Words by DJ Theory
Demarco’s new video “Show It” (ft Craig from Voicemail) has broken through the tough outer skin of commercial Hip Hop/R&B (and god forbid reggae) in the states courtesy of its recent debut on 106 & Park on BET. As you may know, 106 & Park is one of the most influential platforms for any artist to appear on, and rarely is a reggae/dancehall artist featured (one “reggae” artist who’s videos air on the show regularly would be Sean Kingston, but that’s mostly due to his relentlessly commercial appeal, teenage fan base, and bubble gum pop lyrics). As the official video (watch it after the jump) demonstrates, “Show It” is a definite club-banger poised for commercial success, and it goes without saying that Demarco and Craig would have no reservations about seeing some of that mainstream $$ find it’s way into their pockets…
More often than not, for a Caribbean artist (currently living and recording in Jamaica, not just born there) to appear in the US top 40 charts and media, they would have to release a song that features an already successful artist in the states. That would normally apply to an R&B singer contributing a catchy hook, and subsequent marketing and promotional draw. However, Demarco keeps it authentic JA by recruiting Craig from Voicemail (a 3-piece group from JA consisting of Craig, Kevin, and O’Neil*) as the feature for the song.
A few notable collaborations in reggae that made their way to US radio/TV were Sean Paul & Rihanna’s “Break It Off”, Baby Cham’s iconic hit “Ghetto Story” (which didn’t get real airplay until a remix was dropped with Alecia Keys) and Damian Marley & Nas’s “Road To Zion”, which clearly made an impact on popular culture subsequently leading to their recently released full-length collab “Distant Relatives.”
Every now and then it goes the other way around, and a reggae artist is brought on board for the remix AFTER a tune starts to take off. An example of that would be UK star Estelle’s “Come Over” which only escalated once Sean Paul laced the remix. Another big one in the last couple of years was John Legend recruiting Buju Banton for his one-drop anthem “Can’t Be My Lover.” The “Coolie Dance” riddim was another wildly popular inception into the commercial market, and featured huge tunes from Billboard-charted artists like Pitbull (“Culo”) and Nina Sky (“Move Ya Body”). Mr. Vegas had a massive tune “Pull Up”, and Elephant Man’s “Jook Gal” hit radio and TV hard once Twista and Sean Paul (of the rap group Youngbloodz) got on deck for the remix. Demarco also voiced “Can’t Believe It” last year over the instrumental for T-Pain and Lil Wayne’s hit of the same name, showing he’s not afraid to mingle in pop territory and put his stamp on it.
Demarco could easily see a charted hit on his hands with “Show It”, and I wouldn’t be surprised to hear this tune poolside in Vegas sandwiched between all the other top 40 hip hop and R&B nonsense, the same way Coolie Dance infiltrated in 2004. Although “Show It” is undeniably poppy, Demarco is more commonly known for authentic and moving dancehall and roots music. He of course has nuff gal tunes and street anthems as most dancehall artists do, yet he always remains true to himself and his fans worldwide can see that. So, if his songs that have already featured artists like Busta Rhymes, MOP, Vybz Kartel and Elephant Man haven’t caught your attention, “Show It” gives the public a new opportunity to get familiar with a very talented and diverse artist in reggae, and now American popular music.
Since it was aired on 106 & Park as “New Joint Of The Day” the video has now been picked up by MTV Jams and was featured on worldstarhiphop.com, where it has already received over 6 million views. It is also being heavily rotated on RETV, Hype TV and on CVM’s Hitlist, as well as premiering as video of the week on the Caribbean’s #1 video-tube myvideoflex.com