Oct 26, 2014
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Posts tagged: ToppaTop10

Toppa Top 10: Top 10 Beres Hammond Classics

Words by Eddie STATS Houghton, Martei Korley and Jesse Serwer, Photo by Martei Korley.

Beres shows if off at New York Reggae Festival, Coney Island '94

Beres at New York Reggae Festival, Coney Island ’94

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Toppa Top 10: Top Caribbean Culture Documentaries

Words by DJ Gravy, Eddie STATS Houghton, Martei Korley, Jason “J-RockaZ” Orford and Jesse Serwer


It seems like we’re hearing about another new documentary film training its lens on Caribbean culture every day now. In just the past few months on LargeUp, we’ve told you about brand-new or upcoming films on Lee Perry, the West Indian cricket teams of the 1970s and 1980s, two separate ones on Bob Marley (from Last King in Scotland director Kevin McDonald and one-time Bob flame Esther Anderson, respectively) as well as the Afro Latinos documentary series said to be heading to PBS. With this week’s Tribeca Film Festival hosting the U.S. premieres of the aforementioned cricket flick Fire In Babylon and When The Drum Is Beating, about Haiti’s long-running Septentrional band, (and that Lee Perry doc, Upsetter, touring US theaters), we figured it was time to revisit and count down some of the top Caribbean culture documentaries from the past.

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Toppa Top 10: Top Gunslinger-Inspired Deejays

Words by Jesse Serwer

Clint Eastwood - 1978 - Death In The Arena       [Cha Cha LP F

The Wild West has been a major influence on reggae music since its beginnings in the late ’60s, when Spaghetti Westerns like The Good, The Bad and the Ugly were all the rage in Jamaica’s moviehouses. Initially this took the shape of reinterpreted theme music or one-off novelty tributes. By the late ’70s and early ’80s, dancehall artists were modeling themselves after gunslingers both real (John Wayne, Clint Eastwood) and fictional (Josey Wales, Lone Ranger). Many of today’s deejays have likely never seen a Western, but the influence still persists in the form of the badman, the antihero asserting himself against Babylon by any means necessary–the Jamaican answer to the gunslinger. For an illustration of this connection that’s more rooted in fact than many realize, look no further than Jamaica’s greatest movie, The Harder They Come. It is only after watching 1966’s Django in a rowdy theater that Jimmy Cliff’s aspiring reggae singer Ivanhoe goes from naive country boy to rogue cop-killer. In case the connection isn’t clear, the final scene where Ivan meets his demise in a police shootout is intercut with flashbacks to the crowd watching Django. Here’s a look at how shoot-em-up flicks inspired some of reggae/dancehall’s real-life anti-heroes.

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Toppa Top 10: Top 10 Garnet Silk Tunes

Words by Jesse Serwer


This past Saturday, April 2, would have been the 45th birthday of one of reggae/dancehall’s golden voices: Garnet Silk. A supremely righteous, one-man antidote to the slackful ’90s, Garnet Damion Smith (“Silk” was a reference to his supernaturally smooth vocal tones) helped bring cultural consciousness and spiritual themes back into fashion in Jamaican music in the early 1990s. He was, many say, on his way to becoming his generation’s Bob Marley when he was killed in a house fire while attempting to rescue his mother in December, 1994, less than three years after the release of his breakthrough recordings. Today, Silk is regarded with reverence by the over-30 dancehall crowd but is little known outside of the Caribbean music world. Here’s a look at some of his quintessential recordings, all from his brief heyday between 1992 and 1994.

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Toppa Top 10: South x Southwest Edition

Words by Jesse Serwer and Eddie STATS Houghton

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Toppa Top 10: Top 10 UK Dub & Reggae Anthems

Words by Eddie STATS Houghton, Jason “J-Rockaz” Orford, Gabriel Heatwave and DJ Gravy.


All this talk about Gappy Ranks, Reggae Britannia and Rastamouse has got us thinking about how much sterling-quality reggae has come out of the island over the years. The big island. No, the other big island. The United Kingdom. Here are some of our personal favorites. Dennis! Come back wit’ me apple pie…

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