Words by Jesse Serwer
Photos by Eddie Pearson
A comical tribute to girls as sweet as condensed milk, Porgie & Murda’s “Condense” literally took over Crop Over season in Barbados last year. Flash forward to this year’s edition of Barbados’ summer festival (which concluded last month) and another duo, Leadpipe and Saddis, had an equally big impact with the more straight-laced, but equally fun tune called “Ah Feeling.”
By now, most Bajans have figured out that Porgie & Murda and Leadpipe and Saddis are one and the same. Prior to the advent of Porgie & Murda, singers, musicians and songwriters Osvaldo Reid and Reshawn Ince had been pretty much anonymous, despite ten years of working in Barbados’ soca scene as Leadpipe and Saddis. After initially picking up the camera to amuse themselves in the studio, they developed an online sitcom which follows the adventures of Porgie, a buffoonish simpleton who tries a little too hard, and Murda as his “straight man” — the Laurel to his Hardy. It’s digital Vaudeville, streaming from Barbados.
“The Porgie & Murda Show wasn’t planned, it was just vibes,” says Leadpipe aka Porgie. “How it started was with an iPhone. We [were] bored, and we just started recording.”
Soon, the pair were filming with a real camera and working with other writers. By the time of the show’s sixth episode, which featured Porgie’s version of Lil Wayne’s “No Worries,” the characters had gone viral in Barbados, becoming as popular among local kids as any afternoon cartoon.
“Because Porgie and Murda was hot during Crop Over season last year, we said, ‘Since we’re artists, why don’t we do a song as Porgie & Murda, cause that’s what’s hot,” Leadpipe says. “We were Leadpipe and Saddis for 9, 10 years without recognition. And then [with] people recognizing Porgie & Murda it was like [snaps fingers] ‘Doorway!’ We just worked with the Porgie & Murda thing, and then brought Leadpipe and Saddis the next year, and it worked.”
Now, the duo are stars are in Barbados two times over, even getting booked on the same shows as Porgie & Murda and Leadpipe and Saddis. Collectively, they’ve brought a fresh jolt of fresh energy to an island where the biggest music stars (Alison Hinds, Edwin Yearwood) have all been around for decades. This year saw Porgie & Murda return for season two of their web series. They’ve also just completed their debut feature film, entitled Porgie & Murda In Unusual Suspects, will premiere in Barbados next month.
“Basically, there’s a stolen artifact,” Leadpipe says. “We are normal, crazy dudes who found cash and we found the artifact.” As with the series, the dialogue is largely improvised. “One of the actors in the movie, Charles Ince, wrote the script, but we freestyled most of the dialogue. It was very easy. The team [behind the movie] was all people who grew up together.”
Unusual Suspects is set to premiere next month at the Old Empire Theater in Bridgetown. After that they plan to travel the island and host a movie night in each of Barbados’ 11 parishes.
Leadpipe and Saddis had several tunes in party rotation this year in Barbados— collectively as a duo, and separately as solo artists (And Porgie & Murda scored another hit with “Benup.“). But none has had a bigger impact than “Ah Feeling,” for which the duo won both of Barbados’ Road March awards, Tune of De Crop and Jam Tune. The pair, who have written songs for Trini soca stars Patrice Roberts and Denise Belfon as well as local Bajan acts, also received “The Songwriter of the Season” award in Barbados.
One of the best soca tracks this year from any island, “Ah Feeling” is now making its presence felt outside of Barbados. We’d bet money that this one will be a Road March contender come Trinidad Carnival time. Leadpipe and Saddis recently took their show to the U.S., performing at various Labor Day weekend events in New York City, as well as a “Soca Day Rave” at the Barbados Social Club in Philly.
LargeUp met up with the duo (with DJ Jam Central and their manager Ingrid Holder in tow) at The Bajan Cafe in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, during their recent stay in New York. Scroll on for our photo series, with commentary from Leadpipe, Saddis, Porgie and Murda.
“Basically people just like what we bring. It’s so natural and organic. That’s the main comments that we get about the episodes.”
“Leadpipe in Barbados is a bread. A real, real hard bread… It might break your teeth to get a bite.”
“This our mother, manager, agent, and the whooper of our butts.”
“A lot of people get confused by Porgie & Murda and Leadpipe and Saddis. We started as Leadpipe and Saddis, we been singing for 10 years together. The online sitcom, that’s how Porgie & Murda was created and branded out to the world. Well, to Barbados. So that’s how they know us.”
“I was on my way to a show and this guy was like ‘Porgie and Murda!’ And he was from Colombia. I was like ‘How does he even understand? What’s going on?”