Photo by Martei Korley
Music from the U.S. Virgin Islands is having a moment. Last year was a banner one for the USVI reggae scene, with Pressure Busspipe and Midnite each dropping two stellar albums. In 2015, it’s been all about R City. In October, brothers Timothy (aka Timo) and Theron Thomas dropped their debut major-label album, What Dreams Are Made Of on the heels of their massive single “Locked Away” featuring Adam Levine. The track peaked at No. 6 on the Hot 100, and topped Billboard’s Pop Songs chart. While this was brand-new territory for an act from the U.S. Virgin Islands, the duo have a long history on the pop charts as songwriters for the likes of Rihanna, Nicki Minaj and Miley Cyrus.
“I remember when OutKast went to accept an award and they went up there, and said, ‘The South got something to say,'” Theron Thomas says. “I think the Virgin Islands got something to say, and we here. I think it’s time for people to embrace it.”
His brother Timothy adds, “When it came time to our project, we made sure to embrace our Caribbean roots. Because that is the one ting that makes us different from everybody else in pop culture.”
Here, the duo formerly known as Rock City bring us a primer on Virgin Islands music, selecting some of their favorite V.I. anthems, past and present