Tag Archives: Elephant Man

Weedy G Soundforce raises the roof

Rise-Weedjy-SOundforceWeedy G Soundforce might not be one of the most well-known production crews in Europe, but they have for the past years dropped more than a few floor fillers. Their trademark is something of a hip-hop and reggae cocktail. And the secret ingredient is energy. Lots and lots of it. And that makes their brand new 14 track compilation Rise stand out of the crowd.

Rise collects some of the biggest contemporary reggae and dancehall artists from Jamaica and Europe. Elephant Man, Busy Signal, Christopher Martin, Perfect, Lukie D, Ward 21, Gappy Ranks, Cornadoor and Skarra Mucci all show up for this high octane extravaganza.

For the past few days I have had several of the tracks from Rise on repeat. The pulsating Busy Signal & Christopher Martin combination Lock Di Endz being one of them, Perfect & Teacha Dee’s We Nuh Afraid being another. But you also have Melloquence & Elephant Man’s Hold You, heavily inspired by Gyptian’s monster hit with the same, and J’se James & Skarra Mucci’s soca-tinged Burning.

Rise is an unusually well-produced and well-compiled Caribbean album jam-packed with energy and tons of fun.

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Major Lazer breaks barriers on Free the Universe

Major Lazer - Free The Universe - artworkMajor Lazer is the electo-dancehall brainchild of U.S. DJ and producer Diplo and UK DJ and producer Switch. For Major Lazer’s brand new album Free the Universe Switch has jumped the ship and is replaced by Jillionaire and Walshy Fire. The result is in the same frenetic vein as the debut set Guns Don’t Kill People… Lazers do.

Free the Universe is a fierce party-starting brew of dubstep, reggae, R&B, dancehall, tropical bass and electronica and is not for the fainthearted. The guest list is of biblical proportions and ranges from dancehall dons Elephant Man, Leftside, Vybz Kartel and Busy Signal to pop singer Bruno Mars, rapper Wyclef Jean and rock singer Amber from Dirty Projectors.

The album was preceded by three excellent and very different singles – the ambient Get Free, the relentless Jah No Partial, which samples Johnny Osbourne’s Mr. Marshall, and Watch Out For This (Bumaye), where Busy Signal chats over a pounding bass drum accompanied by horns sampled from salsa champions Willie Colon & Ruben Blades’ Maria Lionza.

On Free the Universe Major Lazer breaks down barriers between genres and manages to create a modern album filled with distorted voices, skull-cracking drums, soulful reggae-flavored R&B and broken rhythm patterns that will have your neighbors banging on the door asking to turn-down the bass or to join the party.

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Half-year report – 15 favorite tunes

I’m not a big fan of contemporary dancehall. It’s too often poorly produced, poorly mixed and poorly mastered without tasteful and turbulent bass lines. Instead you get an overuse of auto-tune and boring generic beats.

But things might have changed in the course of just a couple of months. I don’t know if my music taste has changed, but there have been a rather large amount of exceptional dancehall tunes and riddims for the first six months of 2012.

The one drop scene has of course also produced its fair share of excellent cuts and riddims. Several from Europe, and often voiced by Jamaican conscious singers and deejays. UK-based producers Frenchie, Mafia & Fluxy and Curtis Lynch have all released great material this year. Same goes for Swiss production team Weedy G Sound Force.

When browsing through the reggae and dancehall year so far you soon realize which two artists rule the scene at the moment – Tarrus Riley and Popcaan. This is also reflected in my list with 15 favorite tracks for the first six months of 2012, listed below.

All tunes have been released as singles or as part of a one riddim compilation. Tracks appearing on a full-length single artist album have been ruled out.

Song title – artist (label – riddim)

Capital Offence – Captain Sinbad (Maximum Sound – Rudebwoy be Nice)

Selecta – Rayvon (Ranch Ent. – Kingston 13)

Final Move – Cornadoor & Kabaka Pyramid (Weedy G Soundforce)

Original Dancehall Days – Starkey Banton (Mafia & Fluxy – Bun n’ Cheese)

We Run It –Tarrus Riley (Charlie Pro)

Chant Rastafari – Tarrus Riley (Maximum Sound – Most Royal)

Go Down – Machel Montano (Mixpak – Loudspeaker)

It’s a Party – Elephant Man & Tarrus Riley (Romeich – Stinking Link)

Shots – Voicemail (Akom – Full Swing)

No Barbershop – Conkarah (Lifeline – Rock Fort Rock)

Badmind a Kill Dem – Popcaan (UPT 007 – Juicy)

Chill Spot – Chris Martin (Chimney – Chill Spot)

Independent Ladies – Gaza Slim (TJ – Summer Wave)

Blood Thirsty – Jah Mali (Necessary Mayhem – Possessed)

Fire Fire – Capleton (Dynasty – Kush Morning)

Curious on the tunes? Check out this Spotify playlist with twelve of them.

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U.S. singer Mighty Mystic drops free single

Releasing singles as free download is a popular way of marketing these days. A couple of weeks ago hip-hop giant Kanye West announced plans to release one new song each week until Christmas.

U.S singer Mighty Mystic does the same, or not exactly the same, when he releases his second single I Alone from upcoming album Wake Up the World as a free download.

Mighty Mystic was born in Jamaica, but relocated to Boston where he got involved in the 90’s hip-hop scene, according to the press material.

He has apparently had some popular tunes and released a combination with dancehall duo Tanto Metro & Devonte in 2003. He has also appeared on some rhythm compilations.

The first single of the upcoming album was a duet with Energy God Elephant Man. I Alone is a solo effort, and a pretty decent one.

It’s up tempo and has some kind of rock feeling to it. Mighty Mystic is a singjay, but with more emphasis on the singing. And he’s obviously heavily influenced by Bob Marley.

Download the single for free below (right click, save as) and judge for yourself.

Mighty Mystic I Alone


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Upcoming releases from VP and Greensleeves

VP Records had several major album releases in the first half of 2010. But what releases can we look forward to this fall and winter? Reggaemani has got hold of the release schedule from VP and their subsidiary Greensleeves, and notes a heavy collection from an obscure British label.

In the first half of 2010, VP Records showed their muscles and released a number of releases from world know artists. Sizzla was first out in January with Crucial Times. This was followed by high-profile records including Junior Kelly and Capleton, artists who had not released full-length albums in many years.

The second half of 2010 has started off with several heavy albums. Luciano released his masterpiece United States of Africa in July, a month in which Busy Signal’s versatile D.O.B also hit the streets. And just a week ago Gappy Ranks dropped his retro sounding album debut Put the Stereo On.

Autumn and winter releases do not offer the same number of famous artists. It’s mainly reissues and compilations.

Anyone who wants to load up with material from Alpha Blondy can start celebrating. VP has scheduled to release seven of his albums, of which Cocody Rock, Apartheid Is Nazism and Jerusalem also will be released on vinyl.

There are also reissues from Johnny Osbourne and Josey Wales, and 4 CD boxes with material from the late Dennis Brown and Culture.

Releases with new artists are only a few. Energy God Elephant Man drops Dance & Sweep in November and sweet voiced Duane Stephenson’s Black Gold hits the stores in September. He wrote several songs on Luciano’s latest effort. It remains to be seen whether he saved some golden nuggets for himself.

There’s also of course a bunch of collections. Among them, Strictly the Best vol. 42 & 43, and also the weed scented Hi Grade Ganja vol. 3. The most interesting collection is however the double CD Nice Up the Dance – UK Bubblers 1984-1987, with tunes from British label UK Bubblers. Included is early material from British deejay pioneers like Pato Banton and Tippa Irie, but also the late songstress Deborahe Glasgow.

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