Tag Archives: reggae history

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

Windrush & the History of Reggae in the U.K.

Windrush Generation – Caribbean Migration to the UK from 1948-1970

Remembering the arrival of MV Empire Windrush in Essex on June 22, 1948. Hundreds of workers and their children arrived from Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, and other islands in response to the post-war job shortage.

The Windrush arrives in Essex, UK, June 22, 1948 with Caribbean workers

From the BBC:  Click to listen to the documentary British Music’s Caribbean Roots 

“The Windrush generation has made a significant contribution to British black music for many generations – from grime to UK garage, to drum to jungle, to gospel to Lovers Rock, from Roots and Dub to Ska, to Reggae and Calypso. Narrated by Young Warrior, the son of historic dub legend Jah Shaka, we explore the colourful roots of how British black music has entered the UK mainstream and how it is now embedded across many music genres.

With first-hand accounts from record producer, Dennis Bovell, DJ, David Rodigan, singer Marla Brown (daughter of the late great Crown Prince of Reggae, Dennis Emanuel Brown) and musician and son of Bob Marley, Julian Marley, we explore how Calypso and West Indian culture made huge inroads into the UK mainstream in the 1950s and signified the birth of British black music.

We look at the 1960s which saw Chris Blackwell, founder of Islands Records, bring Millie Small to Britain with My Boy Lollipop and the birth of Trojan records with the release of “Do the Reggay” by The Maytals in 1968, which was the first popular song to use the word ‘reggae’ and defined the developing genre by giving it its name. We also explore the music of the 1970s which saw the first major influx of British reggae with bands such as Aswad and Matumbi and hear about how Jamaican music began to influence British pop music with the rise of bands, such as The Specials and Madness.”

Read the BBC’s June 22, 2020, Windrush Generation overview here.

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!

Continue reading

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

Maxi Priest: This is My Life – A 2015 Interview & 2020 Update

by M. Peggy Quattro

maxi priest reggae report
Maxi Priest, It All Comes Back to Love 2020

Update 2020:  Due to Covid, Maxi is currently unable to tour. He is, however, busy on social media staying engaged with his fans and promoting his latest LP, It All Comes Back to Love, and his latest music video “I’m All Right,” featuring and produced by our friend Shaggy! Watch the video at the end of this up close & personal interview

(This article is from my 2015 interview)

Maxi Priest with Easy to Love CD
Maxi Priest – Easy to Love CD 2015

No doubt, Maxi Priest is one of the hardest and longest-working men in the Reggae biz. In town to perform for the ONE Caribbean Fest, and, following an exclusive Meet, Greet, and Eat fan luncheon at Miami’s HOT 105 to promote his Easy to Love CD, the supercharged singer sat down inside the Miramar offices of VP Records for a long-overdue catch-up interview.

Our connection goes way back. Maxi Priest has been featured on no less than five Reggae Report magazine covers, and from 1985 to 1998, he was featured, reviewed, interviewed, or mentioned in innumerable issues. In fact, since storming the music scene from his South London base in 1985, Maxi Priest has not stopped writing, recording, performing, promoting, producing, or rockin’ n’ rollin’, all while circling the globe .  Continue reading

Garnet Silk – An Interview at his Kingston Home 1994 

This interview was held on January 13, 1994, at Garnet’s Kingston home. The visit was as warm and memorable as the 27-year-old singer himself. Tragically, by year’s end, Garnet perished in a fire alongside his mother at his childhood home. I cherish my time spent with this humble, delightful, kind human being who possessed childlike joy and a smile that touched everyone he met. Rest in power, dear soul…your music, message and memory live on.   ~M. Peggy Quattro

Garnet Silk – A Son of Ethiopia

By M. Peggy Quattro      V12#2 1994
Words in double brackets [[ ]] signify updated 2020 material ~MPQ

Garnet Silk at Home, Kingston 1994The highly anticipated return of Garnet Silk to the performing stage was purposefully planned to coincide with the birthday celebration of his good friend, DJ Tony Rebel. On January 15, 1994, Rebel Salute was staged in the cool and lovely city of Mandeville, situated in their home parish of Manchester, Jamaica.

In July 1993, following his doctor’s orders, the popular singer/songwriter took a needed hiatus from his rigorous performing and recording schedule. The reason given: exhaustion. [more later in this interview]

Garnet Silk exploded on the Jamaican music scene in 1991 and soon became the most in-demand performer on the island. A steady stream of shows and performances, tours and recordings throughout ‘92 and most of ‘93 took its toll on the performer. To begin the new year, and a new era in his dazzling career, Garnet Silk appears rested and ready to resume his appointed rule as musical message giver.

Garnet Silk
Garnet with photo of HIM Haile Selassie, his inspiration for life

Every song released by Silk in the last two years has attracted rave reviews and considerable airplay in Jamaica and abroad. His unique vocal styling and charismatic presentations have him marked by music industry personnel and fans alike as the “next Bob Marley.”

I recently had the pleasure of visiting and interviewing the serious yet mild-mannered Silk during rehearsals and preparation for his triumphant comeback performance at Rebel Salute. This interview is part of the comeback. Continue reading

420 Day DID U KNOWS…

DID U KNOW:

Definitions and meanings:

  • The word “ganja” came from India, referring specifically to the buds of the flower…  
  • Sinsemilla originates from the Spanish words “sin” (meaning “without”) and “semilla” (meaning “seed”) to literally mean “without seeds”…
  • THC is the psychoactive agent in cannabis that gets you high…
  • CBD is the non-psychoactive part of cannabis noted for its medicinal properties…
  • Sleng Teng (a slim spliff) is the name given to one of the first computerized riddims created by Wayne Smith & Noel Davey on a Casio keyboard & released as “Under Mi Sleng Teng” in 1984…
  • The term 420 was begun in the late 70s by four NoCal high school stoners who would link up at 4:20 p.m. to smoke a doobie by a campus wall…
  • Different names for cannabis are weed, ganja, grass, mary jane, MJ, kush, spliff, pot, chronic, herb, kaya, tea, skunk, dagga, collie, to name a few…

Ganja and the Law

  • Jamaica’s Ganja Law of 1913 was an idea from the Evangelical Churches to give police special powers to use oppressive & brutal force against people, Rastafarians in particular…
  • In 2015, Jamaica decriminalized ganja for personal use & for the 1st time recognized the rights of Rastas to grow and consume ganja as part of their faith…
  • A 2019 survey shows 91% of Americans say some form of marijuana should be legal…
  • Legal cannabis has created 211,000 jobs in the USA & will generate an estimated $1.6 Billion in 2020…

Peter Tosh facts:

  • Legalize It, Peter Tosh’s first American major LP release & first collaboration with Sly  & Robbie, instantly became an anthem for Reggae & throughout the international music lexicon…
  • On Dec. 16, 1978, Peter Tosh performed on Saturday Night Live (SNL) with Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger…
  • A British record retailer banned the 1978 LP Bush Doctor because of a scratch-n-sniff sticker on its cover that apparently smelled like marijuana…