Words by Jesse Serwer
Photos by Martei Korley
If you want to talk about bashment soca, if you want to talk about wukking up, if you want to talk about any of the things that make Bajans get dibby in a fete, you have to talk about Lil Rick. For an entire generation, the artist, DJ and producer has been Barbados’ preeminent party starter. In 2010, his voice spread across the Caribbean and beyond, as his single “Guh Down” (or “Go Dung,” as it’s sometimes styled) took Barbados’ dancing culture worldwide. The track, as perfect of a bridge between dancehall and soca as there ever has been or possibly ever could be, is still a must-play in any Caribbean fete, guaranteed to bring the energy levels to their peak. Just ask Rihanna…
Rick’s enduring popularity was confirmed this past weekend, as he was crowned Barbados’ Party Monarch for his 2016 Crop Over single “I’z A Bajan.” And it will be once more this week as he hosts his annual Dis is Rick concert, one of the biggest fetes of the Crop Over season. Two decades after he first hit the scene with songs like “Hard Wine,” Lil Rick is the walking embodiment of Bajan soca culture.
LargeUp visited Rick in June at his house in Crane, Barbados, home to his Kennel Studios, as he and fellow producer Dwain “Dwaingerous” Antrobus were putting the finishing touches on the Zika Riddim, a collection of bashment soca singles for Crop Over 2016, including Rick’s “Brek Down De Fence” and “Bubble-ish” by two of Rick’s children, known as the Hypa Kidz. We were surprised to learn that, for someone known for wild performances and turning parties all the way up, Rick is actually quite shy and introverted. In the second episode of LargeUp’s The Music of Barbados video series spotlighting the sounds of the Crop Over season, Rick opens up about his “two personalities,” his roots in reggae, creating Barbados’ bashment soca sound, and the art of wukking up.
Watch The Music of Barbados with Lil Rick below, watch Pt. 1 with Alison Hinds here, and listen to “Brek Down De Fence” and more tracks from Lil Rick on LargeUp’s Crop Over 2016 playlist on Apple Music.
Series Produced by Jesse Serwer and Paul Parris
Directed by Martei Korley
Associate Producer: Tashida Cox
Shot by Martei Korley, Kwesi Trotman and Ross Lavine
Edited by Ravi Lloyd
Music: Zika Riddim by Bass Ink Productions
“All is Rum” by Lil Rick (produced by King Bubba FM)
Assistance Provided by: Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc.
Special Thanks: Dwain Antrobus, Santia Bradshaw and Ruel Ward