Words by Jillionaire—
Have you noticed how soca is sounding more and more like U.K. dance music these days? Well, the king of soca, Machel Montano, was about 18 years ahead of his time. A youthful Machel was scooped up by LA-based Delicious Vinyl (the label behind Tone Loc, Young MC and the Pharcyde) in the mid ’90s, resulting in the mostly forgotten ragga-house banger”Come Dig It.” Trini music scholar Jillionaire of Major Lazer remembers the phenomenon.
This is one of my favorite Double M tracks that I still play sometimes. It’s crazy because the song and the video were so ahead of their time—so much of soca music sounds like this now, and is way easier to contextualize for UK/European audiences, as compared to the 160bpm stuff.
When this record dropped, there were people on one side that just didn’t know what to make of Machel… and unfortunately, there was a whole audience who never knew that this existed! This was definitely a precursor to the whole UK Funky movement, and would have gotten way more traction if targeted towards that whole West London audience—think Bugz In The Attic, Phil Asher, and even earlier Switch (yup of Major Lazer).
The video was also something distinctly memorable, specifically the production and the shots. At the time it was unlike anything else that was on TV (yeah, that’s where us old people used to get our music videos)