Words by Paul Parris
The LargeUp family and I roll tight like King Bubba and rum. (Maybe you saw The Music of Barbados video series we put together last summer, starring Alison Hinds, Lil Rick, Peter Ram and Leadpipe & Saddis?) So it’s only right that I report on the best of the best, music-wise, from Barbados’ Cropover 2017. Listen up, and get yourself ready for Grand Kadooment this Monday!
Porgie + Murda, “Shackle Out”
Everyone’s favorite bashment soca duo have returned to form this year with a pair of bashment tunes: “Hop in De Bar” on Dwaingerous’ Ramen and Bread riddim, and “Shackle Out” on the Dutty Shackles riddim, which they co-produced with Monstapiece. Porgie and Murda (aka multi-talented duo Leadpipe & Saddis) have been killing every stage show with this song and its infectious dance — an ode to the early naught’s Harlem Shake that has taken over Crop Over. Check out the #ShackleOutChallenge on IG, and watch as Porgie leeeeeeans.
Marzville, “Give It To Ya”
After a super successful 2016 with bashment anthem “Bang Bim,” Marzville returned to his Sweet Soca roots this year with the Super Lynks-produced “Give It To Ya,” which made its way to the Sweet Soca finals and is in contention for People’s Monarch. Everywhere I’ve seen him perform for the season, the audience turns into his choir as they sing along to the infectious melody reminiscent of the classic 90s soca tune “Worky Worky.”
Two-time Bashment Soca king Stiffy took a risk that has paid off tremendously with “Mavis.” Inspired by the famous Bajan party starter Mara Rose, the song pays tribute to the women with the wire waists and no inhibitions. It paints a perfect picture of the action that goes down, especially when Crop Over is in full swing. Production-wise, Peter Coppin from Monstapiece shows why he is one of the top producers in the Caribbean as he seamlessly blends Barbados’ Bashment Soca sound with Grenada’s Jab Jab to complement Stiffy’s lyrical exercise.
Fadda Fox, “Good Ole Days”
From Fox played me the demo of this tune when I brought him to Delaware for my party, Dollar Whine, I told him this was a hit. As I watched him shell Soca on De Hill with it this year, I knew it was gone. This one is a contender for Road March 2017.
Holla Bak, “Sweet Like Ooh”
If there is one sweet soca tune that captures the way people feel about the current economic turn in Barbados, it would be this one. I get a pain similar to Nesbeth’s “My Dream” from Holla Bak as he welcomes the festival as an escape from the everyday struggle. The B Roca-directed video is the perfect accompaniment to the record as well.
Marvay, “Stars Align”
“Antidote” is the song that made it to the Sweet Soca finals but Marvay‘s second release for the season is one of my favorite 2017 Crop Over tunes. It represents the perfect song for a love affair started during the season. I can see this being sang to the young lady you keep “bouncing up” in a fete.
Sanctuary, “Pick Me Up”
Rum songs are a staple of Soca music and it’s guaranteed one will always be in the running for the top spot of Crop Over. This year that song is Sanctuary‘s “Pick Me Up.” We all know Kadooment weekend can test one’s alcohol tolerance and sometimes it gets the best of you but, with this tune you will always have someone by your side to give you a helping hand.
Lil Rick, “Blessing”
“Crop Over is a blessing, not a curse…” Lil Rick‘s tribute to the “sweetest summer festival” is a must play at every event at Crop Over 2017. Rick represents the culture in a way only he can as he weaves the sweet lyrics Barbados is known for with a bashment vibe that will have you chipping in one step and finding somebody to wuk up with in the next, over A+ production from Dwaingerous. The video for the song shows the Hypa Dawg from the beginning of his career to the present and shows why Bajans love Crop Over as much as we do.
Scrilla continues his three-year Bashment Soca run with the clever, cheeky “Wood,” produced by DJ Spider. On the surface, the song is about a young lady who’s looking for the right “wood” to fix her needs. The stripped-down production punctuated by carnival whistle gives Scrilla room to build out the story and has a few must-sing refrains, especially for the women, and they deliver them at every event like they’re doing it for the first time.
The young singer Shaquille has a hit on his hands with the Darien Bailey-produced “Collateral.” One of the more interesting twists on a song I’ve heard in a while, “Collateral” targets an old acquaintance who has an outstanding debt Shaq finds a way to get covered. What’s surprising is how the ladies have reacted to it — many are actually happy to be the “Collateral” which goes to show how free up summer in Barbados can be.
Mr. Consistency Hypasounds has done it again with “Dip.” A continuation of the Sweet Soca meets Bashment Soca sound Hypasounds has been developing, this ladies’ favorite is sure to cause problems at carnivals and fetes across the world. And the Deejay Puffy road mix ups the ante on the bashment even more. Fellas, please make sure you’re up for it before you challenge the ladies on this one. The results could be disastrous to your hips.
Imported Song of the Season:
Freezy “Split in Di Middle” (St. Lucia)
Freezy‘s “Split in Di Middle” has taken over every Carnival this year and Crop Over 2017 is no different. Part of the Dennery Segment sound that is essentially the Saint Lucian equivalent to Barbados’ Bashment Soca, this is the go-to tune to get any fete started.
Jus D, “9” + Joaquin, “Baddest”
I didn’t include my own client’s work in the main list, but Jus D.’s “9” is being positioned as a potential crossover hit, and Joaquin‘s “Baddest” is the crew love anthem for Crop Over 2017.
TC feat. Buggy “Paradise”
Stiffy “Tip and Bend Ova”
King Bubba “Drunk Day”/Bubbaling
Lil Rick “Wait Til Tonight”