Words by Jesse Serwer—
It looks like it might be reggae week over at Rolling Stone. Besides for running some controversial comments from Snoop Lion about Bunny Wailer, the magazine’s website interviewed Island Records founder Chris Blackwell (that’s him above left, with Jimmy Buffett and friend at Blackwell Rum’s US launch party two years ago), who offered some interesting perspectives on Jamaican music, past and present. Besides for speaking on the 40th anniversary of Bob Marley’s Catch a Fire, Blackwell shouted out some of his favorite current Jamaican acts: Chronixx, No-Maddz, Raging Fyah and Shaggy.
There’s a guy called Chronixx I think is really great. There’s a band called the No-Maddz who are more like theater than a group. They’re actors. It’s this whole audio-visual kind of thing. It’s different. But they’re really good, really talented and really smart. There’s the band called Raging Fyah that has the essence of classic reggae, but it doesn’t sound like old music from 50-odd years ago. Then there’s also the oldie but goodie, Shaggy. He’s doing some great music. Those four are good examples. They also happen to be groups I’m talking to. So, check them out.
All of which begs the question, is Blackwell (no longer an active principal in Island) starting a new Jamaican music venture? Meanwhile, he also offered an honest opinion of Marley’s Burnin’ album (it wasn’t up to par, he says) and shares the story of how a group of Rastafarians saved him from dying of thirst in a mangrove swamp as a young man. Interesting stuff. Read the whole thing here, and watch our “Chris Blackwell Talks Rum” LargeUp TV episode, if you never have yet.