Natalie Storm is already off to a storming new year.
The versatile DJ, singer and model is the real deal. She's got potent lyrics, a sultry singing voice and gyal caaan style in a she heels!
Of particular note are a couple of her new videos, which are must-sees. "Look Pon Mi" is produced by UK garage guru Sticky, and the beat is a funky-bashment hybrid called the Jumeirah riddim. Mad ting! Tastemakers like SF producer Kush Arora are hammering that one in the clubs.
Equally hot is the hardcore dancehall bubbler "God Bless Me," featuring ninja choreography and exuberant costumes. Storm and her personal stylist are on their game right now.
Had the privilege to interview Ms. Storm a few days ago. She had just been recording with Ward 21, the forward-thinking Kingston dancehall crew. It'll be interesting to see what they come up with this year given that both W21 and Storm are open to emerging club styles including electro, dubstep and garage.
Finally, Storm shows her ability to rock a ballad on her latest single, "Permanent Hiding," (download) a single that swiftly rising on the reggae charts.
Speaking of new riddims, I'm really feeling Linton "TJ" White's new D.N.A. riddim, which has an old school Dave Kelly feel to it. Here's Spragga pon it!
SPRAGGA BENZ - STYLE - D.N.A RIDDIM - TJ RECORDS-21STmp3 by dancehallstraight
UK vintage reggae specialist label Pressure Sounds release a special deluxe version of the Harder Shade of Black rhythm. Produced by Leonard "Santic" Chin, the album features Gregory Isaacs, Horace Andy and Augustus Pablo among others. The famous riddim, first made popular by Studio One is an instrumental variation of Lennon and McCartney's "Norwegian Wood." It's been versioned countless times, but Santic's lick drops hard.
In other news:
• Reformed 80s ska pioneers The Specials will play select US tour dates starting at LA's Club Nokia on April 15 and Coachella Music Festival in Palm Springs (Indio) on April 16.
• Soaring vocalist and DigiCell Rising Star finalist Romain Virgo's debut album drops on VP in May.
• The new single by Monsoon "Keep On Loving You" sees the roots vocalist continue to rise in the ranks with confident conscious music.
• UK reggae/dancehall sing-jay Gappy Ranks, who has previously recorded with producers Jazwad, Peckings, Stingray and others, has signed to Greensleeves.