Jul 31, 2014
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Now Things

Check It Deeply: Reggae Goes Soca

Words by Michellee Nelson—Mr-Vegas-Shock-Dem

There was a time not that long ago where reggae and soca artists were at odds with one another, instead of in harmony. Check out this video from Reggae Sunsplash ’91, where foundation deejay Charlie Chaplin goes in on calypso.

But in recent years, Jamaican artists known for making reggae and dancehall have put out soca records in growing numbers. Though Jamaicans like Byron Lee and the Dragonaires have made calypso for decades, you could say Beenie Man led the current wave with 1998′s “Jump and Whine”, among the first tunes from a reggae act to appear on a Soca Gold compilation. As Carnival has grown in popularity in Jamaica, soca’s influence on the island’s music has grown, with songs like “Jump” and “Daggerin” from RDX, Aidonia’s “Bruki,” and “Wet Fete” off Gyptian’s latest album, SLR, fusing dancehall with soca rhythms to produce some of the biggest Caribbean tunes of the past couple years.

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Beyond The Voice: 5 Tunes From Tessanne Chin

Words by Michellee Nelson~

Tessanne- Chin

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Now Things: Exclusive Q+A with De Tropix

Words by Jesse Serwer—

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Now Things: Talking Grime and Bashment with Wiley

Words by Marvin Sparks

Wiley is often called the Godfather of the UK’s vibrant grime scene. Having burst on the scene as a member of garage crew Pay As U Go Cartel, the prolific MC has been considered among the best UK wordsmiths for over ten years. He’s been involved in countless pivotal moments in underground music history, discovered and nurtured more artists than your average A&R, sparked the recent wave of grime MC’s scoring hits with electro-pop fused singles, and is generally an all-around legend. That said, Evolve or Be Extinct is an apt title for his eighth full-length release. The Bow E3, London-raised MC explores various styles, fusing grime, electro, hip hop, dancehall and just general Wiley productions you can’t call anything (is the Wiley-coined term “Eski” still available?).

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LargeUp TV: Now Things with Acmatic

Words by Jesse Serwer:::Video and Photo by Martei Korley—

I first became aware of Acmatic through their video for “The Power,” and was equally intrigued by the song’s dark, synth-pop sound and the video’s distinctive visuals, featuring a disaffected teen with a cape and paper plate for a face. This was a band with an aesthetic unlike anything I’d seen from out of Jamaica. Something new and fresh was happening musically in the land of reggae and dancehall that people from elsewhere would never expect to hear from JA. As I learned more about the group, I found that they weren’t a Jamaican new-wave band, like I’d thought after hearing “The Power,” but a chameleon-like entity of indeterminate size (We’re still not exactly sure how many members there are) that started out as an underground hip-hop group. When a second, equally impressive video, for the anthemic punk song “Silver Nimbus,” emerged last summer, it only added to the intrigue.

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Now Things: A Q+A with Watch the Throne Producer Sham “Sak Pase” Joseph

Words by Jesse Serwer—

Haitian-American producer Shama (Sham) Joseph first landed on our radar with his production for Rihanna’s “Man Down.” The reggae-flavored hit (now officially a touchstone) brought RiRi back to her Caribbean roots but also grabbed our attention with the opening tag, “Sak Pase!”— “What’s happening” in Kreyòl. Building on the momentum of “Man Down,” Sham placed “Who Gon Stop Me” and “Made it in America,” two of the best tracks on Kanye West and Jay-Z’s blockbuster Watch the Throne album. Apparently, he was just getting warmed up, though, as a partial list of the artists he’s working with currently reads like a list of hip-hop, R&B and dancehall’s biggest hitmakers of the last 10 years: Sean Paul, T.I., Keyshia Cole, Usher, Ciara, Busta Rhymes, Chris Brown, Mavado. So whether you’ve got Haitian friends or not, get used to hearing “Sak Pase!” a whole hell of a lot. We recently spoke with the Fort Lauderdale, Florida native over the phone from his current homebase in Atlanta.

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