Vinci

“Dancehall has long since ceased being strictly driven by what is coming out of Jamaica and Jah Vinci’s debut album aptly recognizes this with a forward-thinking, crossover approach. Mixing popular worldwide styles while remaining firmly planted in Jamaica’s latest sounds, Ghetto Born is a seamlessly diverse offering that is bound to find forwards whether at a Kingston sound system party or in a south London club.”

The new Jah Vinci LP that dropped this year is criminally overlooked. Sure, Popcaan’s Where We Come From was the highest profile dancehall album to come out this year and the popularity of its lead single, “Everything Nice” is undeniable. Those looking for a near flawless balance of hardcore dancehall and fiery reggae though should give, Jah Vinci’s Ghetto Born a listen. Here’s my profile of Jah Vinci that dropped earlier this year via MTV Iggy.

Jesse Royal

“If you don’t believe Royal is next in line for the throne, just ask Chronixx — currently the most well-known vocalist of this exciting movement. When making his US television debut on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon this summer, Chronixx shared his good fortune, incorporating verses of Jesse Royal’s infectious roots-heavy hit “Modern Day Judas” into his live performance. The musical nod was in one sense acknowledging that it was Royal’s track that originally found worldwide popularity over the Rootsman Riddim, which Chronixx later cut to “Here Comes Trouble” over his own hit.”

I profiled Jesse Royal for MTV Iggy recently. Personally, I think Royal has a big future ahead of him if he stays prolific. Chronixx is undoubtedly the most popular and well-known figure in Jamaica’s roots reggae revival but Royal might be the most talented. We’ll see what the future holds but until then, read my profile on him and stay tuned!

Tessanne

“I didn’t want to be put in a box. Dancers don’t learn one type of dance, you know? They learn ballet, jazz, modern, tap and so on. I feel the same way about music. All these different sounds and influences are what create me as an artist. I am very proud of it and very proud that we were able to incorporate not just the new sounds like soul and dubstep and rock but to also stay in contact with my roots with the reggae as well.”

I did a straight Q and A with season 5 winner of The Voice, Tessanne Chin. As many already know, Chin was born in Jamaica. Her rise to stardom inadvertently put a spotlight on the not widely known Chinese-descendent population on the island.

Read my piece on her whirlwind year, her new album and what it means to be Jamaican via MTV IGGY.

Popcaan

“This move towards more universally relatable themes is heard throughout the album and displayed in the album’s title Where We Come From. According to Popcaan, the use of “We” instead of “I” is intentional.

“It’s not really just my story but the story of the community where I’m from,” Popcaan says. “And that story involves a lot of other people.”

Better late than never with the link. Read my feature for MTV Iggy on Popcaan and his new album Where We Come From came out earlier this summer. Quotes from Dre Skull too! Biggest dancehall star in the world right now? You be the judge.

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“SOJA is not your typical reggae band. They don’t hail from Kingston, London or even California and there isn’t a single Jamaican among them. Instead, the founding members — two white, dreadlocked best friends — hail from just outside Washington D.C. and grew up on a steady diet of Bob Marley and Rage Against the Machine.

Don’t let the peculiar details of the group deceive you, though: SOJA is the real deal.”

Read my latest piece via MTV Iggy profiling the band SOJA and their new album Amid the Noise and Haste. Like them or not, SOJA is arguably the most popular reggae band in the world right now. White Reggae from the US is kind of a big deal.

Last weekend young Jamaican reggae roots revivalist Chronixx appeared on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. It marked a huge chapter in his young career that has seen the singer sky-rocket to notoriety in the past two-three years and emerge as the spearhead of a Rastafarian-driven reggae revival in Jamaica (more on that here).

I’ve had some debates over the significance of this appearance outside of Jamaican/reggae circles. Clearly, the performance and appearance establishes him as one of the biggest (if not the biggest) name in reggae right now. But Chronixx is definitely not the first reggae singer to make an appearance on a major U.S. television show and just how much it will raise his star-status outside the circle of reggae fans who probably have already heard of him is still to be seen.

The Mick Jagger bump certainly won’t hurt though.

Just when the young singer was breaking out in Jamaica, I made it a point to cover not only his growing rise to fame but also the roots-reggae revival he was heading up. In the wake of a major U.S. television performance and a successful free concert in Central Park, it seems a good as any to drop some links from some of my work to revisit how Chronixx and this new breed of reggae got here.

Knowledge:

Positive Vibration: Chronixx’s Rasta Reggae Crusade - MTV Iggy

Scene Report: Jamaica’s Roots Reggae Revival - MTV Iggy

 

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