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When one of soca’s biggest names, Bunji Garlin teamed up with game-changing newcomers Jus Now, the musical landscape of the 2014 Carnival season tipped off its axis a bit, resulting in the infectious and rhythmic manifestation of drum and bass that is “Truck On D Road.”
The ViKing’s lyrics and the production team’s innovative perspective resonated so well that the single not only elicited parodies (specifically one involving a “Cow on D Road”) but one of hip-hop’s biggest rising stars decided to add his flavor to it as well. A$AP Ferg, the Harlem rapper of Trini heritage who’d previously dipped his soca waters with his “Carnival Tabanca” remake “Petit Valley,” turned up on a Truck On the Road remix placing his dutty-minded vocals over a modified, hip-hop-meets-EDM version of the original beat.
Words by Marcha M. Johnson
With the 2015 Trinidad and Tobago Carnival Season picking up, producers have been steadily releasing riddims featuring soca’s biggest names and, in the case of the Forest Park riddim, one of reggae’s biggest names.
“Hill and Gully Ride” is a traditional Jamaican mento song first recorded by Lord Composer in the early 1950s, and sung for many years well before that by workmen constructing new roads. A reference to the highs and lows of Jamaican topography and, in turn, Jamaican life, “Hill and Gully Ride” is a phrase capable of putting pretty much anything in Jamaica into perspective and, as such, it’s been re-used as a title for numerous songs (and one of the island’s longest-running TV series) by different artists over the years.
In 1994, the same year he hit No. 1 on Billboard with “Here Comes the Hotstepper,” Ini Kamoze returned to Jamaica to voice his own “Hill and Gully Ride” for producer Philip “Fattis” Burrell, of XTerminator Reocrds fame. Though it’s not one of his best-known songs, it ranks up there with “World A Reggae” and the original “Hot Stepper” among his best songs thanks to a wicked combination of qualuty production and illuminating lyrics. Fattis would later remix the track for release in 1998, and that version might be even better.