I’m working with a yout’ named Koko from Basement Beats. He’s the guy that produced about 90% of Nelly’s [debut album] Country Grammar, did a lot of work with St. Lunatics, still works with Nelly. This other guy called Voodoo Spells who has done a lot of work with Ludacris, Shawna, Chingy and the rest of DTP [Ludacris’ label Disturbin’ The Peace]. Those are the two main people I’m working with in America.

Marvin Sparks: As you’ve stated, you’re both doing music completely different from what your Morgan Heritage fans are used to. Are you not afraid of alienating them?

Peetah: No man, because we aren’t changing Morgan Heritage. I mean, if we aren’t doing something that is appealing to you, you don’t have to listen to it. Morgan Heritage is always there and we will never change what Morgan Heritage has done so, don’t be disappointed if what me do as Peetah or if you don’t like what Mojo does as an individual. This is for us to explore and do what we like which is just music. We as Morgan Heritage do roots reggae music, but at the same time, we as individuals are influenced by different genres. We are artists, at the end of the day, before anything else. We are not a genre; we are artists that make music. Who is going to like it, will like it, you know what I mean?

Marvin Sparks: This is coming at a time when people are having trouble identifying what reggae is, and claim reggae music isn‘t what it used to be...

My problem with that is it’s not that reggae isn’t what it used to be - reggae is always reggae. What’s going on is that people are refusing to identify that the young generation that’s making music in Jamaica have created something new for themselves. Before there was reggae, there was ska, and before ska it was mento. The people that made reggae was the generation that made music after ska. Now you have this new generation in Jamaica after the generation that made dancehall creating a new sound. They are creating a whole different vibe through music, so it is for the younger generation to say “This is our thing, this is what we do, this is the kind of music that we make. We don’t make music like our grandfathers, and our great-grandfathers that did ska and reggae, we do what we do.”

It’s the same way they didn’t want to identify dancehall as a [genre of music]. They were like “Dancehall is a place where we go to listen to music,” yeah but the word dancehall has become a word for the music and for a while people were trying to say dancehall was reggae, but it isn’t reggae. Reggae is reggae, dancehall is dancehall, and we’ll soon find a word for what these kids are making today. I say that what they are doing is great and it’s innovative.

Marvin Sparks: Who are your influences outside of reggae music?

I’m influenced by people like Jimi Hendrix, Alanis Morrisette, Eric Clapton, Coldplay, Jack Johnson just to name a few.

Peetah: I listen to a lot of old singers from the likes of Sam Cooke, Donny Hathaway, Stevie Wonder, The Gap Band, Michael Jackson of course, Bobby Brown, Guy, New Edition all the way up until Usher, Chris Brown, Omarion and people like that. I listen to a lot of r&b singers.

Marvin Sparks: What are your aims for these albums? Are you looking for commercial crossover success?

Our aim is to have fun with music. We’ve accomplished a lot with Morgan Heritage and we’re thankful for the blessings bestowed upon us. The main thing that we want to accomplish is that the audience gets to know each artist as an individual.

Marvin Sparks: A lot of people will compare it with Morgan Heritage’s material and success; are you worried about that?

We accept that.

Mojo: We welcome the challenge because as solo artists we are going into different genres of music and the greatest thing for us is to get the message to as many people as possible. By doing this solo project is going to help us widen the fan base of Morgan Heritage then mission accomplished.

Marvin Sparks: Many people feel like you should have had much bigger success commercially. Why do you feel that hasn’t happened?

Everything happens within the Father’s time. Maybe Morgan Heritage aren’t supposed to go commercial or have commercial success. You go to Africa, you can’t tell people Morgan Heritage is not a commercial success, you understand? We are just coming from South America and Surinam pulling over 50,000 people, you can’t tell them Morgan Heritage is not a commercial success. On the main continents like North America and Europe, maybe the solo projects are going to take us to that commercial mainstream level that our core Morgan Heritage fan base would like us to see.

Marvin Sparks: Speaking of tours, as part of Morgan Heritage, you are one of few reggae acts constantly touring places like main land Europe, eastern Europe, Africa, South America etc. Why do you think that is?

The music man, the music just crosses many barriers. We call our music life music because people can relate to it. Everyday life of everyday people it comes through our music and people feel that. People looking for a light of hope on a rough day, week or month, our music can provide it for them sometimes. It crosses all ages and races, it’s beyond us and I’m grateful that Jah has chosen us to deliver such music to humanity.

Marvin Sparks: With the market the way it is right now, is it important to focus on those regions?

Now at this point of Morgan Heritage’s career, that is what we are focusing on. For the past 10-12 years we have been focusing on North America, Europe and UK. Now, when we are doing our solo projects, let the solo projects deal with North America, Europe and UK but as a group we’re focusing on Africa, South America, South Pacific and there are billions of people in those places who have never seen Morgan Heritage who would love to see Morgan Heritage. So if anyone from North America, Europe and UK want to see Morgan Heritage, you may have to go to Africa or one of those places [laughs].

Marvin Sparks: Tell us about your first singles, starting with yours Mojo, ‘Million Dollar Check’

My first single from an upcoming album is called Million Dollar Check. It’s been released to radio; it will be available from January 18th. It’s a song that relates to the economic downturn that everyday people is facing, not multi-billion dollar corporations that are losing billions but still making billions and they are the news saying “Oh we are losing money“.

We are talking about people that are having trouble finding their basic needs; food on the table, a vehicle to drive to work in, you children look nice going to school and don’t get bullied because they are wearing old shoes that have holes in. These are the problems that the people at the base are going through. When a musician can express themselves in a way that they can make audience know that they relate to them, I feel your pain, I feel it’s important to do that, and that’s what we’re doing out of the box.

Marvin Sparks: Will that be the theme of your album?

It’s feel good music. I call my sound Rasta Rock, I released an EP earlier this year called ‘Got Mojo’ that was relased digitally, and it chronicled my journey from roots reggae to rock. There’s something on there for reggae lovers and straight up alternative rock lovers. This album isn’t going to something on there for reggae lovers, or for alternative lovers, it will just be feel good music. It’s a cross between rock, hip hop and a little bit of reggae here and there.

Marvin Sparks: Peetah, yours is called ‘Only You’. How did that come about?

It was an idea that... the music came from this youth called Icon. He said that he wants to make music that reaches out further than just Jamaica. The producer that he idolises is Timbaland, and he said one day he hopes to be as big and produce tunes for mainstream acts like Timbaland does. He made the track but didn’t know what to do with it. I just said “Gimme it”, and it was really good. It sounds like a track any American can perform on, so I wrote a track to it, and it worked well with the track. Mojo heard it and was like “This is the [perfect] track”, so I made it the first single.

Marvin Sparks: And it’s a lovers song. Will that be the theme of your album?

A lot of my songs are definitely going to be for the ladies. R&b with a little bit of hip hop in there.

Marvin Sparks: You’ve done a lot of work with Shane Brown and the Jukeboxx camp. Secrets in particular has been very successful. With that being reggae, will any of that be included on the album?

Nah, none of those songs will be on the album. Those are just songs that I’ve been doing since we announced we are doing solo projects to let people know we are doing this, it’s real. Gramps was the first to put out an album, so we were still putting out songs to let everyone know that we are working. But the real sound that I will be delivering will be different and I think you will be blown away.

Marvin Sparks: As we enter a new decade, what are your hopes for the decade 2010 and beyond?

My hope is for more love in our humanity. We pray that the love of Jah will flow amongst us. I heard a great philosopher say “If we were to focus on the power of love, instead of love of power, the world will be a better place”. In the decade I hope that becomes the focus of the world leaders - to unify humanity.

Peetah: Same thing man. More love of humanity. Everything in this world today is just stressful. Everyone wants to make it big today. Some people can’t even have the dreams to want the other thing than just the basic needs anymore. 10 years ago you’d be like “I will have this in 5 years time”, now you can’t even see past tomorrow. We just hope and pray the place is better and less stressful. Love is a key ingredient to this prosperity for humanity.

Interview conducted by Marvin Sparks [ /]

Both singles released January 18th 2010 digitally on Gideon Soldiers Entertainment
The as-yet untitled albums are scheduled for release Spring 2010.

You may also be interested in:

Tarrus Riley interview here

Levi Roots interview here

Chino and Laden here

Queen Ifrica here

Jah Cure here

Reggae producer George 'Powerhouse' Phang here

Anthony B here

Beres Hammond here

Etana here

Gramps representing Morgan Heritage here

Tarrus Riley here

Caribbean's Care For Haiti Too!!! [Shaggy, Sean Paul, Sean Kingston, Mavado..]

I'm sure you've heard all about Simon Cowell pushing a bunch of his X-Factor and Britain's Got Talent artists with a few others here and there. You will have seen Jay-Z, Bono & Rihanna on George Clooney's Haiti thingy that I boycotted (I saw the video listed on WorldStarHipHop for the smart ones).

But believe it or not, Haiti is in the Caribbean and guess what? "What?" There have been Caribbean artists paying tribute to the thousands of unfortunate Haitian's who have lost their homes limbs or lives. Not only that, nurses and doctors have been flying over, as have volunteers.

That leads me onto why I boycotted (exaggeration - I mean I didn't care for it) that ceremony. Why was Rihanna the only Carib to pay tribute (besides Wyclef obviously)? I heard she did Redemption Song which is quite a funny/apt song choice considering the reason Haiti are in a mess. Point is: surely Damian & Stephen Marley could have done the job instead! I mean, excuse the apparant blonde moment, but they are Marley's, no? So yeah, main point is I don't support them friend of friends things anymore 'cos they're boring now. Well done on them giving their time, but I didn't watch. I did however donate my money at Rave For Hatiti hosted by True Tiger, Chantelle Fiddy on behalf od Ctrl.Alt.Del which was a very sick night! Magician Dynamo is the f*ckin guy, yeh!?

To the point of the post, Wyclef teamed with Gully Gad, Mavado. This was recorded prior to the earthquake.

Shaggy has been doing a lot of charity work since disappearing from the commercial scene. Annual concert raising for the Bustamante kids hospital in Jamaica, so he isn't an opportunist (no sly dig...). Recruited Sean Kingston, Sean Paul, Tessanne Chin & Etana to join him in this snippet for Haiti. The full line-up includez Shaggy, Sean Paul, Sean Kingston, Etana, Tesssanne Chin; Barbadian Artists, Alison Hinds, Shontelle Layne and Edwin Yearwood; Trini Soca Artists, David Rudder, KeesDieffenthaller & Destra Garcia; Haitian artiste, Belo

Relative newcomer Wasp, who burst on the scene in a big way with the politically-charged anthem Officer defending poor peoples rights to party, reworked local bubbling hit Cry Fi Di Youth in dedicataion to the "Haitian dem" (admittedly he sounds like he's saying Asian, but Patois doesn't allow for pronouncing 'H' before vowels)

RIP to all those who lost their lives, and hope and pray for a better life for those who have lost relatives, houses and everything that means something to them

Friday, 22 January 2010

Survival of the Fittest: Funky Dee or Gracious K

People say I'm rude, harsh, controversial... whatever, I don't think so. People usually admit they agree and that's all I care for.

Some will say the same about this post, which is why I wasn't gonna do this post cos I'm not an attention-whore, but f*ck it we're all wondering the same thing! I rep the real people with real minds.

After reading this post I dare anyone to "put one hand on your heart, put one on your Bible/Qu'ran, and then you swear to Jah/Allah/Buddha [delete as you see fit] and admit that you never thought it. Blud, swear down, you never thought it?" If you manage to do it I'll shout "Oi! You! R u gonna lyiie doe?". *sidenote: Gospel funky refix to land Easter time. Cop my mixtape outside all good retailers (yes outside including Foot Locker, Oxford Street)*

To the point of the post; both made (arguably) the biggest MC tunes of 09 in the UK Funky genre. Neither crossed over commercially like "Nursery Grhyme" Heads, Shoulder, Knees and ToeZ, but their underground success surpasses that of KIG's skank tune - HSKT doesn't get anywhere near the same reaction Migraine Skank and R U Gonna Bang Doe? do.

Another thing they have in common is controversy; both are accused of "stealing producers beats" [note quotation marks = not necessarily my thoughts = mi nuh care weh dem do!]. Could get technical and talk about the 8-bar switch Gracious accuses Funky Dee of copying from him. *another sidebar; anyone noticed how frequently they go at it on Twitter? If it isn't Gracious, its someone connected. Tension? lol who knows...*

For all they lacked in lyrical complexity and depth, they more than made up for in the chant-along (R U Gonna Bang?) and watch-the-skaaaank (Migraine Skank) department - lyrical depth isn't a valid criticism in my opinion; music is entertainment, both entertained, done.

This has lead to questions over both artists longevity; both garnered an extreme amount of exposure and relative success, but to date still one-hit wonders. Who will advance on to the next step and actually release a decent/semi-good song first (let's be honest, Gracious K's other song doesn't count as it was pretty poor, no? Can't find the studio track on YouTube, wonder why...)?

Gracious K?

Funky Dee?

(Ok since you asked) or neither?

Comments box if you want to be heard (read)

Trey Songz - Say Ahh + Interview

I'm sure I'm really late on this one but "face. Look. Bovvad?"

Tunes dir-tee-tee; good tune but "Oh you so nasty" *speaking whilst moving my neck*. I wanna know if self-respecting ladies rate this tune? Some would argue "self-respecting ladies" is an outdated term. I don't subscribe to that, special ones are still out there... Many of 'em? Well that's up for debate, but I love you all!

Anyway, his album is big! Beats knock, he has a good voice, but most of all it's at a normal tempo not this wannabe 4x4, borderline trancey stuff (over-exaggeration much!). Still sounds like R. Kelly. Girls LOVE this guy too; by far the most popular of all the pics I had on my Facebook page amongst the ladies.

And no, I wasn't in a pic with him for groupie reasons; "Man-a-badman, mi nuh frighten fi tell no bwoy! Desso it deh uzeeit!" (that's a random defensive outburst) I interviewed him before his performance at indigo2. Spoke on his disappointment with previous album sales, why he teamed up with the 'typical' hit producers as everyone else, create his celebrity dream girl, find out the real reason behind the single 'I Need a Girl' and whether he dates fans.
Read that here

You may also be interested in Joe interview from last year here
Ryan Leslie interview here
Keri Hilson interview here
Akon (kinda counts as R&B if we're using the term loosely - well loose like... erm I dunno but you get my point?) here
John Legend interview here
Jazmine Sullivan interview here
Lemar interview here
Michael Keith a.k.a Mike from 112 a.k.a. the first dude to leave the group here.

See I'm not just a reggae/dancheall guy

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Love this: Queen Ifrica - Serve and Protect video

Queen Ifrica is one of my favourite artists of any genre. One of the fiercest lyricists in dancehall matched with thought-provoking concepts equals me loving her music. Serve & Protect tackles police brutality; a topic we all speak about, but artists rarely voice on record. This is why I love reggae!

Featured the audio of this track on my blog a while ago, glad to see a video has been made. Hopefully this gives what is a heavily slept on track (over here in England anyway) a much needed push. Maybe some follow fashion DJs will see this and play!

Gotta love the Fiyah Momma; whether it be child molestation (Daddy), turbulant relationships (Below The Waist) Government neglecting the poor (Rise Ghetto Youths Rise), skin bleaching (Mi Naah Rub) or as above police brutality, she always delivers.

Had the chance to interview last year. Peep that here.

Big up Jay Will, one of the top music video directors bringing the reggae/dancehall visuals at good quality.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Killed it! Can't deny his spitting ability (if you did) after watching that vid. Some may say "Ah he ain't got no content," or "Same old Chipmunk talking about himself" but that's the point of them videos - bring the braggadocio out. Wanna hear a song with content? Buy his album.

While you're here, check my interview with him here. This was before chart domination so we spoke about what he's bringing to the table, his rise from underground superstar to signing a major deal in a short time and the opinions of grime fans.

Shouts to SBTV, killing the game right now. Check out his new site for more videos like this

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Looking Forward to Hearing in 2010

I wouldn't call myself an expert on music. I have an opinion that some people agree with, others disagree. These following artists are not neccessarily "next to blow", rather those who I'm looking forward to hearing from in 2010.

Maverick Sabre - Dude from out of Ireland. Has a reggae-vibe to his voice/delivery, or that perception may be due to him reminding me of one-time Reggae MOBO Award winner Finlay Quaye. Equipped with real life topics/ real music from the soul.

Daley - saw him at one fashion show back in October, not gonna lie... actually let me explain; all the previous performers were dead to me so there wasn't high expectation for this dude sitting on a stool with a random piece shaven off his head. How wrong was I? Dude can sang! Boy got that smokey jazz club soul about him.

Devlin - Blogged about him before. Nothing much to say that the song doesn't display, but offers a different perspective in the game.

Chino - one of my favourite artists of any genre, especially the genre he represents, dancehall. Lyrics dem clean, flows tight, positive concepts, catalog includes hits for the men and ladies (which is good for us men to whine with, uzeet?)

J Cole - Possibly the only rapper I'd say I'm a super-fan of. Multi-talented MC/producer who can kick allsorts of rhymes; social-commentary, storytelling, introspective, or "dumb it down" with straight punches - he has it all! Signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation, he most definitely deserves that. Can't wait for his album. Contrary to popular belief, The Warm Up was the best mixtape of 09! Word is bond son. Throwback NY style from a dude born and raised in NC. He's nothing like Drake; more a lyrical College Dropout Kanye West, less complex/snorefest Lupe Fiasco. Rapper who produced all but 2 tracks on the 22 track heater

I really could carry on posting vids, but I reckon you should check free mixtape The Warm Up here

Tinie Tempah - Won't lie, none of his songs had EVER appealed to me; all them soppy love songs aimed at Liquid/Revolutions crowd get bun round ya! But Pass Out? Pass Out? This tune is absolutely IMMENSE! By far the best UK rappin style track since Giggs 'Talking The Hardest' - undoubtedly! Deny it you're a LIAR