Friday, May 27, 2011

Summer Sounds: Revved Up By Reggae

Summer is around the corner and that means clubs, radio stations and music players will be bumping a new batch of reggae tunes. Producers in Jamaica and abroad work hard through the late winter and early spring months so that their music is ready to capture reggae fans' attention in the warmer months.

Last year Vybz Kartel and Serani had multiple hits, while Gappy Ranks and Duane Stephenson were heating up the roots circuit. Oh, and lickle tune by Gyptian called "Hold Yuh" was starting to pick up steam too. So who will reign supreme this summer? Who will have a summer anthem or the club scorcher?

Here's a few picks and predictions -- new songs and riddims that look to sweet-up our parties and headphones.

Pictured above is Brooklyn's Jhaytea, a new artist from the R.B.I. camp. His voice is like a cross between Demarco and Jah Cure - gritty and passionate with an auto-tune sheen added to the higher registers. Two one-drop selections, "No More Bad News" on the Eternity Riddim and "Super Woman" on the Cardiac Bass Riddim, definitely deserve your attention. There's also a slick video for his dancehall track "Closer Baby." Check it!

Speaking of sweet music, it doesn't getting any sweeter than the one Cocoa Tea. The veteran artist who foresaw the election of Barack Obama with his tribute song is back inna  lovers style with "A Love Like Yours And Mine," produced by Platinum Camp. In addition to a US tour that kicks off June 26 in New York, Cocoa Tea will perform at the 2012 Olympics in London.

"A Love Like Yours..." is smooth lovers rock reggae with superb background vocals and full live band production that recalls Gregory Isaacs or Freddy McGregor's 1980s material. "Like a ray of summer sunshine" sings Cocoa on the tune, which has definite chart potential. Listen or buy it on iTunes.

Another reggae icon, William "Bunny Rugs" Clarke, is set to release a new album soon. He's previewing it with three new tracks available now. "Just Cant Deny,"  "Kurfew" and the Sly and Robbie-produced "Love is Blind" are all quality songs from this soulful veteran. Rugs told the Jamaica Observer recently that he's spent three years working on the new project. 

Both Stephen Marley and Ziggy Marley have new albums out in June. Ziggy's  Wild and Free, his fourth solo album is released June 14 2011 on Tuff Gong Worldwide produced with friend and collaborator Don Was in LA as well as in Jamaica. Stephen's Revelation: The Root of Life (Universal) features guests Capleton, Spragga Benz and Ziggy too. Read ForwardEver's interview with Stephen in United Reggae!

Other recommended reggae and one-drop singles:

Anthony B "Sing To Me" (listen) The Bobo Rasta in a reflective, romantic mood.
Romain Virgo "I Am Rich In Love," (official video) uplifting lovers rock on Lifeline, produced by Niko Browne.
Ziggy Marley "Foward To Love," (download) funky, positive steppers tune on Tuff Gong.
Cocoa Tea "Love-Like-Yours and Mine," produced by Platinum Camp.
Da'Ville "When I'm With You" (download) on the I Believe Riddim from Smart Move Records, UK. 

Recommended Roots Riddims:  

Skateland Killer (Maximum Sound) Listen Features Alborosie, Luciano and Tarrus Riley.
Sweet Wata (Juke Boxx) Peter Morgan, Busy Signal, Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel and more.
Step By Step (Rumble Rock) Featuring Anthony B, Fire Star, Black Prophet. Buy on iTunes.
Gorilla (Necessary Mayhem) Featureing Chucky Star, Cali P, Macka B and more.  Listen.
Dem Talking (Reggaeland Productions) Featuring Ginjah, Sizzla, Jah Mali and more. Listen

And here's a few more freebies from our Canadian dub friends!
Dubmatix “Is This Love Remix” (download)
Earlyworm "Crawling From The Roots" (download or remix it!)