Blogs, Media, Alkaline, Round Up & More

It’s officially the first week of British summer, and I haven’t written a blog post in a while so I thought I’d give you little round up of my thoughts on what’s been happening in dancehall recently.

The Art of Blogs

I thought I’d start with a little moan about the current trend for blogs to post the same content without offering any sort of individual opinion. Many bloggers seem content with copy and pasting stories from each other (or from other media outlets) without offering their own slant on the topic. I’m not saying people have to go down the line of Vice and others that give the impression they are looking down their noses at most things they comment on but I for one enjoy reading a blog that offers me the chance to get an insight into the writers opinion and even give me a sense of their personality. I understand blogs are competing for clicks but still I don’t believe that’s an excuse for some of the shoddy plagiarism I’ve seen lately!

Media Need to Get Their House In Order

Continuing on from my little moan on the lack of creative bloggers, I think the media has a lot to answer for lately. If you only read blogs/websites you would think that dancehall has descended into some sort of strange sexual frenzy, with numerous reports of slack artists, slack songs, demonic behaviour and a lot more along those lines. Now before we start I’m by no means pretending that we haven’t seen a lot more slackness within dancehall but as I’ve said before Dancehall is a genre that encompasses many styles of artist and the media’s obsession with reporting on the negative elements of dancehall, although nothing new holds back the genre. Artists achievements go unnoticed while an unknown artist gets a full page article on his song about his love for eating pussy or for tattooing his eye balls!

Alkaline, Vybz Kartel Mk 2 I Think Not

This brings me on nicely to Alkaline who seems to be dividing dancehall recently, I am a genuine fan of Alkaline but he’s come in for a lot of criticism lately whether it’s being compared to Vybz Kartel or for the content of his music. Now let’s address the Vybz Kartel comparison, yes he uses similar shock tactics (although I will say Kartel’s use of shock tactics always seemed more calculated) and yes he sings about some more freakier topics but that’s where the similarities end for me. I have said on radio a number of times Alkaline embodies a lot of aspects from various “Gaza” artists and has almost refined it, taking the best elements of a number of different artists, Kartel included. As for the criticism regarding the content of his music, I think its simply if your not a fan don’t listen, as I’ve said earlier there is plenty of artists with various styles to choose. I also have a problem with the number of artist jumping on his hype with “diss” songs. Yes it’s always a part of dancehall but I don’t like seeing a young artist being shot at lyrically, when very few of these artists are bringing anything more constructive to the dancehall table and on this subject I will let Alkaline have the final say

Alkaline – Too Real

P.S look out for Alkaline hitting the UK in April for his first UK appearance

Dancehall Music Round Up

Time to take you through a few of my favourite new releases

Busy Signal – Professionally

The Turf President delivers a brilliant visual for his take on P Squares afro beat anthem “Personally”. Not only do we get Busy’s brilliant lyrical delivery but the video is a great advert for all that’s great about dancehall, with the female dancers throwing down some great moves and having some great fun doing it!

Its not only Busy who’s caught the afro beat bug, ANG artist Kalado has jumped on Personally as well with a much more explicit take (Check it out below)

Kalado – Personally

Spice Ft Busta Rhymes – So Mi Like It Remix

Fresh from collaborating with Soca king Bunji Garlin on the remix of Differentology, Busta has brought his talents to Spice’s Hit “So Mi Like It”, Busta delivers everything you expect and a little bit more and I can see this dominating dances over the summer.

Onto big riddims and I have to mention Claims Records new riddim “Pre Order” featuring big cuts from Cham, his wife O and a nice collab from Veterans Wayne Wonder & Beenie Man. I remember seeing Cham post a preview of this on facebook and I looked forward to its release, it follows a simple formula but like the saying goes if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.

Cham – Don Fi Who

Finally I wanted to mention Rvssian’s new riddim aptly named after him, I’ve always been a fan of his production and although I was initially disappointed when I first heard this riddim it really has grown on me. The riddim features cuts from Masika, Konshens, Vybz Kartel & J Capri and Sean Paul and it’s Sean’s piece that I have really taken to (Never expected to say that).

Sean Paul – Front & Back

End Of An Era

Finally it saddens me to write that after a long run Heatwave have decided to concentrate on their Hot Wuk parties and will finish their weekly event Hot Wuk Wednesday’s at The Social. As someone that has been resident there on and off since it’s Madd Raff Inception I have nothing but good things too say, the vibes have always been electric and it will leave a lot of patrons wondering where they can get their weekly west end dancehall fix!

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Joe Grime’s Dancehall/Reggae Round Up

OK for those that follow me on twitter (@joegrime) you’ll know I haven’t been too impressed by the recently released Summer Wave Riddim, which to me is unneeded, not on the same level as last years anthem bringing Summertime Riddim, nor is it in my opinion even on the same level as BBQ or even Smudge. Now I’m sure through my Twitter conversations that a lot less avid dancehall fan or those that just look for the latest Kartel tune will be loving this riddim and admittedly it even grew on me a little when listen back to it on this weeks show. My biggest problem with riddims like this is not the fact that they’ve remade a riddim that still gets regular play, nor is it the fact that although artist like Beenie, Popcaan & Gaza Slim do an alright job on the riddim there is no stand out piece. My biggest problem is the almost instantaneous way DJs, selectors and fans have jumped on the “wave” and leaves me asking the following questions: When are DJs/Selectors going to say enough is enough and exercise some quality control over what they endorse? When will producers stop trying rinse out every forgotten Vybz Kartel acapella they have on their hard drive? And finally when are we going see producers attempt to make riddims firstly for the dancehall rather than radio (it reminds me of the influx of euro pop that has invaded are airwaves in the last couple of years on mainstream radio) This concept isn’t new and I know from reading a recent interview with Truckback Records Sexx Tape Riddim was built and voiced for the dancehall not radio, but it seems to be happening less and less. Historically Dancehall & Reggae music has always been championed by sounds in dances, and radio would pick up on a tune from the buzz and although we now leave in a world of on demand media,where I can listen to what I want when I want it; it would be nice to see producers aiming more for the dancehall rather than radio waves. Talking about tunes doing huge things in the dance, I have to mention Konshens who has really made an impact so far this year. At my recent MADD RAFF birthday set the walls were literally beaten to a pulp when “Do Sumn” & “Stop Sign” were played. Stop Sign is a tune I have mentioned before (in my recent piece for Fact Magazine) and when I recently tweeted the open lines it got the biggest amount of Retweets, proving the tunes either a huge track or I have a lot of slack followers. Talking of slackness & a tune that’s aimed at the dancehall rather than radio I have to give a mention to Gappy Ranks “Wine Pon Di Edge” The tune taken from his “Bedroom Bully” EP is a tune I can see running a lot of dances in the coming months and as you can see the Video seemed like a lot of fun! Before moving on from the slack, dancehall aimed tracks I have to give mention to the Coolie Gal Riddim, which seems like being a firm dancehall favourite. Surprisingly Tommy Lee is getting a lot of air play (Both on radio & in the Dance) with his track “Let Me Put It In” although I have to big up Zamunda, an artists I have always loved and feel is underrated for his effort “Gal Army” and of course Popcaan’s title track which are both getting good responses. Talking about Popcaan he features on the new riddim from Mixpak “Loud Speaker” which is a great, with its up tempo almost soca flavour. Produced by Dre Skull and fetauring some of the finest Caribbean Artist I can see this doing really well. The Machel Montana is the stand out for me but I can see a few more pieces being added in the coming weeks and months including a Joe Grime Refix for sure! Next up I need to give UK its props for a number of reasons. Firstly because in last few months the level of UK dancehall has gone through the roof, especially when you look at the new Ragga Ragga CD which is filled heavily with UK anthems form Stylo G, Gappy Ranks & Lea-anna. I also have to big up the UK because alongside the established artists, the next set of artists have really been bringing some heat! For those that listen to my show you will have heard me play the Suncycle produced Kick Out Teeth Riddim for some time (The Ladychann & Durrty Goodz being my fav) well good friend and all round wicked artist Fresharda has recently jumped on the riddim on a remix of Tenza’s Out & Clean and I have to say Fresh really did up the levels, I never played the original but with Fresharda’s feature its put it up there with Chann & Goodz. Talking of UK, Afterhours have been pushing their own brand of dancehall well for the last 9 months, with Deejay Fingers behind the music and big artists such as Don Andre, Big Chainz & UKG legend Kele Le Roc all featured on his riddims I really predict big things for them! If you downloaded my mix for Dont Watch That TV you would of heard “Too Mix Up” (personally my favourite After Hours Tune) and with the new single with Kele Le Roc “One Man” out now, plus a number of up and coming riddims ready for release you would be well advised to keep your eyes peeled. Talking of Don Andre he appears on the New Hot Coffee Music Release Throw Me Herb, a riddim dedicated to all things Ganja. The riddim features notable tunes from Don, Gappy Ranks & Reddman with Busy Signal leading with his Ganja Tune “Hot Head” This moves me nicely into mentioning 2 of the biggest reggae albums released this year, Busy Signal’s Reggae Music again & Romain Virgo The System. Let’s start with Busy’s Reggae Music again, the album is a great advertisment for all thats been good with reggae music! He has brung together some of Jamaica’s best musicians for it and by recording it at the legendary Tuff Gong Studios the album really brings together all the modern wordplay you would expect from Busy with the musicanship of legendary labels such as Penthouse & of course Tuff Gong. It’s hard to single out favourite tunes from the album, as the album for me should be viewed as whole. I will however mention Royal Night, a masterclass in innuendo, using a classic lovers formula laced with just the right amount tongue in cheek slackness. Moving on to another Shane Brown produced album, I write with great pleasure how much I enjoyed Romain Virgo’s the system (It’s Been on constant play in my car since I got it). The album itself is a great mix of Reality & Lovers tunes put togther with an almost mixtape feel (the tracks flow seamlessly through the album). The album kicks off with some great reality with my stand out “Another Day Another Dollar” and also features “Dem A Coward” which I personally feel has the potential and potency to be a future Dub Plate anthem. Its when I get to track 11 (Fantasize) that I get most excited. This track reminds me of classic Sanchez and with album being heavily produced by Penthouse, you get that classic 90’s reggae feel. Having started writing this by moaning about Summer Wave, it’s nice to finish talking about something so positive. I think we have covered at lot here, and it’s contrasting that for all the up and coming producers making dancehall it’s established & legendary producers who are still putting the majority of quality albums out. Remember catch The Bashment Show every Tuesday 10pm-12am (GMT) on http://www.dejavufm.com & listen back to previous shows via my mixcloud (mixcloud.com/joegrime)