by Jodee Brown
With the apparent declining stronghold that Reggae music has within Jamaican culture, one of its premiere disciples hopes the local industry will help that change for the better.
Internationally acclaimed Reggae superstar, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley addressed the local and universal state of Reggae music during an interview on CVM’s OnStage this past Saturday. Marley, who’s spent recent months back home after spending most of 2011 overseas recording and touring, believes that Jamaicans need to once again reap the benefits that Reggae music has provided to fans and musicians worldwide.
With many prominent foreign artistes such as Beyoncé, Justin Beiber and Rihanna using Reggae Riddims in recent hit songs, Marley insists that Jamaicans need to get back to their musical roots and show appreciation for the genre they helped make popular.
“I think Jamaica could pay more homage to their own music themselves. You go out…you don’t hear a lot of cultural music. It’s a bit imbalanced now,” he said.
“Internationally when people hear of Reggae music they still really relate to original, cultural one-drop. They don’t think of what you really hear being played here right now.”
With the globalization of Reggae music at an all-time high, Marley thinks this marks a great opportunity for Jamaican artistes to reclaim their genre and create more avenues internationally.
“It kinda says that the music has grown; it’s big now that everybody’s getting involved and doing it. At the same time, we as Jamaicans need to capitalize on that,” he said.
The youngest son of Reggae icon, Bob Marley also lauded the talent pool Jamaica possesses right now, but urges that they pay attention to key commercial and promotional factors that accompany music once it’s pushed to the masses.
“Jamaica is loaded with talent and loaded with good music. What we do once we finish making the music, what we do with the music after that is where I think we need to concentrate some more on,” he said.
Meanwhile, Marley has been dominating the Jamaican music scene with his two most recent releases, Set Up Shop and Affairs of the Heart, which have received strong acclaim and airplay from the Dancehall/Reggae community. The latter single and accompanying video has already been touted by many observers as the best in Jamaican music so far this year.
Jr. Gong revealed that wants to compile an EP containing Dancehall songs to release in the near future while also stating that he could start work on his new album next month. Additionally, Marley revealed that his label, Ghetto Youths International will soon be promoting upcoming singles for their most recent signing, Wayne Marshall.