Monday, 31 January 2011

Documentary about Jungle music in 1994

Shout out to Uche by way of Mista Jam. If I'm correct, Uche is Robbo Ranx's radio show producer so big up to him. I listen to that show every week. Thursday 10pm - 1am. Lock een

Anybody that knows me or reads this knows I love reggae so naturally I love Jungle. Such a shame I was too young to go Telepathy, but praises to the most high and my parents I am lucky enough to have an older brother that showed me about Jungle from his days going to Telepathy. I spoke to Shy FX about them days at Tinie Tempah's #1 party last year. He looked at me like I was crazy 'cos he couldn't understand how I knew. Told him I know about them days through my brother. That put his mind at rest.

In terms of UK music I think it's Garage > early Grime > Jungle > Dubstep > UK Funky >>>>>>>>>>>>> Bassline. Anything I didn't mention doesn't matter. Jungle may have been higher had I been of age to truly appreciate it.

Anyway, here's a documentary made by BBC in 1994. Very interesting to hear that they didn't like General Levy for selling out the music and him going from scene to scene. We criticised UK Funky MCs for that in 2009. Also interesting that there is no mention of hip hop influencing them, straight soul and reggae. Probably the reason why the music was better than it is now.

LOL @ Mutlicultural Programs department. I'd imagine they got their funding cut LONG time ago. Those who watch UK television will know exactly what I mean when I say that. Sorry, we have got Stephen K Amos show... that crock of sh*t.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Skepta + Wretch 32 = VIP

VIP = Very Important People

Yesterday I tweeted: "A couple weeks back I was meant to tweet "Skepta and Wretch are the two most important artists this year". Dont ask why I didnt. I have now". Reason I didn't tweet it is because I forgot. I had a convo about my greatest tweets being the ones I forget. I tweet some nonsense with a couple gems.

But back to the point, Skepta and Wretch 32 (three-two not turty-two) are the most important to the extension and development of this #TeamUK phase.

If we look at it, the run has been Wiley ('Wearing My Rolex') + Ironik ('Stay With Me'), Tinchy Stryder + Chipmunk, then last year Tinie Tempah. Roll Deep and Dizzee fit in their somewhere kinda. Now we need someone else to carry the flag as an emerging artist.

Those two, in my opinion are Skepta and Wretch. Wretch managed to score a #5 UK single with his debut effort Traktor.

That isn't your average #TeamUK (basically UK urban music scene) single. In fact, it is the highest charting UK hip hop song I can recall. Well, they call it dancehall-inspired or something like that. I hear a couple of references to dancehall ("hey hey hey" bit) so can we claim that as a dancehall top 5 too? Cos we can throw Pass Out into that bag while we're at it. So yeah, that signifies an evolution of the sound.

Through a conversation with a few people (won't name names but dude from radio and an artist), we agreed this song is a pivotal song for the scene in the same vein as Tinie Tempah's Pass Out last year.

Skepta is set to be the guy that bringing a rawer edged pop-club music. As we know, club music is always a route for success when done correctly. Uni students and the demographic likely to buy these singles club a lot

Here's Skepta new single 'Amnesia'

SICK tune!!! Man's on vibes to this song. Has a grimey/wobbly bassline with the pop sound on top, bouncy half-step beat that gets me swinging my arms, catchy female-male interaction bit suitable for call-and-response and his lyrics are good for what they need to be. His affiliation with Diddy should help his cause in terms of promotion. 70k views in just over 24 hours is a lot! Basically, it's a lot better than Cross My Heart (not gonna lie I didn't like that song).

So yeah, I think they need to be the artists everyone supports this year.

p.s. Dark horse for '011 is P Money. Remember ah me seh so.

On another note, people say grime is the UK version of hip hop. I question that. What do you get out of grime in terms of culture like you do hip hop? What you get more time is angry guys talking about why they're the best or is that an unfair generalisation? Like for example, a popular song at the moment 'Black & Yellow' by Wiz Khalifa talks about his area. West Coast spoke about blunts, khakis and lumberjacks. New York was about Timb boots, gritty streets, pissy blocks, coke sales. What do you actually get from grime? Answers and examples on a postcard please. Thanks

Thursday, 20 January 2011

RIP Mr Bogle - 6th year anniversary

January 20th 2011 marks the 6th year anniversary of one of dancehall's most influential figures ever. Nah, scratch that, in popular music culture. Gerald Levy known to everybody as Mr Bogle (or Mr Wacky or simply Bogle) took dancing to astronomical heights. Not sure how his name came about but Jamaica National Hero Paul Bogle obviously influenced it in some way.

Dancing is almost as necessary as the thumping riddims that serve as the soundtrack on the dance floors. To quote Serani (when I interviewed him) "Our music is called dancehall so it’s very, very, very influential. Without the dancing, our parties aren’t good. Whether it’s a new dance that we are doing or just moving and dancing, our music is no good. It has a strong influence" Although his presence wasn't felt vocally on record in the dance until shortly before his death, the dance moves were omnipresent. When you think of Jamaican dances what are the first ones that spring to mind? Bet I can tell you two:

Willie Bounce

Mr Bogle named the dance Willie Bounce in memory of his friend Wille Haggheart (can't remember his real name). If my memory serves me correctly this was created in '04. How ironic is it that Bogle was later gunned down at a petrol station after a party and it became the tribute dance for him?

Elephant Man 'Willie Bounce'

Voicemail & Ding Dong 'Wacky Dip'


The signature dance move of 90's dancehall. Everybody has tried this dance. I think this was created in either '91 or '92. It is the first dance I ever learned. I have a video of a house party from '92 in Jamaica where we were all bussin' it 'cos it was the freshest dance that year. That year shaped my life in terms of dancing. It has always been in me to keep up with the dances.

When Rihanna's 'Rude Boy' plays in the dance, what do you see people do? Either whining or the Bogle dance

How many remembered it in Mariah Carey's 1993 smash-hit 'Dreamlover'? This is the "butter-wouldn't-melt-in-mouth big, big diva" Mariah Carey time Mariah. Not the "how little can I wear 'cos I'm desperate to sell records" Mariah,

Skip to 3:10 if you don't like the song

Not only were his dances catchy, creative and easy enough to replicate (to an alright standard unless you're Bogle in disguise a.k.a ME!), as with most Jamaicans in the public eye, Bogle had an abundance of charisma, flair and individuality. He exuded exuberance unrivaled by his peers (thought I'd throw in a smart sentence). To sum it up in one word I'll use a cliché, misused one in the proper sense: swagger. Something that was evident through his dancing.

In my personal opinion Bogle can claim all the dances purely for influencing all the other dancers John Hype, Ice, Overmarz, Ding Dong, Sadiki, Mundo, Black Bling... People from as far as Japan go to Jamaica to book dance crews due to the lane Father Bogle created for them. Artists like Buju Banton, Beenie Man and Elephant Man got hits off the back of his dances. Voicemail launched their career from his dances. Would Soulja Boy and them have done the same without Jamaicans before them?

To think he got killed as the jiggy period was kicking hard and the dancing aspect rejuvenated.

Chris Brown, Omarion, Usher and them can dance, yes, but how many dances have you seen them create? Then ask yourself how many of those have been replicated worldwide? Many of us have (unknowingly) tried to dance like Father Bogle. Bogle didn't have the money for promotion put into him so to go from grassroots street dances in Jamaica to choreography in big budget videos by non-Jamaican superstars and stage performances for most reggae-ish performances is an amazing feat. One not many can boast.

Chris Brown does Willie Bounce at Hot 97's On Da Reggae Tip in New York 2007

Even when the subject of dances got slightly silly and lacking creative foundations, it was all about fun, using mundane activities such as swimming, playing instruments and shooting 3-pointers with your head look as creative as possible all while competing against each other to see who's best. It's just fun. Not to be taken too seriously.

Other Mr Bogle dances

World Dance and Tatty were the dances of '94. Once again, I was in Jamaica that year

Beenie Man 'World Dance'

Keiva the Diva doing Jerry Springer

Zip it up as seen on Foxy Brown's 'Tables Will Turn' (check the Bogle cameo)

Row di boat as seen on Sean Paul's '04 summer sizzler 'Like Glue'

Card Unit 'Mr Bogle tribute' routine

CNN document the impact of dancing on popular culture

As the choreographer pointed out, dancehall moves are unconventional. It isn't simply 1-2-3-4, sometimes, especially during the jiggy period it was 1-2-3-rest or 1-rest-3-4 because like the music, it isn't structured like most other genres. It's all about freedom of expression. As music should be.

Can't forget the phrases that crossed over into regular slang: "Fashion ova style," "Style ah style ah style cyaa spoil" "Eeeeeeh? Alie!" "Dem say ah dem but ah we!"

All dem deh, where all dem deh did deh?

Arguably the real King of the Dancehall


Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Buju concert video #FreeBuju

Buju Banton performed this past weekend in Miami. For those of you that may not know he was on trial for conspiracy to deal cocaine. The first trial ended in a mistrial because the jury couldn't reach a verdict innocent or guilty. The retrial is set for February I believe.

While out on bail, babylon in Florida allowed him to perform a concert to help raise funds for his law fees.

Highlights include guest performers showing support Tarrus Riley, Nadine Sutherland, Spragga Benz, Sean Paul, Gramps Morgan (Morgan Heritage)and Wayne Wonder:

Here's footage of the concert. Sadly Beres Hammond couldn't make it due to his performance the night before at Rebel Salute. Heard he turned in a standard great performance

Buju performing to sold-out 10k audience in Miami this past weekend:

Think he was a bit overwhelmed by the occasion to be honest but I can't blame him. A whole year in jail. Possibility of a long time in prison. Still looms over his head really. He poses a question during 'Hills and Valleys' "Why them want to see Buju Banton cry" backing singers: "really I don't know" Buju: "Is it because of 'Boom Bye Bye'?" I say: "Very good question. Quite possibly. Seemed all a bit too coincidental that the arrest and sting by the paid snitch on the aeroplane happened soon after the whole series of canceled shows around USA". I'm not condoning the message in Boom Bye Bye but he wrote it aged 15 reportedly in response to a man that molested a child in his area. He probably wishes he never made it, signed the compassion act and has converted to rasta since then. Is it right for him to have this burden weighing on his shoulders for his whole career? If he doesn't perform it on the night, is it still a problem? Just asking...

Anyway, he is one of the greatest artists to ever have lived and graced the microphone. Jay-Z and them don't have sh*t on Mark Myrie. He has been an A-list artist for nearly 20 years, powerhouse in both dancehall and roots reggae arenas, more classic albums under his belt than most and appeals to everyone (except the obvious for obvious reasons). Flow sits on everything, lyrics on all subjects (love, hardship, spirituality, crime etc.), disctinct barritone vocals... only thing holding him back is the one song he could have been reggae ambassador on an international scale. But who gives a fk about mainstream anyway?

#GodGaveUsReggae in case you didn't know. (Or is #JahGaveUsReggae more appropriate? God gave us reggae has a better ring to it in my opinion).

Untold Stories is an ultimate classic on Bob Marley's 'Redemption Song' levels. You may find it difficult understanding his thick accent and gruff voice but here's the legend Sinead O'Connor (Nothing Compares) covering it

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Mavado interview on MTV WrapUp

Marvin Sparks recently spoke with Mavado about his new direction, musically, how success has changed his life, dealing with negative press, his charity giving back to his community and working with Jay-Z, exclusively for The Wrap Up

Pic courtesy of Neil Raja. SICK Photographer yeah.

Catch a little review of the December show there too.

As you know I caught up with the Gaza general Vybz Kartel in December also. There was a little confusion over who worked with Jay-Z for the Blueprint 3. I spoke with both artists to sort out who it really was. Vybz Kartel spoke about the Gully vs Gaza feud being blown out of proportion.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Marvin Sparks: Dancehall Correspondent

Nice to get a big up every now and again. Sometimes when you're just reeling out work I'm sure we forget to actually see that (some of us) are doing something positive and useful. Well maybe that's just me. But I just see it as me doing me. Like this blog, getting positive comments on here and in person is still surreal because I still don't think people read it. I'm thankful for all of you though.


Anyway, onto what we are here for:

Much Ado About Dancehall

2010 saw big improvements in dancehall’s UK media profile. The misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the music and culture will not be eradicated overnight, but increasingly the people writing about it actually knew what they were talking about. MTV and Marvin Sparks ran a series of in-depth interviews with key players in Jamaican dancehall, which has both generated and satisfied considerable bashment interest in the UK. Sparks ended the year publishing a two-part interview with the dominant but elusive Vybz Kartel, which was never going to be short on controversy!

On popular blog Large Up.

Read the rest of the dancehall (bashment) 2010 round-up from a UK perspective here: Written by @GabrielHeatwave and @DanBean

p.s. apologies if my blog has looked a bit like a Marvin Sparks fansite of late. Just a lot of positive feedback/reaction to stuff I've done recently.

Oh and on that note,

J Cole set to Roc it with P Money is the headline on this story on England's number 1 tabloid's website

Now some may have spotted it first on this interview by Kojo

But the interview J. Cole refers to when he says "I actually shouted him out on a phone interview" was done by, yep, you guessed it. ME! Me me me me muh muh muh muh muh me me, it's all about me! (Griminal voice from She Likes To (3:24) )

From the audio clip I posted back here back in November last year. Thank God I released it back then or someone else would have got my exclusive.

@JColeNC tells @MarvinSparks he wants to work with grime artist P Money by MiNameMarvinSparks

I know the long timers will have seen this before, but for the newbies, I thought I'd take this time out to say the full interview will drop end of the month. I've got a next ting for you as well *fingers crossed*

So yeah, those who know who I am through the whole Vybz Kartel talking about everyone or the Aidonia reply I am not a gossip dude. I just ask questions I hope others (you) wanna know the answer to.

And if you wanna hear a Dancehall CD I made which doubles up as a Best in 2010, click here. Has all the tunes from Clarks, Hold You to Cosa Nostra, to Gangsta City, to Street Swag, to Smokin' riddims, to Straight Jeans and Fitted, Fake Jeans, Rum n Red Bull eeeeeeeeeverything. Check it out.

That song isn't just a random placement, it's my soundtrack

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

MeView: J Cole & Drake concertS

So yeah, wanted to do this yesterday. Didn't get the chance too. I wanted to let the blog breathe (kinda proud of my last post, still). Disclaimer: I did this in one take. Any grammatical errors are as a result of that. I wanted to bring it to you as soon as possible (hopefully that swings your emotion so you 'llow me).

Over the weekend I was one of only a couple thousand people (if that) fortunate enough to see Drake at the Hammersmith Apollo then J Cole's sold out show at the intimate Koko in Camden. London obviously.

Let me do this as I does it. Chapter and verse thing you see it #Poshment.

I had my Drake tickets from last year April when the show was scheduled to be last year July. He canceled 'cos his mum had an operation or something. Think the album came out by that time but I had tix based on So Far Gone.

So year goes by, his album has dropped, it's alright...

Then J. Cole's named as support artist late last year. Me = overjoyed. Missed him at Wireless. Pissed me off.

So yeah, Drake concert, I bopped in during J. Cole's performance. Gutted. Think I missed two songs. Walked in as Higher was ringing off harder than the doorbell of your friend with all the games on Super Nintendo's (if you're pauper like me, you'll understand). I stood and rapped along to everything, but more on that later.

Up next was the man they call Drizzy, Drake or as he kept repeating "My name is Aubrey Drake Graham".

We live in the internet age where videos of concerts are available on YouTube. Here are the (keyword) HIGHLIGHTS of Drake's show:

The footage above is from Friday, I went on Saturday. Now let me tell you what you didn't see. Numerous generic speeches: "Aubrey Drake Graham" mentioned about three times, "I'm gonna bare all on stage tonight" (pause: he didn't mean it like that you dirty minded sod) "My ups, my downs. The good times and the bad times..." (or something along them lines), "Not only have I been waiting all year for this concert, not only have I waited all month..." (at this point I've guessed where this is going. Where's Kanye to "Imma let you finish" but not let him finish when you need him?) "I've waited my whole damn life to be with you here today in London!" *rolls eyes*. Then he addressed the females about some Drake 3 stroke and some next stuff to get them going wild. Good on him, it worked.

Another thing you got a slight glimpse of is he can't sing. Well he doesn't sing. I had that feeling from Best I Ever Had was at it's peak. He always spoke the chorus. So yeah, he spoke through every chorus which had the recorded vocals playing. He only sung Find Your Love, and yes, the whole thing was as bad as the clip. I guess I should have guessed the nature of the performance when he only used Light Up for intro music.

The fireworks during Over (I think) and Fireworks (obviously) were a very nice addition though. Florence Welch (Florence and The Machine) replacing Alicia Keys with her powerhouse vocals was good too. @MotiveUK and I were like "Who is sheee?"

Oh and another thing you missed was... actually lemme put this into perspective. Drake was on stage for about an hour and 15 minutes possibly. Didn't perform the verse on either Timbaland's 'Say Something' or the 'Paris Morton Music' lost verse on 'Aston Martin Music'. So why did he spend about 15 minutes doing the Jay-Z "Yeah I see you with the Yankee fitted" to everyone in the crowd.

The violinist on the intro of Aston Martin Music repped so did the band. Biggest tune on the night was same as the video above, 'What's My Name'. In fact, all the songs for females got a great reaction, and my golly were there some elite looking females there. One even threw red underwear up whilst Drake performed Best I Ever Had. He sang "You the best" in certain girls faces which gave them a little good feeling.

I just thought Drake was a bit phony/corny/generic/cliché. I get the feeling he isn't all the way comfortable. Even his swearing seemed contrived like "I'm doing a rap concert, let me throw in a cuss word riiiiiight... now - 'Muthaf**kin...!' Argh man, they'll love that." If you're female you'll love it.

Drake's set list from what I made note of:

Up All Night
Show Me A Good Time
Money To Blow
Right Above It
Every Girl
What's My Name into chrous of BoB's 'Nothing On You'
Aston Martin Music (no verse)
Say Something (no verse)
Miss Me (jumped down to the floor to touch fans)
*the corny bit where he points out everyone*
Best I Ever Had
Find Your Love

J Cole

Big up Reggie and Redz for the hook-up to this.

Arrived at J. Cole's show in time to catch Maxsta and DJ Semtex. Semtex held down the decks with some heavyweight hip hop bangers, current and yesteryear. KanYe West's concert is gonna be a riot judging by the reaction to tracks like All Of The Lights and my fave So Appalled. Maxsta was alright. Double-time will never work when people aren't familiar with previous material. NEVER! Couldn't understand anything. Oh yeah, lol @ the crowd singing along to JME and Wiley's bars on Pow! 2011 but boo'ing through ChipMunk's. That was harsh but lolworthy

J. Cole's support slot impressed me a lot at the Drake concert. Many are saying more so than the headline act. Cole short-but-sweet set was about 7/8 songs which left me wanting more.

But the full concert? The FULL CONCERT!?! Watch this footage:

Now let me fill you in on what you didn't see. Well this is a bit tricky. That was vibe throughout the show. That's what you missed; actually experiencing it. It was straight intense J. Cole stans who didn'all jump on his hype from Friday Night Lights. Overall performance was better than Drake's. Crowd interaction was a lot better, his DJ scratching and repeating "Hit it" from It Takes Two on both decks and at one point a female assistant covering his eyes was a lot. Counting down from 4 to 1 when the song goes from 1 to 4 was impressive. Cole's set list was jammed full of big tracks, hands in the air throughout, the lot. All for a rapper with 3 free mixtapes.

Another funny thing that happened during J. Cole's speech about touring with Drake. He told us it's all good and well performing in front of 5,000 fans each night whilst supporting Drake but he knows people paid their money to see Drake. At this point a whole crowd of people shouted "No!" in unison whilst pointing at him to which he replied "Nah, don't do that."

This was a hip hop concert

J. Cole set list

Grown Simba
Last Call
Dead Presidents
Dollar and a Dream
Before I'm Gone
Won't Be Long
Lights Please
Enchanted with Omen
You Got It
Beautiul Bliss (by Wale featuring J. Cole)
All I Want Is You
In The Morning
Blow Up
Who Dat?
I Get Up
Premeditated Murder

I used to be one of the guys telling people you shouldn't compare the two. Cole was much more lyrical and conscious (don't kill me again Akala) than Drake. However, since Friday Night Lights dropped I've changed my mind. Now Cole has proved he can do songs for females like 'In The Morning' with Drake (didn't on The Warm Up) he is an upgrade version of Drake to me. Not even a hater or nothing but I wouldn't be surprised if Drake gets Ja Rule'd by 2012. He's one-dimensional (mainstream dream). And did I mention J. Cole sings better than him? Cole doesn't even trade off his singing. No lie, I was disappointed in Drake. But in the same breath (yeah I put a full stop there so technically/grammatically it isn't) J Cole's songs worked better with a full crowd than I thought.


Here's a review from a female perspective

Pointing it out that it's by a female isn't being sexist, but to me, he's an r&b singer masquerading as a rapper. His performance was for the ladies and dudes that listen to slow jams whilst selecting their outfit, colour co-ordinating their accessories (red hat with red kicks, red belt), dance in clubs and smile in pictures. That is possibly why she enjoyed it. That isn't to say it's my way or the highway but it's the highway or my way.


Here is another review by a female but as she points out:

Interestingly, his crowd felt like a pretty even split of males and females (perhaps leaning a little more to the female side), however, Drizzy hardly accounted for both audiences. As I’m not a big fan of the Lothario act usually assumed by performers with perceived sex appeal, I cringed my way through the rapper humping the floor and calling it his “Drizzy Three Stroke”, and his declaration that he needs a London girl to “fuck” in his last night, however, most of the other girls in the crowd lapped it up.

If you wanna know what I thought in a well-written way read here:

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Aidonia responds to my Kartel interview

First things first, if you haven't read the two previous parts of the Kartel interview (one of the only interviews he has ever done outside of Jamaican press), check He talks success of Clarks, Major Lazer 'Pon Di Floor' collaboration, getting his work ethic from his father and writing for Bounty Killer.

Part few (2) is about reinvention, I asked if he borrowed Mavado's style, about making x-rated songs when he has to make clean ones, he gives an exclusive about both his new album and the plans he has to work with Mavado

On Thursday I made this post about a podcast by comical take on the interview. Now this

Anyone that has followed my blog or knows me personally will know I say Aidonia is one of the baddest deejay's in Jamaica. To quote this post "What I will say is Aidonia is currently top 3 dancehall artists right now. Let's see how long it takes these punk DJs over here in the UK to realise." That's last year.

So onto this Aidonia beef with Vybz Kartel

If you don't know either artist, Kartel is like the Jay-Z of dancehall (but with more credibility on the streets and amongst girls) with Aidonia the street artist the thugs like. Does a few songs for girls here and there but he is a quintessential rudeboy deejay. Many people believe he is the only one that could really take on Kartel lyrically, he has thrown numerous songs at Kartel, so I asked Kartel's opinion on the tunes. Kartel said what he said. If you haven't heard my Kartel interview. He addresses Aidonia in the first bit

Now Aidonia has responded.

What have I done? Asked what we all wondered.

The "Addi ah mi daddy" line is from this gun finger specialist tune. If gun finger doesn't rise on "Me nah fi wear black fi bad mi inna all white", you have no soul. "Black fi bad" is a jab at the Alliance, Bounty Killer is always in all black, so was Mavado back then, Busy Signal etc.

This is a diss to Kartel from late last year

This is also a Kartel diss from December 2010

"We smoke the most and sing 'bout hot grabba
Long time in a the ghetto step inna mi bank robber"

Hot grabba line refers to this song by Kartel. Bank Robber are a style of Clarks, obviously in reference to Clarks.

"Genius ah di boss,
No bwoy can't violate rounda Stephen place"

Is basically what this whole situation starts from.

Remember (back in '09) the first Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor riddim without Vybz Kartel? Aidonia first stated "Tell dem me bad anywhere but uptown ah my own"

Then Kartel took a jab at Aidonia "Addi (abbreviation of Adidjah which is Kartel's forename) ah (is) the real lord evil" @ 1:58 on this '09 diss track aimed at Mavado and Stephen McGregor

I all forgot about this tune Aidonia did for Kartel. 2nd verse is incredible.

"No bwoy cant see 'Donia and box (punch) him
Can't get kick up like Ninja Man pon Sting
Buss it inna ya head you fold up like napkin
The pu**y there no badder than me, not him
Me can defend anything weh (that) I talk in a song
No need friend fi (to) make shot claart in a man...
Stephen give me way make me war him nuh man
One shot inna him face so it nah go be long"

And don't try none of that encouraging or condoning gun crime. They're war bars. That's how people clash. Get over yourself. When a country wars with another country is the same thing but this is on wax. So long as no one gets hurt, there isn't any harm in competing.

As I've said before don't shoot the messenger. I just asked what we all wondered. Lads, don't let this turn into anything stupid. I beg you. Thanks

p.s. This would have been my ring entrance music if I was a boxer

If you are interested in my other interviews, check here. Dancehall ones are here

I just wanna hear another Deadly Alliance to be honest

And if you wanna hear a CD I made which doubles up as a Best in 2010, click here. Has all the tunes from Clarks, Hold You to Cosa Nostra, to Gangsta City, to Street Swag, to Smokin' riddims, to Straight Jeans and Fitted, Fake Jeans, Rum n Red Bull eeeeeeeeeverything. Check it out.

Friday, 7 January 2011

Friggin Friday Fam

Tune of the Day: Mavado 'All Dem A Talk'

Had a big conversation about what makes dancehall great. Came to the ultimate conclusion that is speaks for and to me. This is a great example. I listen to this and get gassed. He's talking for me.

This songs about people watching and talking about/threatening me, but it doesn't mean anything 'cos I'm the baddest. It isn't even something I directly relate to but I feel like it. Dancehall EFX riddim is coming to done the world yeah. Mavado hasn't done a song like this in a while. Probably his best song in this vein since 'I'm So Special' (hate that song now. Overly rinsed). Mandem will get it straight away. Girls probably won't get it 'til it drops in a club and the mandem go mad. Casual fans will say "He's just repeating the same thing" until they hear it in a club. Metro's/hipsters or whatever them emotional hip hop/electro people are may never get it.

Pic of the Day: Some any Harold getting a whine from a Chantel

Jacked from MediaTakeOut (by way of a friend. Badman nuh check MediaTakeOut). He's gettin' it in. I wanna be the black version of him when I grow up

Jamie Woon 'Night Air'

Heard it before but didn't really feel it. Guess it's one of those where there is a lot of hype but it didn't match up to my expectation. I probably stopped a big dancehall tune for it. But yeah man, this tune is a different vibes. I'm rocking right now. His voice is sick, and the beat is some next ting. Some haunting combination. Yeah man. And this has nothing to do with seeing him in the final 5 of BBC Sound of 2011. I stand alone. Not plugged into the matrix at all.

The good people over at Pinboard made a movie. I think this is the first version I heard of it. Didn't think it sounded all that. The real ting does.

Wretch 3-2 feat. L 'Traktor' A64

Not criticising but I'd feel like a prick if I sung in an American accent then went back to London slang afterwards. Like "Why am I singing this way when I don't talk like this". It just occured to me whilst watching this acoustic vid. Don't call me crazy but I can hear the English accent shouting "Oi, you pri*k! Why have I always got to be on the subs bench when you're singing, ol' chap? You giving me the old heave ho? Telling me cheerio?" Ok I'm running the stereotypical UK jokes from the US perspective dry now.

Watch it and tell me I'm wrong.

Donatella gets interviewed

Jacked from her site. Know what, I wish I had it where all you needed to say is my first name and people knew me instantly. That's when you know you've made it. Unfortunately for me, well unless my name is mentioned in certain circles, that won't be me.

But yeah, presenter Donatella gets interviewed. She looks mad exotic innit? Brown and ting with the nice hair and ting. If you read this Donatella, "Sup?"

This Amy K is a good presenter. Sure I've seen her face somewhere before. Problem with these days are it may not necessarily mean from road. Internet = it could be on youtube, tagged in a facebook event, twitter, MySpace...

Check Donatella's website out

Cleo Sol 'Grenade' cover

Paramore 'Only Exception'

B52's 'Love Shack'

Who remembers skanking to this on cable? The Box used to play this a lot. Banging song. Produced and writter by the legend Nile Rodgers. Saw him in concert last year. If you don't know who he is, wiki him then go on YouTube. Loads of his have been sampled, Chic 'Chic Cheer' ('Love Like This' Faith Evans/Fatman Scoop's rubbish song), Diana Ross 'Upside Down' ('Cold Rock A Party' by MC Lyte), David Bowie 'Let's Dance' (Puff Daddy featuring Notorious BIG 'Been Around The World')... Know what I'm gonna do a flashback review. That concert was sick!

Anyway, here's 'Love Shack'

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Thought of Thursday

I really need to work on the titles for this. I will get there. Anyway, a few things that took my fancy to blog today.

Gyptian acoustic session

This is the bollocks! (means really good). Gyptian's got that sincerity in his voice with the raw vocals. Feeling it. He sings Hold You, Beautiful Lady and Nah Let Go. Nah Let Go sounds better like this and I like the song.

Check my interview with Gyptian for MTV Wrap Up

Whip My Hair songwriter disses Soulja Boy

This is bollocks. Jacked from SBTV. If you don't know the background, Soulja Boy tweeted that he wrote the Willow Smith banger because he's on the credits. He is getting royalties because of the "Hop up out the bed turn my swag on" line and that is it. So the writer dissed Soulja Boy.

Absolutely pathetic.

WTF of the Day: Lil Wayne doesn't like dark skinned girls (allegedly)

From Necole Bitchie via @Tahirah.

This is disgraceful. So according to the email Lil Wayne (allegedly) got these girls up in the hotel room to socialise (possibly) - one light-skinned, one dark-skinned - drops a sly diss at the dark one, to which the dark one shoots back "But you daughter is dark-skinned". Lil Wayne appears upset at the comment (allegedly) replies "“my daughter is a dark skin millionaire thats the difference between her and u”. Now it doesn't stop there. He (allegedly) went on to say “MY daughter is the first and last dark skin child im having, the rest of my baby moms light skin chicks i even got an asian baby moms to make sure i have a daughter with good hair, too bad we had a son”.

When I check it, it could be true. Lauren London, Nivea and the Oriental looking (not 100% what she is. Could have mixes. Don't want keyboard warriors telling me she's half Cherokee or some sh*t mum are all quite light themselves. Either way, am I surprised (if) he said it? Nope. I sometimes question what was more harmful to the black power movement in USA, gangs and drugs or rap and (black) comedy. #KanyeShrug

Flashback Tune of the Day: Bearman 'Drink Beer'

Remember this Channel U classic? Bear Man killed this. What the hell happened to him? Got a 9-5? Good luck to him. Got a classic. Someone needs to do a Channel U set. Nuff classic Channel U tunes in a club set

Podcast reaction to Marvin Sparks x Vybz Kartel

Another day, another Kartel post. I know "The sh*t is f**kin' ridicalus" (RZA voice) So if you've been following me on Twitter or read back previous posts you will know that I have been gassed since the day I interviewed Kartel early in December. I labeled it #LicenseToGas on Twitter because I knew I'd get gassed off the response. By the way, gassed doesn't mean I think I'm above it. I'm just overjoyed at the response by other fans. As I've said before, I'm a fan, so to get so much love from fans is great. No one else has done one like this and I feared it would get lost amongst all the Kartel vs Beenie talk + Kartel vs Laing, hence the delay in promotion.

No other journalist in UK has ever managed to interview him. Just in case you never knew. Kartel doesn't do interviews with international press more time. Just throwing it out there for those that aren't familiar with dancehall. It's like tracking down Jay-Z in the dancehall world. No hype

This is jokes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Listen from 2:00

(from 13:58 onwards) "You know when Popcaan say him no eat june plum? A lie him a tell because Teacha [Kartel] eat June Plum. Teacha stopped the interview to buy june plum. You lot stop di fuckry. Food is food. And fruit is fruit. And pu**y is pu**sy. And if June have bloodklaat plum under her crutches no man eat that plum but if you want to eat the plum from the tree it's all good" - that's a translation. I almost died with laughter. (June plum = June is a female name and a plum is fruit that you eat. Eat is another term for... you know the rest).

Someone put the audio pon YouChube (I need to figure out how to do the picture thing, what's the best program to do that?) and it has passed 4k views in under 2 days. This ones on 1.5k. Alright still

Sidenote: My name is in the tags for this video on a random lol. That's smart. They'll get views for their vid from my interview. No harm in that (gonna copy that). Mavado's tune on the riddim "The gal them want star bwoy but me nah star in a blue movie" applies to me so mek dem gwaan. He's playing the riddim way too fast though.

Check the other 2 parts on (part 1 & part 2).

Also check my interview round-up of the year 2010 here. Check the Romain Virgo on Soul Train Award nominated best site Soul Culture here. All other interviews here

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Thoughts of Wednesday

Vybz Kartel 'Dancehall Hero'

This song has been in my head for obvious reasons. This tune mad. If you don't get why he bleaches, you need to understand who Kartel is. Listen to what he is saying in this tune. Kartel wants people to discuss him. That's all it is. And this song is gonna done in England in 2011

Aidonia 'Nuh Par Wid' (Kartel diss)

This is another song that has been in my head for obvious reasons. 'Donia and Kartel need to clash. As a fan, I think the two of them would go all the way on each other. Two of the best badman lyricists in the business. 'Donia fulla lyrics from morning. The riddim mad too. Listen to how he rides it. The control dancehall artists have on a riddim is far superior to rappers. They know how to ride a riddim. Not even spitting double-time or half-time, it's spot on.

Listen to Aidonia and Kartel work together? Lyrics upon lyrics

Throwback Tune of the Day: Mike Jones featuring Slim Thugg and Paul Wall 'Still Tippin'

Remember the times when people were gassed on grills and screwed hip hop? Yeah, not me though. But this tune is a banger on a next level. Lifted off Mike Jones platinum-certified album 'Who Is Mike Jones?' on Swishahouse. Remember he used to give out his number? lol. They weren't the best of spitters but they dropped their rhymes well. Nuff quotables too.

Slim Thug: "I got it made the big boss of the north/ Ain't sh*t changed I still represent Swishahouse haangh" (or a sound like that)

Mike Jones "I'm Mike Jones (who?) Mike Jones/ The one and only you can't clone me/ Gotta lot a friends and lotta homies/ Some are fake and some are phoney" (basic as no frills beans from Lidl's but catchy flow)

Paul Wall: "Whut it do it's Paul Wall I'm the people's champ... I got the inunet [internet] goin' nuts" SICK!

Mike Jones - Still Tippin' (Uncut)
Uploaded by PeteRock. - Music videos, artist interviews, concerts and more.

Mr Vegas brings out Michael Jackson

This Michael Jackson impersonator is sick!

Jah Vinci shell dung as well. Whataway Grenada tun up

If you don't rate every tune in this video yet play "bashment" in the UK, you are waste

Maxsta's Average Kid is average, kid

I'm sure Tinchy Stryder signed Maxsta. But anyway I'm all for grime acts going pop to eat a food (as they say in Jamaica), but bruv, seen

This tweet is a great

RT @Elij_h Overloaded on average kids thinking they are supa dupa i used to dig their underground stuff like a tractor. O well

Geddit? Supposedly I was the second response in 24 hours hence Elijah's tweet:

"@MarvinSparks your the 2nd response. As I said, my sense of humour is wasted in grime"

Average Kid refers to Maxsta's tune above. Supa Dupa = Griminal's tune. Traktor = Wretch 32's tune. Think that's all of them

Marvin Sparks: "I gut thuh innanet gowin nutz"

Well, it's a Paul Wall bar really (remember him? I actually interviewed him in about '08 for an album that never dropped lol).

But this has nothing to do with him. Remember this post where I spoke to Kartel for a straight fan to artist conversation discussing other artists he has problems with? Well, it exploded yesterday. As I had a feeling it would. Hold tight @missjaylouise, told her about the amount I juice I got on the day. She knows. Also 'ang tight my social-net-less bredrins too (Yeah, can you believe they exist in 2011? Who'd have thought it? I remember talking about us flying cars by 2010 from back in 1997. Didn't quite happen, but yeah, people not on social-networks is weird).

First off I'm gonna address the Kartel bleaching argument.

Listen to Dancehall Hero (This tune is sick!)

If you don't get why he bleaches, you don't understand who Kartel is. Listen to what he is saying in this tune. Kartel just wants people to discuss him. That's all it is. No deeper psychological analysis required. He doesn't care what people think so long as they talk about him he's winning. Listen to the interview below; he says "I make money off controversy". Look at him over the past few years, Gully-Gaza, talking about getting blow jobs, leaking pics of getting a bj, kicking members out of Portmore Empire, reported beatings upon their departure, getting tattoo's, talking about freemasonary, the suspect pics of his tongue pierced, even down to putting on braces... All these things were taboo before Kartel. So long as people talk he wins. He has seen the debate about Michael Jackson's skin lightening and Kartel thinks he can replicate that. Throw a product in their to sell and blam! That's all it is. Selling daggering condoms on the back of all his songs with sexually explicit content (mainly Ramping Shop), plus the pics of him and Spice, and the other with Gaza Kym (maybe?) is another one. Whether it is a controversial moment too far, that's down for the people to decide, but not loving himself and all that is nothing to Kartel. It's all about the money.

Why people weren't listening when Mavado said "Well bleach out and full of tattoo like drag" I'll never know. Actually, you were probably too busy shouting Gaza whilst dismissing Mavado at the time. Why this wasn't brought up circa Straight Jeans and Fitted time, I don't know. I noticed it. And the backlash from artists and media in Jamaica has been a lot so don't even bring no "Yardie" argument round ya. Oh!

But anyway, moving on, see me, yeah, people assume I'm industry or call me a journalist or a blogger... I do all of those things but really I'm just a fan that expresses myself/shares my interest in those ways (realised this after a convo with @MichelleShanti and used it for my SoulCulture bio). When doing interviews, I'm a fan asking artists things I wanna know, and more time, other fans appreciate them and for that I am thankful.

I see people that come into the industry to be *Suge Knight voice* "All up in the videos", at every industry party, doing the "networking" (which is usually beggin' friend in disguise for ulterior motives like invites to parties and free concerts). Me, I don't bother with that. I do what I like, how I like as a fan for fans.

Wondering my point or what sparked this? During my Google search on what's poppin' for my name I came across this site that quoted my Kartel interview. They wrote:

"This is a pretty cool interview, Kartel talks about all the things that we wonder about, all the things we want insight on, like his feelings towards some of the most prominent artists in the industry like Busy Signal, Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor, and Bounty Killer, his business ventures, why CONTROVERSY is his middle name and why he believes he earned the self proclaimed title of "DANCEHALL HERO".


I don't like how Kartel ah diss up mi man AIDONIA!! Not one bit!

But all in all, it was a good interview so BIG UP to MARVIN SPARKS.. he asked all the right questions!!"


If you type "marvin sparks vybz kartel" into Google (yes, I did it. I wanted to see where it went) you'll see about page 7/8 pages of results. This isn't even showing off, I'm sharing my excitement/surprise/proud moment. I'm accepted by my dancehalll peers :oD

As I tweeted a week ago

(copied from Kartel's twitter) @iamthekartel: "#AWOAH RT @MarvinSparks @iamthekartel bless up king. People talking about your interview already. Wait til the rest drops. Oh!" [source]

If you haven't heard it:

@MarvinSparks: Vybz Kartel on wars and business ventures by MiNameMarvinSparks

Part 1 and Part few and my breakdown of my year 'til then

Hold tight everyone that has downloaded it from soundcloud for their youtube channels and blogged it. I know it's Kartel they're doing it for, but I asked the right questions so I'm claiming my part dognyammit (Yard version uzeet)! Producer and songwriter split is 50/50 on royalties, so mi nuh muss get my share? I've officially gone where no other UK journalist has been since the digital age. I'm on a mission to bring my music to where it needs to be uzeet?

p.s. this isn't the only time it has happened. Most of dancehall interviews get ripped. So if you want me to help your site tap into the dancehall community holla at mehh Don't get it twisted like I'm a one-trick pony though Asher Roth, Raekwon, Kevin J (UK comedian), Keri Hilson and J. Cole are a few I've sighted on other sites. (Thanks to Google). Thanks for thinking they're good enough for your site. Oh yeah, my reviews do well too. Yeah, I'm plugging away hard round here. VAT went up to 20% yesterday. Check my interviews and MeView's. Lastly, a 2010 dancehall mix CD for your listening pleasure. Think I'm all plugged out now. Thanks. Actually, last thing, I can honestly say I have never used a question anyone asked me to ask because I don't say "I'm interviewing X tomorrow, send me your questions", because I don't wanna jinx it. It's 100% me. So I don't require much notice prior to interviews *angelic smile* (no homo) Oh yeah and don't shoot the messenger.

Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Weeeeeeee baaack

Took a Christmas break but we back...

Fly in the sk- the sk- on the floor?

This is nuts! All I can say is... actually I'll let Mavado answer that

Skepta tatto

Bit over the top, no?

But who cares when he makes bangers like this?

Kelly. Wow. Is that you? *exhales*

Has Kelly Rowland ever looked this sexy? She was always girl next door for me. But this? This? Jeeez

Nabbed from ThatGrapeJuice . Go there for more pictures. I just can't post anymore.

Ok just one more


UPDATE: Gucci Mane checks into a mental institution after entering a plea of mental incompetency for his recent legal issues.

Atlanta, Georgia rapper Gucci Mane made headlines in November for violating parole when he was arrested for several driving infractions, and subsequently charged with damaging government property and obstruction of property. The Brick Squad 1017 leader was fresh out of prison from drug-related convictions.

Gucci Mane trying to pull a fast one so he gets off his charge of is he really not well? Not really a laugh, laugh grin ting but I guess it does kinda make sense. I couldn't understand a word of what he said. Saying that, he (should I put "allegedly" for legal reasons?) killed a man innit (and got off). We saw what happened with G-Dep. Wonder if his conscience is messin' with him.

Here's the full story

Real Badman Never Afraid: OMC 'How Bizzare'

What a vibey tune? From back in about possibly '96. Tune goes hard. Man come like some Costa del Sol bredda