Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Sneakbo ft. Mavado - Warn Them

Once again, Sneakbo on a dancehall riddim. He's making a fair few of these and I love it. Sneakbo has the streets on smash right now. Big him up all day.

All the punks that don't usually blog or care about dancehall are fully on him. Sort of thing that annoys me about the music industry, its just bandwagons. The amount of times I've had convo's about tunes that if it has a familiar face on it "That tune's sick", if it doesn't they don't have no time for it. This is why I say the music game is all smoke and mirrors. And it doesn't help that the so-called "real" dancehall DJs don't play these tunes.

I featured the Gully Bomb in it's original form last year on a mix CD I made. It was just my favourite tunes 'til that point but it sounds more like a best of 2010 that was made in about October. Sick CD if I do say so myself. Catch the download from here

These two tunes on the riddim are big as well

T'Nez & 3 Star - No More Tears ("Me nah gwaan like mi nuh like mi life/ Man ah survivor so we ah fight di fight... No more tears inna mumma eye fi cry")

Bugle - There For You ("Real friend is always there for you/ Them nah stop care fi you")

Dancehall Takeover will not be televised, but you can guarantee it will be right here on Marvin Sparks dot blogspot dot com. RIP the half-Jamaican Gil Scott-Heron

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Daniel Bedingfield Does Dancehall

Shouts to @Newsychick1 and @DanBean for putting me up on these. (sly plug check my interviews with Vybz Kartel, Mavado, Serani, Gyptian, Busy Signal etc here)

Yep, you read correctly - new music from Daniel Bedingfield. And on top of that, they're two dancehall tracks! This is a marked change from what seems to be out of nowhere, but it isn't. The UK singer/songwriter best known for UK Garage anthem "I Gotta Thru This" and pop ballad "If You're Not The One" (a heavily played song in Jamaica to this day if you didn't know) has been working on a reggae album since '09 when he was working with Busy Signal.

He uploaded two remix tracks to his soundcloud. First is a remix of dancer-turned-artist Ovamarz's "Now You See Me, Now You Don't" on the popular Chimney-produced "Star Bwoy" riddim

Daniel Bedingfield Jamaica Run Tings Mix by DanielBedingfld

Ovamarz is probably the most successful dancer in recent years; Nuh Linga and Nuh Behaviour were two big dances for '08 and '09 respectively. Well, Skip To Mu Luu/Nuh Behaviour were very similar. Don't know who created Skip To Mu Luu.

The second sees him team up with leading UK reggae artist Gappy Ranks and Jamaican producer-that-sometimes-pops-up-as-an-artist Russian on "Tun Up"

The original

So, that's Chipmunk with Mavado on "Star Boy" and "Every Gyal", JLo x Lil' Wayne "I'm Into You", Rihanna (obviously), Wiley's vids in Jamaica and recently vocalled a tune with dancehall producer TJ, Drake begs it all the time and said he may make a mixtape with dancehall beats and got sent a zip file of riddims, Nicki begs it too and sampled lyrics from Mavado's "So Special" on recently leaked song "So Special" (she raps "That's why I'm strapped with my 45 special, I'm so special x3"), Jah Cure + Rick Ross & Mavado, Busta on Rum & Red Bull, Nicole Scherzinger with a yard twang on her new single "Right There" and more that I can't be bothered to name *exhales*

Daniel Bedingfield is a badman from long time . If your hand doesn't form a gun finger and reach for the sky to this one, me and you can't par on a level

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Bob Marley Tribute by Marcia Griffiths - Marvin Sparks exclusive

Marcia Griffiths (far right) is a well-known and established reggae legend in her own right commonly referred to as the Queen of Reggae. She began her career as a solo singer, scored a British top 5 with "Young, Gifted and Black" alongside Bob Andy before becoming 1/3 of the I-Threes a.k.a. Bob Marley's backing vocalists, or his three little birds as he preferred to call them. The Wailers were renamed Bob Marley & The Wailers when Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer left and replaced with the I-Threes, recorded what became the transitional album Natty Dread which featured Bob Marley's breakout international hit "No Woman, No Cry" and the rest as they say is history. Well, we are talking Bob Marley where it has become legend.

Marvin Sparks had the pleasure of speaking to Marcia Griffiths to celebrate the 30th anniversary Bob Marley's passing. Marcia recalls her first time meeting Bob Marley at the legendary Studio One, how Bob kept a watchful eye over the females such as her 11 year-old self so they didn't stray and experiencing nerves during their first collaboration. "I started out as a solo artist in 1964. I performed on stage with Byron Lee and the Dragonaires for the very first time on Easter Monday morning 1964 and the very same day I was taken down to Studio One. Of course, you know Studio One is Jamaica’s Motown. All of the great artists, that’s where we all graduated. When I went there I was 11, going to be 12 in November and when I went there that day I met Bob Marley and Peter Tosh. I knew Bunny Wailer from before because we went to Kindergarten school together. All the great entertainers were there; Ken Boothe, The Heptones... That’s how I started out, as a solo singer. I started recording the first day I went there. The first song I recorded was the 'Wall of Love'.

"All three brothers – Bob [Marley], Peter [Tosh] and Bunny [Wailer] – were three militant, revolutionary type of guys. They were serious and as a young girl going into a male dominated industry – I met sister Rita [Marley] there too as well. I was brought up very strict, so even to be going there like I’m working was something that was not allowed by my parents. I was very, very sceptical of certain environments because of how I was raised. Being in a male dominated business, I remember Bob Marley always had his eye on females. You had to make sure you walked in a straight line. If you slip, you know that his eyes are watching you. All three were like that, especially Bunny, but Bob and Bunny were very serious when it comes to – they didn’t want to see any girls being loose or careless, so you were forced to walk on a straight and narrow line, because their eyes were always watching you.

"I thought he was so militant and he was one of the persons that Mr. Dodd allowed me to do combinations with, because at the time, he was seeking so badly for a hit song from me because he was overwhelmed with my talent. He had me doing combinations with people like Tony Gregory, Bob Andy, Owen Boyce, including Bob Marley. Bob Marley wrote this song, a love song for both of us called “Oh My Darling” which we recorded. Even to record a song with him, I was very nervous - it was so good when he broke the ice and started joking around with me. Even in that recording you will hear me say in the beginning 'Cha man!' because he was teasing me and he kept it on the recording. That was a very nice experience when I recorded that song with Bob because I thought he was so talented. Even at that time, they had songs bubbling on the charts, so that was my little experience when I went there – meeting all those great entertainers. I was 11, I was going to be 12 in November."

Almost ten years later, in 1973, Marcia formed the I-Threes. Bob Marley selected them (Marcia along with Judy Mowatt and Bob's wife Rita Marley) to replace founding members of The Wailers, Peter Tosh and Bunny Wailer. "I met Rita from Studio One days, but Judy never started singing as yet.

Continue reading http://www.soulculture.co.uk/features/interviews/marcia-griffiths-bob-marley-and-i-interview/

Jay Sean covers Bob Marley's "Waiting In Vain" - HOT!

If this blogspot is starting to look like a Bob Marley fan site, it's because at the root of it, it is. And don't get it twisted, it doesn't take a day like this to make me appreciate Bob. It's a day I know other people are more inclined to so I can rant it out lol

This right here is the stuff that makes me want to buy his album. I won't but I have a lot more respect for his vocals than I did. This is beautiful. Truly marvellous. Spectular. Delightfully eargasmic music.

Don't think "Jay Sean? Eh" listen and zone out to this acoustic cover of one of my favourite Bob songs.

Bob Marley Hits pon Hits

As you should already know, today marks the 30th anniversary of the legends passing on to a better place. Another thing we all know is his music lives on. I've decided to do a post of hits built on riddims Bob Marley had hits on just to kinda throw out a post I thought would be interesting and a different way of putting up some of my favourite Bob tunes. Selecting them from scratch is hard enoguh. Forgive me if I miss some, I'm drawing for the first 10 that come to mind.

Bob Marley "One Drop" - up there with Lord Kitchener's Sugar Bum Bum as one of the songs I had to hear as a youth going to Jamaican family functions. One of my all-time favourite songs ever.

Laid the foundations for one of Sizzla's earliest hits 'White God (most die-hard fans know him for Black Woman and Child or this). Listen to the lyrics before throwing racism around please.

Also featured on the 1995 recreation is the uplifting 'Never Give Up My Pride' by Luciano

Bob Marley "Stir It Up" - still sounds refreshing to this day. Beautifully crafted.When the bass kicks in after the electric guitars - jeez!

Utilised by Junior Kelly on the infectious 'Love So Nice'. This song was one of the biggest reggae songs of that year. Still is to this day. If I tweet "If love so nice, tell me why it hurts so bad..." someone will reply "BADUNG".

Bob Marley "Mellow Mood" - nice chilled song by Bob.

provided the backing track for one of the first songs I knew by Morgan Heritage "Bring Back Love". There's another song on the tip of my tongue, higher tempo, begins with horns, but I can't remember it. Anyway, "Bring Back Love"

Bob Marley "Waiting In Vain" - written in lust about then Miss World from Jamaica, Cindy Breakspere, who later became mother of Bob's son, Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley. Absolutely adore this track.

I-Wayne anti-abortion anthem "Don't Worry" lifted from his classic debut album Lava Ground in 2005

Bob Marley "Coming In From The Cold" - rocksteady lovers from Bob Marley.

Tarrus Riley's "Love Contagious" from album of the same name, released in 2009.

Thought I'd throw this acoustic version in as a bonus. Love what he says at the beginning

Bob Marley "Jah Live" - showcasing his spiritual side. I can imagine this being written after a conversation or overhearing ignorance.

Duane Stephenson's thanks the Lord for forgiving his wrong doings on 'August Town'. Still my favourite Duane Stephenson song. Absolutely under appreciated.

Bob Marley "Burnin' and Lootin'" - relaying a story of curfew in Jamaica and rebelling.

Recognise the beginning? Well, it was sampled on 50 Cent's "Window Shopper"

Once again, bonus material

Bob Marley "Johnny Was" - great track for consoling someone that has lost a family member through violence. Even if you haven't, it is still a song you can listen to and empathise with someone that has because it is that well-written.

First single from Notorious BIG's Duets: Final Chapter album released in 2005. I hate this song, it's really bad. I like both of the originals (Biggie's "Suicidal Thoughts") but this bored me. I'm sure someone, somewhere reading this likes it, so here you go.

Bob Marley "Soul Rebel" - inspirational tune.

UK reggae singer (who will be appearing on Jools Holland this week) Gappy Ranks cut his breakout hit "Heaven In Her Eyes".

The legend U-Roy did toasting on it. If you don't know who U-Roy is, he is the man that popularised what has become rapping because as you should know that started in Jamaica.

Bob Marley "I Shot The Sheriff" - you should all know this one. Great song

This one here is Vybz Kartel's favourite song. He thinks it's Eric Clapton's though. Like many others, but this is Bob Marley's song, covered by Eric Clapton.

Couldn't do a Bob post without posting something from at least one son

Bob Marley "Exodus" - another one you should all know "Freedom of Jah people". Title track from the album he made after the attempted assassination in Jamaica.

Damian Marley "Move!" from 2005's "Welcome To Jamrock". Damian is the 2011 edition of Bob Marley.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

My Top Ten Bob Marley

30 years ago, 11th May 1981, ultimate legend Bob Marley lost his battle against cancer in a hospital in Miami, Florida, but as we all know, his legacy well and truly lives on.

In my opinion he is the greatest artist ever. Third world superstar that not only brought through refreshing music that broke the concepts of how music was made and structure, through his music we understand a whole culture and different perspective on life not only from Jamaica, but on behalf of the oppressed. Bob gave a voice to the voiceless, hope to the hopeless with an uncompromising attitude that had it's detractors at the time, but I'm sure most will have converted by now. An advocate of the marijuana rappers talk about like it's nothing now, but back then, it was a big deal.

His physical appearance was unlike anything seen before. Dreadlocks weren't the done thing in Jamaica let alone musicians in the Western world. Rastafarian beliefs were shunned by colonial Jamaica. It's crazy how us born post-Bob in the life form look back and think Bob was this loved guy. He was hated by those in higher society. To loosely quote the self-proclaimed dancehall hero, Vybz Kartel, Bob went from being known as "the dutty head rasta bwoy to the face of Jamaican tourism". I guess, at the end of the day, Bob encompassed the Jamaican spirit as a whole. When I say Jamaica, I mean the people, not the babylonians he fought against. Rebellious, forthright, outspoken and often misunderstood because of the aforementioned.

So yeah, Bob brought through the little island of Jamaica's culture to the musical forefront in a major way. Can't forget Island records founder Chris Blackwell's vision. Legend of legends.

Only Michael Jackson and Elvis can possibly have a whisper in his ear on a level about who's the best at music, but to me Bob is easily the best. His songs were more social, for the people, less money pumped into him with glossy videos, didn't jump on a next man's sound to get where he did. Yes, Chris Blackwell involved rock influences, but it was reggae. Bob brought through a face, culture and religion the world didn't know. That usually scares people. Sign of the great man. A great artist. And let's not forget that voice. Didn't have to be all technical and hit all these different octaves, for passion, emotive lyrics and empowerment, no one comes close. No Bob Dylan, John Lennon, Neil Young none of them.

First ten songs that spring to mind are:

Is This Love? - I love this song so much. It is definitely love, Bob, trust me. This will probably be the most obvious song the collection but I had to include it. This and "Waiting In Vain" are my fave lovers songs by Bob.

Crazy Baldheads - I think I'll always associate this song with Lennox Lewis, because it was always his ring entrance song. Too many quotables in this. "Brainwash education to make us to fools. Hatred you reward for our love. Telling us of your God above... We're gonna chase those crazy bald heads out of town." Already we see the diversity; from light-hearted catchy love song ("Is This Love?" above) to rebellious, fight the power "Crazy Baldhead".

"Buffalo Soldier" has a serious groove, enlightening about the slave trade ("Stolen from Africa/ Brought to America/ Fighting on arrival/ Fighting for survival) at a time when musicians on the global scale weren't like that at all. As far as I know, none of those Motown artists made any song like this.

"The Heathen" taken from the seminal Exodus album created here in the UK - another solid groove and what a first verse. "Rise up fallen fighters/ Rise and take your stance again/ For he who fights and run away/ Lives to fight another day/ Put the heathen back, yeah, pon the wall". Another great example of the Rasta rebellion.

"Who The Cap Fit" - the lyrics read like a manual script on how to avoid betrayal in friendship. I can imagine he wrote this after an incident, but instead of wishing bad on others, he chose to help us dismiss them.

"War" - Bob channels the energy of His Imperial Majesty King Haile Selassie through words from one of his famous speeches. Once again, another full of quotables that are still relevant today. "Until the philosophy which holds one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned, well, everywhere is war. Until there is no longer first class nor second class citizens of any nation. Until the colour of a mans skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes, I've got to say war..."

I've just realised they always play John Lennon's "Imagine", but never this. Things that make you go hmm...

"Zimbabwe" - powerful song. "Every man has a right to decide his own destiny". So powerful, they had Bob Marley fly out to Zimbabwe to celebrate their independence. As you can probably tell, I love the rebellious stuff against oppressors. When you check how limited technology was back then, Bob Marley was very educated and in touch with what was going on. Wasn't like he Google'd or had 24 hour news coverage like we do. He didn't live there but managed to create songs they could relate to. Amazing

"So Much Trouble In The World" - voice of the voiceless. Still relevant today. Will always be relevant.

"Them Belly Full (But We Angry)" - freedom fighter anthem against social class. This type of music inspired the whole punk rock movement. And this is all before the hip hop movement.

"Simmer Down" - top draw ska riddim. Definitely one for the shufflers. If your granddad is anything like man, he owned the dance floor. Mum and I dance to these songs all the time. Well, mum shows me how to dance to it and I follow her lead, spin her about lol.

"Trenchtown Rock" - "One thing about music when it hits you, you feel no pain". Enough said (and yes, Drake copied it from him - obviously).

"Natural Mystic" - one of the best opening tracks on an album (Exodus) ever! The way it creeps up. Didn't know what he was talking about for a while but I think he's alluding to the change in social conditions. I believe this was recorded after he was shot, so would have been just as the political warfare in Jamaica was nearing its peak. Comparatively, over here in the UK, there was a big change while Thatcher was in power, which meant Reagan was in at the same time.

And bonus material, footage from his funeral. Really touching. I've been to the site in Nine Miles. Long to get to but well worth it. It's the family land where he was born and raised before moving to Kingston.

Yeah so I did 12 songs. You try picking 10 then.

Rest in Power Bob Marley

Oh, one more, "Time Will Tell" - "Jah will never give the power to a baldhead. Want come crucify the dread. Time alone, oh time will tell. You think you're in heaven but you're living in hell". Lyrics

And I'll leave you on my favourite Bob Marley EVER!

"Redemption Song" - one of the last songs he recorded.

"Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery none but ourselves can free our mind" is arguably my favourite lyric ever.


Cleo Sol - Call For Me

You may not know the name, you may not know the voice, but I guaran-damn-tee you'll love this song. Cleo Sol has been around for a while, featuring on Tinie Tempah's pivotal song 'Tears' (lead to him signing a deal I think), Davinche's extremely popular 'Riding For Love' which also featured Bashy. Basically, if you have a reasonable amount of interest in UK music, you will have heard of her.

I'm going on record to say this is the best r&b single by a female from the UK since Keisha White's 'Weakness In Me'. I guess that wasn't even an r&b record - it was a ballad.

Anyway, take a listen and tell me I'm lying. Thanks

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Jennifer Lopez Does Dancehall [video]

Yes, you read correctly. Jennifer Lopez featuring Lil Wayne is straight reggae/dancehall. I wanna see some dancehall moves to this when JLo performs this.

I don't even care, I'm feeling this song. Produced by professional dancehall rippers Stargate. I don't even mind them biting because to be fair they do it well. If they start hooking up features with our artists we'll be even - can't keep taking from the earth and not replacing. Written by UK's very own Taio Cruz (genuine surprise). Listen to his demo below

Seems to me as if reggae is fully back in the minds of the suits in the top of the music industry building similarly to '03-'04. Well, they were biting from before that but they finally accepted our dancehall music to the public's ears in full vibe at them years. I like this movement. I tweeted about this happening last year

On a similar note, this song "Hypnotico" by JLo

Was originally Tami Chynn's

Reminded me of this

Jennifer Lopez "If You Had My Love"

The concept of reggae where it's predominantly drum and bass with minimal strings. R&B wasn't like that traditionally. It sound madder when they re-licked it in dancehall

Speaking of demo's and reggae rips by Stargate, DJ B alerted me of this. Hit songwriter Ester Dean's demo of "Rude Boy" - one of the smashes she has written for Rihanna. Loads of people in the comments saying she sounds like Justin Beiber. What you think?

Rihanna's sounds better, still.

Here's her demo of Rihanna's "What's My Name". This sounds better.

And on that note, I'm out



Nicole Scherzinger feat. 50 Cent "Right Here"

If this was Rihanna, we'd say she's chatting with a Jamaican twang

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Reggae Update

In the post below, I updated with a bunch of new dancehall videos (and some

Protoje feat Ky-Mani Marley "Rasta Love"

This has been floating since last year, but I didn't feel it at first, and since then I haven't blogged that much. But yes, good old song this. Don Corleon's protege, Protoje teams up with one of Bob's sons, Ky-mani Marley. If my memory serves me correctly, Kymani appeared in cult-classic Jamaican movie Shotta's. The first line of the chorus outlines the topic "She didn't know how to tell him she was in love with a rasta man".

Etana "People Talk"

Another big tune out right now courtesy of the strong one, Etana. Empowerment is what Etana does best and this is another example. "People Talk" talks fighting against gossipers and back-biters.

Richie Spice "Black Woman"

This has to be one of my favourite songs for the whole of 2011. In fact, the first line is arguably the best line of any love song for this year too. "She don't wanna cream her hair, she want it wrap up in a turban". Cream hair is relaxer. I don't know much about female hair care but I'm sure you get where they get "cream" from. I don't think this can be mistaken as racism (unless you're an imbecile), he's uplifting women who are usually put down. Surely it's alright to uplift if it's ok to celebrate the women opposite, no?

Romain Virgo "I Am Rich In Love"

What a tune bad! Romain Virgo is one of my artist's. Always big him up as one of the best from the new crop of artists emerging right now. Powerful voice, well written songs, roots reggae vibes always a win. I'd never heard this prior to watching the video just now and it didn't disappoint. Virgo sings "I am rich in love but naturally I'm a pauper, it's just you that I'm after" in a poor (downtown) boy, rich (uptown) girl love story. Not an original concept but execution is all that matters. Sounds like something Vybz Kartel would have written. Like, I wouldn't be surprised if he wrote it kinda thing. That's what he should do with them types of songs. Give them away.

Check my interview with him that I gave to Soul Culture

Damian Marley & Nas "Nah Mean"

First song that really jumped out at me the first time I heard Distant Relatives. Tune knocks. Video shot in Jamaica, once again, always a win. On a one take vibe.

They shot the video for "Promised Land" before

Check my review of their concert and album here

Bruno Mars "Lazy Song"

Wondering why this is here? Well it's a reggae song made by a non-Jamaican so it doesn't have the authentic vibe. It has a pop mix too like Aswad and Inner Circle did in the '90s. For those of you reading and know this is a reggae song, you wouldn't believe how many people will argue because the don't recognise it.

The above song is inferior to "Liquor Store Blues" with Damian Marley.

Last one,

Wiley featuring Ed Sheeran "If I Could"

Once again, isn't a reggae song but the video is shot on the beautiful island of Jamaica. Whether it's the beach, up in the hills or in the garrison (ghetto), Jamaica is so damn visually gifted.