Words by Richard “Treats” Dryden
Canada’s music scene, as we’ve learned, is rich with ties to the Caribbean. That influence is on full display in “Gwan Big Up Urself,” the new music video by Roy Woods. The Brampton, Ontario native honors the West Indian Diaspora with authentic flavors: Woods wears two different mesh tanks (one white, the other red, gold and green), ladies wear T-shirts bearing the Jamaican flag, and a pivotal scene is filmed inside Ali’s West Indian Roti Shop—the Toronto eatery known for serving up some of the city’s best Trinidadian eats.
On Walking At Dawn, Woods’ debut LP, Woods echoes the melodic flows of his OVO Sound label boss, Drake, and, just as Drake has delved into dancehall territory lately, Woods follows suit with “Gwan Big Up Urself.” Even though Drizzy is absent from the “Gwan Big Up Urself” visual (save the overload of OVO product placement), a key endorsement comes from Kardinal Offishall. The Toronto rap icon has a cameo in a homage to the viral “Jamaicans Never Have Food!” clip by sketch comedy crew 4YallEntertainment. Kardi, alongside Jae Richards, the comedian from the original skit, plays the manager of a food shop that, in a moment anyone who’s ever frequented a West Indian takeaway shop will find familiar, does not actually have any of the items on its menu. Watch the original version here, and Gwan LargeUp Yourself with our Caribana Season and Now Things playlists on Apple Music, featuring music by Roy Woods.