Friday, 16 September 2011

FlashBack Friday: Yard Times

Hey guys and gals, I'm back with the sixth episode of the popular series FlashBack Friday (click for previous episodes) for the year like 2011.

This one's slightly different to the others. Not sure if it's holiday blues, but I've been tracing back songs that remind me of time spent in Jamaica. Jamaica is the land of reggae and dancehall , I don't take pictures, so naturally those songs remind me of my time. So, I've decided to document them all here. Bit of a personal one, so you may or may not enjoy it. Something I will deffo look back on in years to come to remember happy times. You'll have to guess the years.

p.s. you get the "Yard Times" play on words from "Hard Times"? Genius. It's far from hard times, truss me

To start you off nice and easy, these are my earliest memory of reggae. Before my first trip to Jamaica but I'm documenting them too

Lovingdeer - Wild Gilbert

Audio in the video is poor so here's a better quality version

Black Uhuru - Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Earliest memory of loving and singing a reggae song is this. Still sounds great to this day. You see, I've always had the ear for classics ;)

Papa San & Lady G - Round Table Talk

First trip at a really young age. Dad always reminds me that this was my favourite song.

General Degree - Granny

Another one of my favourites. Actually bumped into him at the record shop. Aquarius di ting did deh.

Buju Banton - Batty Rider

Either the year or year after the bogle dropped. Either way, I learnt it this year. I have a house party on one of the little casstette tapes used for video cameras back in the day.

Joseph Stepper - Wife

I'm sure my dad loved this song. I just remember this being one of if not the more popular version from the riddim.

Tiger - Beep Beep Move Over

This song has stuck with me forever. I had a little motorbike dance my brother taught me lined up for this song. The dance looks like that Ring Ding Ding dance, except light years ahead and much better.

General Degree - Pianist

I wasn't allowed to sing this song. Nor were my cousins. I remember my cousin getting told off by my dad for singing it. Think she would have been around 12-14.

Daddy Screw and Donovan Steele - Kerry

Still love this riddim. Car Crash. Re-discovered it last year. I remember a big my aunt doing the world dance to this at a family party.

Beenie Man - World Dance

Here is the dance of that year. Check the fashion them times. RIP father Bogle (dancer in the black created many dances as you'll see with the tribute post I wrote earlier this year)

Luciano - Ulterior Motive

Reminds me of being in Columbus Heights in Ocho Rios. My dad's friend and his wife were on their honeymoon. Mum, dad and I were in their room, he didn't want to go home and this was either on the radio or in my head at the time. Good times where my dad and his friends let me play Black Jack (card game not the Casino style though) with them. Only allowed to play one card at a time.

Anthony B - Raid The Barn

This reminds me of a car journey. Possibly on our way to Ocho Rios (mentioned above)

Red Rat - Shelly-Anne

Reminds me of my cousin teaching me the heel-and-toe. Fudgie by Goofy was on the same so it also reminds me of the ice cream man or "Fudgie" as they call/called them in Jamaica.

Bounty Killer - Look

Arguably the greatest Bounty song ever. I was there for NYE '99, the riddim's called the "Bug" after the Y2K Bug.

Caplteton - More Prophet

Capleton had up that Christmas. Fire man times.

Buju Banton - Driver

Anthem of Christmas '06. First time I heard a gun salute. Not gonna lie, I almost ducked for cover until I realised he was shooting in the air. Well, until I realised nobody else because they knew it was a gun salute.

Mavado - Last Night

Reminds me of Gran Market. Stood on top of the plaza in Morant Bay overlooking the proceedings with a bottle of Ting, stood with my parents, bussing gun finger. Mic man asked the patrons to raise their hands if they like Bounty Killer, Beenie Man and Vybz Kartel, but when asked for Mavado the place erupted.

(or listen to the raw here:

Tanya Stephens - These Streets

This blew me away. Love the use of similes like jerk chicken and festival from Mothers. (See what I did there?) Tanya wonders why her gangsta man doesn't love her like he loves these streets.

Richie Spice - Brown Skin

Reminds me of car journeys with mum and dad. They loved this riddim.

These next two remind me of the first session I went to. Good rass times. If I never went to this party, I don't know if I would've gone back every year after. The gal in that party were AMAZING! Jeeeez. Food and drink inclusive for less than a tenner I think. Vibes were crazy in there too. Man dem dancing kinda made me stick to a two-step, 'cos I weren't feeling to look like ethnic majority sometimes look in comparison to them.

Lol @ not grabbing a girl to these

p.s. unlike America and UK, Jamaican girls aren't really in the video girl thing. There are, like everywhere in the world, some really flippin' hot girls over there - just not in these videos. And boy did I find out the good way. Jeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeez

Tony Matterhorn - Dutty Wine

Mr Vegas - Hot Wuk

Mavado - Warn Them

Remember seeing the loads of people break out the same dance to this song/riddim at popular street dance Shooters Hill (miss that place). Looked sick, but I didn't know the name. Obviously, practiced when I got home, told a few bredrins when I got back to England. Continue reading to find out what dance it was.

Mr. Vegas - Tek Weh Yuself

Continuing on from the story about this unnamed dance... Well you've guessed it was this. Dance ran the summer

Bugle - What Am Gonna Do

Anthem of the year hands down goes to this. I remember hearing this at Bembe (another event I don't think happens anymore but was really popular. Stupid government). Place got beat down. Huge forward.

Tarrus Riley - She's Royal

Number one reggae song for the year.

Pressure - Love & Affection

Always played after "She's Royal"

Sean Kingston - Beautiful Girls

T'rough the youth had a Jamaican influence to him ting, this was the biggest pop song.

Either Cham or Assassin had a version on the riddim, but I can't find it on YouTube. However, Beenie Man's one is. He made it specifically for RTI (as you'll hear on the intro), they dropped it at Daydreams. Everyone listened keenly after I think Jazzy T's introduction. The way the place went crrrrrrrrraaaaaaazzzzzzzzzzyyyyyyyyy when he says "The world dun know mi girl dem pretty like Barbee". Play on words because he was supposedly cheating on D'Angel with artist Barbee. D'Angel supposedly had a man in New York at the same time. Trial and crosses. Not even sure if the song went past that stage.

2007 aka the summer of Munga

Personal favourite of his that year: Wine Pon It

Munga - No Fraid A

Biggest song off the biggest juggling riddim. Caused ripples for the whole of summer. "Mi nuh see no flesh weh mi fraida!" *Killa walk*

Mavado - Squeeze Breast

Yow, Mavado's debut album provided to soundtrack of the summer. Every day we touched road, that album get beat. This was one of the only songs you could find a girl to dance with. In fact, I still remember dancing with one peng ting in orange at Wildsides. Yo, di girl did mad enuh!

Vybz Kartel - Send Fi Mi Army

This reminds me of my first Daydreams. Huge forward and still relatively fresh. First in a long line of anthems Vybz Kartel went on to produce with Stephen. Hadn't mastered the clarity and melodic verses he has now, but his hooks became catchier from this point onwards.

Mavado - Amazing Grace

Second time I ever heard gun shot buss in a dance was to this. Understandably so. Had to be Mavado's most evil tune at the time.

Konshens - Winner

Konshens' breakthrough song is to 2008 what Bugle's "What I'm Gonna Do" was to 2007. Serani "Stinkin' Rich," Vybz Kartel "Trailer Load Of Money" and Mavado "Money Changer" were always in the juggling too. This year was year of Blitz above/next to the Burger King in New Kingston.

Black Ryno - Thug Anthem

Radio DJs played this the week before ATI. Tuesday on the way to the aforementioned Blitz. Tony Matterhorn played it out that night. Mavado's piece got a big forward. Chi Ching Ching touched mic that night with his "We make the pocorn pop" talk. Used to annoy the hell out of me. Now I remember why I didn't like him. I do now though, hes a don.

Anyway, this is one of the top songs from the riddim.

Elephant Man - Nuh Linga

Energy God had a big year in '08, mainly through instructional dance songs.

Ooooooooo, just remembered this song on the same riddim, Flippa Mafia "Dem Yah"

First bling-bling dancehall artist I remember. Flash in the pan really because it was a novelty thing.

Vybz Kartel - Work Out

Reminds me of a house party. Far from ram but the vibes were good (which basically translates as rubbing off wall paper with people gal pickney)

So Special by Mavado was a big tune, but I hate that song so I won't be posting it.

G Whizz - Life

This is to 2009 what Konshens had the previous year with "Winner"

Chino - Never Change

A close competitor for anthem of the summer. I love this song, man. This evokes more memories than any other I think.

Ding Dong - Holiday

Dance of the summer was "Skip To Mu Lou" and "Holiday" was the unofficial dancing song of the year. Last song I remember hearing at a party (Smirnoff Exclusive).

Ramping Shop was big but it doesn't remind me of Yard Times, therefore I shan't be posting it.

Mr Vegas - Gallis

Riddim of the summer for me had to be Trippple Bounce. Think it ranks quite high in the greatest riddims list for me.

Vybz Kartel - Love Dem

Another one of those songs I hadn't heard prior to my trip. Crazy reloads. Kartel had a great working relationship up until this point. Broke down shortly after this song. Sad times. Them two did run the summer.

Popcaan - Gangster City

Introduced to Popcaan via "Clarks", this song made me take him seriously. Big tune.

Popcaan - Up Inna Di Club

One of the signature tune, because "Street Vybz Thursday, di realest party. It mi nuh put party above" is 1000000% correct. Every Thursday we were in attendance. Another party that is no longer. Turning into a trend isn't it? Shooters Hill, Bembe and Street Vybz all gone.

Aidonia - Bad People

Knew of this song before, but when you hear it amongst people that understand the vibe of it, explosive.

Vybz Kartel - Summer Time

Big summer song, Dream Weekend we did go enuh. Ting shot (pronounced "Shut")! Virtually every car had this blazing from their cars.

Popcaan - Ravin

Biggest song of the year thus far bar none.

Mavado - Final Destination

Reminds me of Smirnoff Exclusive. One of the last songs I remember hearing.

Cliff-Twang - Nobody Canna Cross It

When this tune drop, place got mad. And some people did the dance where they hop side-to-side. Fun times.

Yes, they do play the above song in clubs/parties.


Tony Rebel - Sweet Jamaica

Such true words "Mi never know sweet it is until mi go ah foreign." I went to America, thought it was alright, went back to Jamaica, haven't looked anywhere else since. Fi' wha?!

And just for bonus reasons because it's on the same riddim:

Cobra - Tek Him

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Chase The Sample: Gwen Stefani - Rich Girl

I only found this out today via Wikipedia. I was reading about Eve, it says she featured on Gwen Stefani's "Rich Girl" and mentions it's a remake of an old song. It's obviously reggae-inspired, but I thought that was it.

Gwen Stafani ft. Eve - Rich Girl

Well, originally, the melody for the chorus comes from musical Fiddler on the Roof, song titled "If I Were A Rich Man"

But who knew, the concept for Gwen Stefani's song is so explicitly lifted from Londoners Louchie Lou & Michie One?

Louchie Lou & Michie One - Rich Girl

I didn't even know the above song before today. I knew the dynamic duo (lol) for "Shout" which peaked at #7 in the national UK charts. Yes, that is the same riddim track as Shaggy's "Oh Carolina".

I beg you watch their performance on TOTP (Top of the Pops) if you get the chance

Yo, I'm gonna run some Louchie Lou & Michie One for old times sake

Somebody Else's Guy

Louchie Lou may not be the greatest singer, or anywhere near it but so what? She has a nice, seductive tone. And you'll recognise the bass line from Temptations "Just My Imagination". Well, it's an adaptation.

Champagne and Wine

What a groovy record.

I love reggae more than the average man, but I love a piece of (at times cringe-factor 50) cheesy pop-reggae.

p.s. reggae run the world, uzeet?

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

MOBOs dropped Jah Cure from nominations/Letter to Kanya

Just in

"Reggae artist Jah Cure has had his Mobo nomination for best reggae act withdrawn, after organisers found out he was a convicted rapist.

The 33-year-old was given a prison sentence in 1999 for a gunpoint assault in Jamaica.

Jah Cure, whose real name is Siccature Alcock, was released in 2007.

Mobo organisers said they made the decision after finding about about the "severity of the crime" ahead of the ceremony in Glasgow in October.

The move leaves just four remaining nominees in the best reggae act category - Damian Marley & Nas, Alborosie, Khago and Mavado.

It's not the first time a reggae act has been dropped from the awards.

In 2004 Vybz Kartel and Elephant Man were both removed from the category after they refused to apologise for homophobic lyrics.

Jason Derulo and Alesha Dixon will host this year's ceremony, which recognises music of black origin such as R&B, jazz and hip hop.

The Mobos, now in their 16th year, take place in Glasgow on 5 October"


Dear Kanya King,

Why drop Jah Cure for a crime he served almost a decade of his life in prison for? They say "Do the crime, do the time," he did the time and still can't get a break? If he's 33 now, that means he was 21 when convicted. Almost a third of that for this crime. If I recall correctly, the witness that helped convict him said she recognised his voice. No other real evidence was there to support him committing the crime, but hey, he got on with is and served about 8 years in prison for it either way. Can't a man get on with his life? He isn't a serial rapist or anything. This isn't to belittle what he allegedly did, but I really don't get dropping him. If you didn't know about the crime beforehand, you are as withdrawn from music as previously thought. If you did, but have bowed to outside pressure to drop him, you are as weak as previously thought.

And why does this only ever happen to reggae artists? I can understand why you buckled under pressure last time, but this time? Nah. I never see MOBOs ban any US artists for encouraging gun violence. If 50 Cent turned around and wanted to perform a medley of hits, they'd bend over backwards to let him in. Or Eminem, who regularly takes the mickey out of gays. The way the red carpet would roll out for him.

This right here sums up the MOBO's. They couldn't care less about real Music Of Black Origin. They much prefer to celebrate black people making pop music and already in the charts over shining a light on those who aren't recognised as MOBO set out to do all them years ago. Give a damn if the Brits award them, charts and sales prove these people are big.

Which is another thing, MOBO's don't really care about UK music either. Champion it all you want for the moment, MOBO's didn't really care until they couldn't get US acts and then UK started doing better. Remember when Sway got Best Hip Hop over Game and 50 Cent? Oh, how we laughed. It's just for the benefit of a few really. I couldn't tell you who owns the other awards shows. Wonder why...

It won't make a dent on your viewing figures, because real people that care about real music don't care about the MOBO's anyway, hence the awards is in Glasgow (no disrespect to the Glaswegian's but even you know it's true). You've got Jason Derulo, an upstanding icon in the music world for making, well, um, we'll say "rural" music hosting it. We know MOBO's don't care about black people, really, you've just lead us on for a while. Don't worry about it though. Have fun with your awards show. It has been said that the show is as tired as the special occasion wig you roll out annually that people poke fun at whilst you make you drunk speeches (you can read that in the TweetView from last year's award show), but that's so immature and will take away from the point. Plus, I'm not that childish.


Marvin Sparks

p.s. this song is quite appropriate for this occasion I think.

"Impossible to see the changes that I've made in my life
All they see is just the boy I left behind
Cos I swear I can be a better man
I swear, if only you could understand
The faith in me shall set me free, relfection"

Finally, I think I'll quote the interview I did with Jah Cure in about '09. Quite suitable

Marvin Sparks: You’ve always maintained your innocence over what you went to jail for, will you battle for your name to be cleared?
Jah Cure:
I don’t want to get myself killed because this thing is bigger than how people see it on the outside. I’m the one who knows what happened. I don’t want to stir up the thing and make it bad for both of us - because at the end people are going to be on my side and I don’t want to start a rebellion that causes conflict. We have to understand that. Its split; there are some people on one side and some on the other side and there isn’t any joke about it. If I insist to...

My name will be cleared to the most high. My actions will speak for me futuristically; He will know who I am and He will see who I am. My lifestyle, my livity, my words and my work will prove me to that day. I have nothing to prove to man because the almighty know my deeds.

The arms of law has failed me, so I don’t need not to go through any system. I don’t like courthouse, I hate courthouse and all these things, so I will take the end of my stick. At the end of the day, the world will know who is Cure after all. Jah is the one, at the end of the day, who gives justice. Man doesn’t give justice. Remember, man failed to give me justice before so there is never a time I’m going to have my freedom and let any man fail me the way he failed me before. Jah never fails me, man fails. Now I have Jah to deal with the rest.

Click here to read the rest

Bashy wasn't brave enough to keep the song up on YouTube, but I'll quote him "Fuck da MOBO's"

Some songs I fux with

Kes the Band - Wotless

The Heatwave been banging this since near the beginning of the year. Trini soca vibes. Groovy tune. Was one of my tips for carnival, but I didn't do a post for that. Couldn't be arsed.

Angel ft. Sneakbo - Ride Out

This is probably my favourite r&b song from the UK this year. Taken over Nathan ft. Wretch 32 - Hangover. Has a credible r&b vibe with pop appeal. Best song I've heard by Angel. Swear I saw the lead girl from the video working guestlist at west end club Diu on Saturday. If that was you, hi.

KOF - What's The Deal? (d&b remix)

Heard this on Sian Anderson's Emotional Wheelage show on Rinse. Don't really care that it's two years old, it's a tchyoooooooon. Zone out and buss a skank during the verse then singalong to the chorus. That's what I do anyway.

Meek Mill ft. Rick Ross - I'm A Boss

I like this song, yeah, but you can't both be a boss now can ya? 'Cos at least one of you is an employee.

I like "Tupac Back" too, stil don't get the relevance of Tupac in the song apart from using his flow

Throwback ting: Fish Go Deep - Cure and the Cause

Came across this tune again today for the first time in a while. What a way it still bangs

Thursday, 1 September 2011

Shaggy interview

Former US marine Orville Burrell​, known to most by his dancehall moniker Shaggy, has reached mainstream heights no other dancehall artist has in terms of mainstream success. Chart-topping singles and album all over the world with a career spanning near 20 years, most notably 2001′s diamond-selling Hot Shot which boasted singles “It Wasn’t Me” and “Angel” – both in the top five selling singles of the year in the UK.

Summer 2011 sees the release of new EP titled Summer In Kingston lead by single “Sugarcane,” a cheeky song about a females addiction to the cane, which is rapidly rising up the reggae charts.

Marvin Sparks recently spoke with the legend himself (yes, it was him) to find out why he started making music, evolving his style, working with Mavado, nerves about performing in the UK this weekend and why he thinks UK artist Chipmunk is “A force to be reckoned with.”

Read rest here:

Stephen "Di Genius" McGregor interview

Big Ship sailing! If you don't know the name, you may have skanked to his riddims/songs. Kartel "Bicycle", "Come Breed Me", MR. Vegas "Gallis", Busy Signal "Stamma", Mavado "Hope & Pray", "House Cleaning" , "Weh Dem A Do", "Stulla" + "Peppa" and many more. This is the radio edit. Longer version soon

The Wrap Up’s Marvin Sparks ventures down to the Big Ship studios in Kingston, Jamaica to speak with Stephen McGregor about kick-starting Mavado's international career whilst still in high school, working with Estelle, Ne-Yo and much more...

Dubbed "Di Genius" for his understanding and ability to produce music from a young age, McGregor has been creating music for over a decade despite only being 21 years old. Although he is better known for producing hits, he started out in the booth recording songs like ‘School Done Rule’ at the tender age of 9. As the son of the legendary Freddie McGregor, falling into music was no surprise – much of his youth was spent learning instruments around the studio.

Stephen began beat-making when he was 12 – for producers such as Outlaw – however, his defining moment came aged 16 in 2006, when he broke traditional dancehall formats with the distinctive grimey ‘Red Bull & Guinness’ riddim. The riddim boasted 'Weh Dem A Do', which was recorded by a relatively new artist at the time, Mavado. Stephen McGregor has become one of the scene’s most influential producers for over half-a-decade, winning countless awards along the way.