Tag Archives: dancehall

Damian Marley on Family and Recording with Nas 2011

Damian “Junior Gong” Marley Interview  –  Perth, Australia 2011

By Mumma Trees

Ed. Note: In Australia for the 2011 4-day Good Vibrations Fest, Damian Marley, along with his latest collab partner Nas, were featured artists on a stellar festival lineup that included Faithless, Ludacris, Janelle Monae, and Erykah Badu. Prior to the show, Perth radio personality and journalist Mumma Trees caught up with the young Marley in Miami via phone.  Featured photo by Jan Salzman. Watch the Damian & Nas video “Nah Mean” below or on our YouTube channel.  

Early Days & Inspirations
Damian Marley by Lee Abel
Damian Marley * Photo Lee Abel

How did you start, Damian, what made you get up there and do what you do?

Well, I mean I think it goes without saying that I have an obvious influence from my family, you know my father, and of course, my older brothers and sisters are all involved in music. But growing up as a child, I used to go to a lot of concerts in Jamaica and watch some of my personal musical heroes, which would be people like Shabba Ranks and Supercat, who are some of the earlier Dancehall artists. I used to watch them perform and that’s really what got me into wanting to perform myself.

That’s interesting because your brothers are singers, but you have chosen the deejay style.

Yeah. And that’s definitely because of that same influence… like the first music I bought for myself was Dancehall music.

Are there any current Dancehall artists who are doing things that you admire?

Yeah, I mean, lots of them, I am a big fan of music in general, you know wha I mean, so I try my best to keep up-to-date with what’s going on, especially in Jamaica. I mean lots of them, you have Mavado, Gyptian, Tarrus Riley, Wayne Marshall, Vybz Kartel, you have loads of them, and I am a fan of their music.

You mention Vybz Kartel, what’s your opinion of the slackness in Dancehall music coming out in the last few years from artists like him?

I mean, the music I bought as a child was slack also. And I am a big advocate of freedom of speech. You have to be free to say something negative, to be free to say something positive. So I am a big advocate of that. And realistically, you know music is an honest way of making a living. You know, somebody could be out there doing something that isn’t…. Music don’t really hurt nobody. So if Vybz Kartel is making an honest living for himself, you have to respect that.

Damian, Stephen, Julian Marley
Damian, Stephen, & Julian Marley – W. Palm Beach * Photo Lynn Dearing 2010

Were you close with your brothers and sisters growing up?

We were very close growing up. Every vacation, summer holidays, I would always go and spend a few weeks with them, and you know, we were very close from when I was a child.

When you have performed with your brothers, it has been as the “Ghetto Youths Crew,” are you still working together on that?

Well, we still are a team, but performing as the Ghetto Youths Crew, we haven’t done that in many years now. But we still definitely work as a team. We have a whole lot of new young artists we are working with and getting ready to release some projects next year.

Collaboration with Nas

Your latest collaboration with Nas has been a huge worldwide hit. Can you tell me about the album title Distant Relatives?

Nas and Damian Marley
Nas & Damian Marley in Florida *. Photo Alex Broadwell

It’s called Distant Relatives because of different reasons. Nas and myself, being that we are ‘distant relatives,’ Hip-Hop and Reggae as two genres of music being ‘distant relatives.’ Then on a bigger scale now, all of humanity, because the album itself has the concept of Africa intertwined throughout the whole album. We are trying to say that all of humanity comes from the same birthplace, Africa. So, all of us as humanity are ‘distant relatives.’

Speaking of Africa, I have seen videos of you and your brothers performing in Ethiopia. Have you performed in any southern African country? 

I have performed in Ethiopia and Ghana, but those are the only places in Africa I have visited so far. But for sure, my father’s song is the national anthem of Zimbabwe. So, that’s definitely a place I want to go and visit.

You had a couple of big tunes a few years ago produced by Baby G, The Mission and One Loaf of Bread. Are you planning to do any more work with Trevor Baby G?

It’s funny you say that because he is actually here in Miami. We have been doing some work together over the last few weeks. We’re trying to get a few Dancehall tracks together, so actually, I have a few tracks with Baby G being released in the next few weeks.

You are coming to Perth as part of the Good Vibrations festival, a great national festival, what can we expect from your performance here with Nas?

Nas & Damian Marley
Nas & Damian Marley, Pompano Beach, FL *. Photo Alex Broadwell

You can expect the best of both worlds. You can expect a great coming together of two genres of music. We do some of the tracks together that we have on the album, then the both of us give a little bit of our own catalogue of music. You gonna get a nice mix of Hip-Hop and Reggae.

Do you have a message for the Perth people?

Yeah man, tell dem Love and we will be there soon. Respect.

Nas & Damian “Zilla” Marley – “Nah Mean” from 2010’s Distant Relatives LP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Buju Banton: Dancehall’s DJ Prince – 1992 Reggae History

Love Mi Buju: Dancehall’s Ruff ‘n Gruff DJ Prince

By Simon Buckland      V10#5 1992

Buju Banton Cover v!0#5 1992Seriously troubling all the more established Dancehall DJs this year is Buju Banton, a young man with stylish but homely aspirations. Ghetto-born Mark “Buju Banton” Myrie, at only 19, has, in the space of just five months, risen from interesting but run-of-the-mill Kingston DJ to front runner in the ‘92 Superstar Stakes.

True, he doesn’t have anything like the striking bone structure of the man he’s compared to – Shabba Ranks (whom I shan’t even mention ‘cause the two are, according to Buju, ‘two different kekkle of fish’) – but his reassuringly gruff warmth is usually a little less (How shall we say it?) raw! Continue reading

Reggae Dancehall History: DJ Super Cat Interview 1992

Super Cat: The Ghetto & Glory

By Brian E. Rochlin.     V10#2 1992

Dancehall DJ Super Cat
DJ Super Cat lands a Columbia Records deal in the early-90s

In Kingston, Jamaica, neighborhoods start and end within blocks, and living on them is a whole other type of education. Instead of a classroom within a single building, the classroom of the streets teaches its students to know which buildings are which. Knowing where you stand geographically can be as important as where you stand politically. The two are often related.

Each neighborhood has its own members of distinction, be they artists, politicians, musicians, or stalking DJs breaking into the international music scene. Seivwright Gardens, one of the toughest sections of the city, is noted for the many DJs that have broken away from it: U Roy, Ninja Man, Josie Wales, and Super Cat, the latest of the Gardens alumni to have graduated with honors. Continue reading

beenie man reggae

Beenie Man: The Dancehall Maestro Interview 1997 & 2020 Update

Update 2020: Moses “Beenie Man” Davis is the self-proclaimed King of the Dancehall, but I don’t think you will find too many people to disagree; especially after the Clash seen and heard-around-the-world in May 2020. Beenie and Bounty Killer, his arch-rival from the 90s Dancehall era, joined forces to deliver a Verzuz online sound clash witnessed by more than a half a million fans around the world.

The 46-year-old writer, producer & performer continues to work hard and put out numerous singles, EPS & LPs. Following the Verzuz Clash, Beenie released the single “Do You Want to Be That Guy?,” referring to the police officer who entered the studio during their live-stream. He never misses an opportunity to capitalize on the success and notoriety he’s earned over the past 35 years. What follows here is an interview with the “Maestro” while his star was blazing in the mid-90s Dancehall arena.♥

Beenie Man – The Maestro

By Sara Gurgen       V15#1 1997

beenie man reggae dancehall dj
Beenie Man – DJ of the Year – Two Years in a Row!

Maestro, the title of Beenie Man’s recently released album, perfectly describes this premier Jamaican DJ. After all, this proud member of the successful, hard-working Shocking Vibes crew has been wearing the crown of DJ of the Year for two years in a row; a dizzying array of his songs dot Reggae charts worldwide; and he is responsible for setting and/or popularizing numerous trends in Dancehall music. Two of his hits that best illustrate his trademark creativity are “Maestro,” which combines opera-style vocals with a Dancehall beat, and “Nuff Gal,” on which he chats over a finger-snapping, horn-laden Jazz line. Always one to try something new, this innovative music master has even fused good ol’ Rock’n Roll with Dancehall on his new album!

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Bounty Killer: The Poor People’s Governor-1997 Interview & 2020 Update

Update 2020: Rodney “Bounty Killer” Price is a man with many names; fans call him General, Warlord, and Governor. From the height of the 90s Dancehall DJ era, Bounty has continued recording, performing, and doing some general ‘bad boy bizness.’ He also inspired such DJs as Mavado & Elephant Man and teamed up with young artists, such as Konshens. 

Recently he performed as part of an online soundclash with former rival Beenie Man as presented by the Verzuz IG Live series. 

Through the Bounty Killer Foundation and his “Give Back to…” program, Bounty assists single mothers and other people in need in his community and throughout Kingston.♥

Bounty Killer: The Poor People’s Governor

Interviewed by Shelah Moody & Rachel Campbell
Written by Shelah Moody    V15#3 1997

bounty killer reggae dancehall djs jamaican music
Bounty Killer

Since the September 1996 release of his fourth album, My Xperience, which features hard-hitting and brilliant collaborations with Barrington Levy, Fugees, Busta Rhymes, Junior Reid, and others, Bounty Killer has blown up in the Reggae and Hip-Hop communities. Between U.S. and international concert and club dates, video shoots, interviews, and publicity tours, it is no wonder the 25-year-old DJ has gained a reputation as one of the industry’s most elusive personalities. After months of endless calls to his record label, Blunt Recordings, his manager, Johnny Wonder, and Killer’s personal cellular number in Jamaica, I had almost given up hope on our long-awaited interview until it was announced that Bounty would headline Dancehall Day at the 16th annual Ragamuffins Festival (Feb. 14-16) in Long Beach, Calif. Continue reading

Dancehall’s Beenie Man & Bounty Killer-Clash of the Century

Beenie & Bounty – The Digital Dancehall Clash of the Century!

beenie man bounty killa verzuz clash 2020
Beenie Man and Bounty Killer Bring the Dancehall Vibe to Verzuz Soundclash

Kingston, JA – May 23, 2020 – Beenie Man and Bounty Killer, the two Dancehall legends that dominated Reggae’s DJ scene in the ‘90s, live-streamed a lively sound clash battle that was viewed—and engaged with—by virtually a half a million global fans.

The once-feuding competitors stirred up some dance hall memories: 1) remembering the traveling dance hall sound systems of the 50s and 60s when rivals-of-the-time would battle it out with rapid-fire lyrics relating to politics, women, sex, and the socio-economic injustices of the time, and 2) the “sonic dominance” of the traveling 70s, 80s, and 90s mega-sound systems.

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Bobby Digital – Reggae/Dancehall Producer for the ’90s

Update 2020: We are saddened to report the passing of producer/engineer Bobby Digital on May 21, 2020. His son Sheldon relayed that his father passed away from a kidney-related illness. The entire Reggae and Dancehall family mourns the loss of this visionary who left his mark and sound on five generations of musical history.  ~ M. Peggy Quattro

Bobby Digital – The Producer for the ’90s

By Clyde McKenzie     V14#3 1996

Bobby Digital, producer extraordinaire, shares the same astrological sign as such notables as Albert Einstein, Quincy Jones, and Mikhail Gorbachev. This affable Pisces is also a first-class studio engineer and creator of some of Reggae’s most compelling rhythms, including the popular “Kette.”

bobby digital, digital b, reggae, dancehall history, reggae history, dancehall, kingston, jamaica, 90s reggae
Robert “Bobby Digital” Dixon
Photographer Unknown

Bobby Digital’s life began in a fashion not far removed from that of many major players in the music industry. He was born poor to Mary, a dressmaker, and Eric Dixon, a carpenter. With his four siblings, Bobby Dixon shared a modest existence in the Olympic Gardens area Kingston, notorious for its natives who find refuge in a life of crime.

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