I-Octane hospitalized following asthma attack

I-Octane has been recovering from an asthma attack in a Kingston hospital

BY: JODEE BROWN

Internationally acclaimed Dancehall/Reggae superstar, I-Octane is recuperating in a Kingston-based hospital after falling ill last week.

A member of I-Octane’s team revealed on Monday that the prominent singjay suffered an asthma attack on Thursday night. According to reports, he was taken to hospital where he’s currently being treated by his physician.

Doctors expect I-Octane to make a full recovery from this attack but have advised him to rest until further reassessments are made.

Given his current health situation, I-Octane will be unable to honor some of his upcoming commitments but hopes to recover as soon as possible so that he can perform for his fans once more.

I-Octane last performed on Dancehall Night atReggae Sumfest 2012 in which he gave a typically rousing set. Additionally, he’s released efforts in July such as Bun It & Laugh, Get Weh Mi Want (Mad Panerama Riddim) andWoman Mi Love (Sounique Riddim).

By TorontoDeejays.com

Flava Squad CEO, Ewan McRae has died

Flava Squad Entertainment founder, Ewan McRae is dead following a shooting incident at his home on Sunday.

BY: JODEE BROWN

The music world once again tries to pick up the pieces following a sudden tragedy as the CEO of Flava Squad Entertainment, Selvin ‘Ewan’ McRae has died.

According to several reports, McRae was shot and killed by unknown assailants at his home in Orlando, Florida on Sunday morning. No further details regarding the shooting have emerged at this time and police are currently investigating the matter.

A native of St. Elizabeth, McRae hailed as the CEO and main promoter for Flava Squad Entertainment since 1999. McRae and theFlava Squad team have produced 12 albums to date including the Quiet Storm Riddim,Addiction Reloaded Riddim and theHazardous Riddim. Additionally, McRae worked with several Dancehall/Reggae superstars including Sizzla, Gyptian, Luciano,Konshens, Warrior King, Lutan Fyah, Delly Ranx and Khago, amongst several others.

McRae also developed a passion for writing since his days at St. Elizabeth Technical High School (S.T.E.T.H.S) and Valencian Community College in Orlando Florida; crafting w several poetry books including The Occupied Mind and The Guilty Truth Revealed.

Under McRae’s leadership, Flava Squad has excelled in the world of promotion, hosting an annual event in Black River, St. Elizabeth dubbed HYPE, featuring performances from many of Jamaica’s stalwarts within the music industry.

McRae’s last message of wisdom came via his official Facebook page eight days ago, writing,“Sometimes our thoughts can be very malicious, covetous and insensitive, nevertheless we should allow the little intelligence within to counteract those negative traits and act out positively.”

By TorontoDeejays.com

Caribbean Carnival parade spectators to be searched

by Chris Kitching (@CP24)

Amid concerns about safety and gun violence in Toronto, spectators in the bleachers at the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival parade will be searched for the first time, organizers say. Stephen Weir, a festival organizer, told CP24 the decision to search bags belonging to some attendees at next month’s event follows the “unfair linkage” between recent gun violence and the summer carnival. More than 600 private security officers have been hired to look for “anything that isn’t allowed,” including weapons, alcohol and illicit drugs, he said.

Weir said it’s impossible to search everyone at the Aug. 4 parade because so many people attend, so security will only search a maximum of 20,000 people who paid to sit in bleachers set up along the parade route. According to organizers, previous parades have drawn a million people. Tickets for seats in the bleachers are usually bought by seniors, families and tourists, said Weir, who doesn’t think security will find any guns, alcohol or drugs in the searches. I don’t expect we’ll find one thing,” he told CP24.

As for the thousands of people who will not be subject to searches along the parade route, Weir said the festival’s security officers do not have the right to search people on a public street. Violent incidents have occurred at the parade in the past, including a shooting that killed one person and wounded two others in 2011. The decision to conduct searches comes amid growing concerns about safety in the wake of several shootings in Toronto.

Last week, four people were killed and more than 25 were wounded in shooting incidents across the city. Toronto police will also have an eye on the parade. Spokesman Const. Victor Kwong said officers will have an increased presence at this event and other events around Toronto. Kwong said festival organizers have the right to order searches of parade attendees. “If you are paying to go to this event you fall under their rules,” Kwong told CP24’s Sue Sgambati. Kwong likened the searches to those conducted at a large sporting event or concert.

By TorontoDeejays.com

New Vybz Kartel song reportedly banned from airwaves

Vybz Kartel and Gaza Slim have recorded a new single, ‘Reparation,’ that’s sparked controversy amongst music lovers for its lyrics addressing scamming.

BY: JODEE BROWN

Incarcerated Dancehall superstar, Vybz Kartelfaces yet another ban from the airwaves after his latest effort has reportedly been banned from playing on radio.

On Wednesday, a new track from Kartel andPG13 singer, Gaza Slim debuted online, to the delight of their listeners. The single, entitledReparation speaks about the ongoing scamming controversies that have taken place in Jamaica during recent months; most notably, the infamous Lotto scam which has triggered a number of arrests including that of Montego Bay’s deputy mayor, Michael Troupe.

However, lyrics from Reparation seemingly suggest that there’s nothing wrong with scamming; insisting that the practice bares no harm as long as any profit obtained doesn’t go towards sparking violence.

more honor,” “Who seh di scammer dem wrong?/ No/ Hungry, poverty, that more wronger/ Better dem dweet than tek up the bomber/ Memba the youth dem nah squeeze trigger/ A just true dem a nigger” and“Mi just warn the youth dem, nuh rob Jamaica/ Doan buy gun fi kill man/ Foreign exchange is good fi the country/ Franklin USA, Sterling England.”

Gaza Slim follows suit in the chorus, singing, “As long as dem nah buy nuh gun, nah support nuh war/ Big up the man dem star from near and far/ Dem call it scam, mi call it reparation / Every ghetto yute is a star, suh dem waan live like one.”

Taking exception to the song’s lyrical content, reports have suggested that the Broadcasting Commission have banned Reparation from the airwaves just days after its emergence. Additionally, a popular disc jock was reportedly suspended for playing the song on radio given that it contained material not fit for airplay.

Reacting to controversy surrounding ReparationGaza Slim remained unapologetic, stating that Jamaica has more to worry about that scamming.

“Jamaica have more problem right now dan lotto scamming that the Government need to sort out. I do music not scamming, and I think that I have the right to do songs about any topic. I am just biggin up the youths who are hustling to make money without shooting and killing anyone. Them jus ban the song because they can, don’t? As weh Worl Boss (Vybz Kartel) say inna di book, a society shouldn’t prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable,” Gaza Slim told the Jamaica STAR.

Fan reaction on YouTube and social media has been mixed regarding Reparation with some music lovers suggesting that Kartel’s latest effort does not encourage young people to scam while others believe that the Jamaican Government is once again using the controversial deejay as a scapegoat.

Vybz Kartel has had material banned from radio before as previous efforts such as Ramping ShopLast Man Standing and Get Wild suffered similar fates. Additionally, the internationally acclaimed deejay had been banned off airwaves in New York and Guyana due to the lyrical content associated with his material.

In Reparation, Kartel deejays lines such as, “Big up every scammer, weh mek U.S. dollar/ Build up the house fi yuh mama/ Western Union people fi gi wi 

Video: Vybz Kartel feat. Gaza Slim – Reparation (July 2012)

By TorontoDeejays.com

Snoop Dogg turns into a ‘Lion,’ drops first Reggae single

Snoop Dogg has recorded his first Reggae single under the new moniker, ‘Snoop Lion.’

BY: JODEE BROWN

Months after internationally acclaimed rap legend, Snoop Dogg filmed a documentary in Jamaica, the prominent artiste has created an alter ego symbolic of the island’s culture and its most popular genre.

In February, Snoop Dogg visited Jamaica as he shot footage for a documentary focusing on the Rastafari Movement as well as the island’s culture. Additionally, the rap icon reportedly recorded a single at Geejam Studios in Portland for his upcoming album,Reincarnated.

Obviously fond of Jamaican folklore and Reggae music, Snoop Dogg recently created a new moniker, Snoop Lion and has recorded his debut single under the new alter-ego dubbed, La La La. Produced by Major Lazer,La La La showcases an authentic Reggae sound as Snoop attempts to speak Jamaican patois. Meanwhile, popular Reggae singer,Jovi Rockwell features on the track as she provides background vocals.

So far, the reception to Snoop Dogg’s change of style has been positive as fans and even Bob Marley’s son, Rohan Marley offered words of encouragement via Twitter (@snoop_lion) to the prominent entertainer.

This past March, Major Lazer’s Diplo hinted during an interview with MTV.com that he andSnoop Dogg will be working on a Reggae album together.

“What we’re doing is a reggae record. It’s like Snoop Dogg and Major Lazer together. It’s all reggae and he’s singing and he’s doing an awesome job and I never knew it, but he had his heart in every song,” he said.

“We’re going to get back into the production of it next month, and I’m really proud of that record. It’s the first record I’ve ever executive-produced and his crew is amazing.”

Major Lazer has significant experience dabbling in Jamaican music, working with highly regarded Dancehall/Reggae acts such as Vybz Kartel, Busy Signal and Mr. Lexx.

Meanwhile, Snoop Lion will give his first live performance during Caribana 2012 next week Friday in Toronto.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Ninja Man calls out Beenie Man for Shabba comments

Ninja Man has taken issue with Beenie Man over comments made regarding Shabba Ranks and his return to Jamaica

BY: JODEE BROWN

A squabble has erupted amongst some of Dancehall’s patriarchs after recent comments made by Beenie Man in the wake of Shabba Ranks’ return to Jamaica.

Shabba Ranks returned to the island following an11 year absence and was arguably the most dominant performer when he graced theReggae Sumfest stage in Montego Bay for the first time since 1994. Shabba received a warm welcome from fans and industry players on his arrival; from being swarmed at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston to hanging out on the town with fellow artistes such as Aidonia and Ishawna before finally receiving his due honors following an epic Sumfest performance.

But no everybody was go-hung about Shabba’s return as fellow Dancehall legend, Beenie Man made some intriguing comments about Dancehall’s ‘Emperor’ as well as his place amongst Dancehall folklore.

During an interview on Television Jamaica’s (TVJ)Entertainment ReportBeenie Man scoffed when asked if Shabba Ranks was the island’s best deejay ever, refusing to comment. Then when queried about Shabba’s reception from fans on his return to Jamaica, Beenie Man raised even more eyebrows.

“Mi can get dat (reception), anybody can get dat, yuh haffi jus’ pay fi it,” Beenie said, seemingly insinuating that Shabba Ranks paid for the motorcade which took him across Kingston.

These comments caught the eyre of many within Dancehall’ circles, including iconic Dancehall superstar, Ninja Man, who accused Beenie Man of being disrespectful towards Shabba Ranks.

“A me buss Shabba, so from you dis Shabba, you dis me. Shabba do work weh nuff artiste never do yet. Him leave Jamaica and give di artiste dem space fi make money. Beenie Man a talk bout how a buy di man buy him motorcade when him come a Jamaica, Beenie Man you badmind Shabba. You too bad-mind,” Ninja Man told the Jamaica STAR.

According to Ninja Man, only certain Jamaican figures could earn such a motorcade and accompanying reception including himself, record-holding track superstar, Usain Bolt and Emperor Haile Selassie I.

“Shabba motorcade full airport. Shabba a me artiste, any man weh violate Shabba, violate me. Beenie Man tek weh the ‘King of the Dancehall’ title from Yellow Man and sound like him waan tek weh the ‘Dancehall Emperor’ title from Shabba Ranks,” he said.

In his defense, Beenie Man insisted that his comments were misconstrued regarding Shabba and his motorcade and that he would never disrespect the Dancehall ‘Emperor’.

“I was saying that to do a motorcade costs money because you have to pay for transportation to take persons to the location and back home. It takes money to organize that. I was not saying that people were paid to go see Shabba,” he told the Jamaica STAR.

“Me? Bad-mind Shabba? Bad-mind Shabba fi wha? Ninja Man has his own opinions. People with good mind and good thoughts would never think of me like that.”

Nevertheless, Ninja Man seems hungry for a lyrical clash with Beenie Man as he defends Shabba’s honor.

“Beenie Man don’t play wid Shabba. Him nuh drop him ting, anything him get him deserve. Give the man him glory. If you waan start the lyrical war, then start it. Me bad like 10 duppy, a long time mi nuh kill no artiste lyrically.”

In the meantime, Ninja Man will be performing at the Jamaica Gleaner sponsored Icons event in downtown Kingston this weekend and will be one of the headliners of the Rum Bar Heat Waveevent slated to take place on Independence Day (August 6).

By TorontoDeejays.com

Freeze keeps it ‘Eva Fresh’ for the summer

Sanjay ‘Freeze’ Pennant and his Zionnoiz/Freeze Productions outfit has dropped their newest compilation, the ‘Eva Fresh Riddim.’

BY: JODEE BROWN

Spawned out of a collaborative effort between producers, Sanjay ‘Freeze’ PennantNorris Griffiths and Manuel Seiber,Zionnoiz/Freeze Records is keeping it fresh for the summer with the release of their brand new project, the Eva Fresh Riddim.

The nicely crafted compilation, now making in-rows on the party circuit and saturating the FM airwaves, features several dancehall chart toppers along with some new bloods within the industry.

Spearheading the list is billboard hit maker,Serani with Wait on You, former Portmore Empire members Deva Bratt and Black Rynowith Party Shell Out and Gyal Yuh Fi Bubblerespectively as well as After Party Flex by fast rising lyricist Masicka and Young Vibes Productions (YVP) recording artiste, Jahmiel with Who God Bless.

Other acts on the project include Kari JessBellaChico,Libran and Craigis.

Freeze, a creative genius and native of Mandeville, Manchester is also responsible for co-producing the very popular Menke Riddim with Darkcide International as well as Gwaan Pree by Black Ryno and Ninja Kid.

The Zionnoiz/Freeze staple has also produced such asGal Professional by Laden and Position by Charly Black.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Damian Marley, R. Kelly hit all the right notes on Sumfest’s closing night

Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley delivers his epic set at Reggae Sumfest 2012 Credit: PickchaDis Photography

BY: JODEE BROWN

After two days of memorable performances that had thousands of patrons in undeniable awe, it was only fitting that the son of Reggae’s greatest product brought a remarkable end toReggae Sumfest 2012.

Grammy-winning Reggae superstar, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley drew several comparisons to his late father, Bob Marley following an impeccable performance on International Night 2 on Saturday night at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex in Montego Bay; prompting conversation that it was one of the greatest sets in Reggae Sumfest history.

With Damian Marley’s dreadlocks down to his feet, it became only fitting that his performance mirrored the aforementioned hairstyle; flowing from head to toe with energy and identity that made him stand out amongst fellow greats who graced the Sumfest stage.

The internationally acclaimed Reggae superstar amazed the audience with many of his classics such as More JusticeStill Searching and Beautiful; engaging the crowd who echoed Marley’s notes on those tracks. Furthermore, Jr. Gong performed another more smash hits such It Was Written and The Mission to rousing ovations while his chart-topping single, Affairs of the Hearthad women in the audience screaming for more.

However, Damian Marley’s performance garnered more acclaim when he paid tribute to his iconic father; performing Bob Marley’s Move off his legendary album, Exodus.Perhaps the greatest evidence that this performance was truly special was when Damian Marley executed an excellent rendition of his father’s classic track, Could You Be Loved left an indelible impression on the masses in attendance before connecting once more through Welcome To Jamrock before exiting the stage.

Damian Marley’s effort followed that of American R&B superstar, R. Kelly who had a quite interesting night to say the least. Arriving over an hour later than scheduled, R. Kelly appeared on stage with the same attire he wore when arriving at the Norman Manley International Airport on Saturday morning. Though he did not apologize for his lateness and asked forgiveness for his ‘tipsiness,’ R. Kellydid manage to win over patrons with a performance that was a year overdue after missing out on Reggae Sumfest 2011due to health issues.

The ‘Pied Piper of R&B’ made up for lost time with a resounding performance; delivering classics such as Hoteland Snake to the approval of his many female fans in the audience.

R. Kelly turned up the heat soon thereafter with smash hits from the last two decades such as Slow Wine and Your Body’s Calling which has the ladies clamoring for more; so much in fact that they ripped off the R&B legend’s shoes while he performed Strip For Me for his female supporters.

Engaging the fans throughout his performance, R. Kelly lived up to expectation throughout his set and once again had patrons singing with arguably his biggest hit to date, I Believe I Can Fly.

Other from the two headliners, several other prominent acts lived up to the billing duringInternational Night 2 including Raine Seville, who delivered in her debut at Sumfest, as well asA.J. BrownConkarah and Q-Ban, who all managed to impress during the early stages on Saturday night’s showing.

Former Digicel Rising Stars prodigy, Christopher Martin once again showed his on-stage maturity by performing hits like Paper Loving and Cheater’s Prayer while incorporating some soul into his set by dishing out classic tracks such as Al Green’s Let’s Stay Together and Marvin Gaye’s Sexual Healing.

Rising Reggae superstar, Protoje once again elicited positive responses on the genre’s biggest stage, performing track such as Who Dem a Program, Rasta Love, This Is Not a Marijuana Song and Take Control of Them, in which he asked for a better Jamaica as the island approaches its 50th anniversary of independence.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Trial dates set in Vybz Kartel murder cases

Vybz Kartel will begin his trials in separate murder cases this fall.

BY: JODEE BROWN

Embattled Dancehall superstar, Vybz Kartel will finally have his day in court as the prominent deejay prepares to stand trial in both of his ongoing murder cases

The internationally acclaimed entertainer, whose real name is Adidja Palmer, will appear in court on October 29 where he will stand trial in relation to the shooting death of St. Catherine based promoter Barrington ‘Bossie’ BurtonVybz Kartel faces three allegations in that case, including murder, conspiracy to murder and illegal possession for a firearm. The co-accused in that matter areNigel Thompson and Lenburgh McDonald.

A week later, on November 5, Kartel will answer to accusations in another case as he prepares to stand trial in relation to the murder of St. Catherine-based dancer, Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams.

Co-accused of murder in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams case include Shawn Campbell aka Shawn StormCalvin ‘Moonie’ HayeShawn Williams, Kahira Jones ad Andre St. John aka Mad Suss.

Kartel’s long-time protégé, Vanessa ‘Gaza Slim’ Saddler and studio engineer, Andre ‘Pim Pim’ Henry, face obstruction of justice-related charges in the Williams case as they’re each accused of conspiring to pervert the course of justice.

Vybz Kartel has been in police custody since last September, when he was arrested in a New Kingston hotel and charged with ganja possession. That charge has since been thrown out.

The self-professed ‘Worl’ Boss’ copped bail in the Barrington ‘Bossie’ Burton murder case this past March but could not capitalize on it due to the fact that he’s been remanded in the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams matter.

Kartel’s lawyer, Valerie Neita-Robertson was expected to file a bail application in the Williams murder case but failed to do so after expressing dissatisfaction at the case being shifted to another judge.

However, Neita-Robertson hinted that she would apply for bail on behalf of her client sometime between the two trial dates.

By TorontoDeejays.com

Trey Songz and Shabba’s return cap electrifying International Night at Sumfest

Shabba Ranks shares the stage with Cherine Anderson, forming a quite sultry duet Credit: Geoffrey Berry Photography

BY: JODEE BROWN

Following a Dancehall Night that’s been hailed as the best ever by industry observers,Reggae Sumfest upped the ante with a wholly captivating International Night for the ages.

On Friday night, a great sense of anticipation filled the Catherine Hall Entertainment Complex as fans craved the return of American R&B sensation, Trey Songz to Jamaican soil as well as the homecoming of Dancehall legend, Shabba Ranks after an 11 year absence from the local scene. That anticipation turned to delight as fans in Montego Bay got to witness stellar performances from both artistes as well as a slew of other acts that graced the Sumfest stage in the early hours of Saturday morning.

International Night featured prominent young and veteran acts that made strong impressions on Reggae Sumfest. One such artiste wasDownsound Records artiste, Nature, who validated his rising status within Reggae music with a powerful and energetic set that included delivering his breakthrough hit, World Peace.

Highly acclaimed Reggae singer, Sophia Brown finally got her opportunity to perform on the Reggae Sumfest stage and seized it with an appeasing performance while veteran songstress, Elise Kelly reminded fans of her singing prowess while also being accompanied on stage by Jamaican radio legend, Barry G.

Prominent Reggae singer, Tessanne Chin had the crowd rocking throughout the night; securing their attention as she vocalized smash hits such as The Reason, Messengerand Hideaway while also taking time out to pay tribute toJamaica 50 by singing the rocksteady-themed track,Hanging On To Strings, which had the crowd dancing as they enjoyed the old-school vibes on offer.

Keeping with that theme, several Reggae veterans were honored as a Jamaica 50 tribute took music lovers down memory lane while highlighting the evolution of Reggae music during the island’s run as an independent nation. Reggae legends John Holt, Frankie Paul, Pinchers, U-Roy and Dancehall patriarch, Yellow Man were some of the many legends who gave fans chills and thrills with sounds reminiscent of decades past when both of Jamaica’s founding genres began to take shape.

Tarrus Riley was nothing short of entertaining during his set, with a plethora of throwback and current hits dispersed through the performance including She’s Royal, Shaka Zulu Pickney, amongst others.

However, the most awaited act of the night, at least for female fans, was Trey Songz, who performed for the second time ever on Jamaican soil. Before the Sex A’int Better Than Lovesinger even took the Catherine Hall stage, some female patrons applied make up to their faces in the VIP section just to look good for Trey Songz while near-deafening screams could be heard the crowd prior to the entertainer’s entrance.

When Trey Songz finally made it on, he wasted no time in trying to tease his female lovers as he performed several of his hits including Can’t Help But Wait, I Can’t Stop Missing You, Neighbors Know My Name and Dive In You before removing his black t-shirt; sparking a frenzy amongst the crowd as he showed off his six pack.

Meanwhile, as promised, Trey Songz did incorporate some Jamaican flavor to his set by performing a cover of Bob Marley’s classic, Turn Your Lights Down Low, much to the approval of his Jamaican adorers.

Last, but certainly not least, was the ‘Emperor,’ Shabba Ranks, who made his first appearance atReggae Sumfest since 1994. Shabba had the Montego Bay crowd eating out of his hands for over an hour; performing classics that with surely have fans singing long after Sumfest’s conclusion.

Delivering his typically energetic and eccentric performance style, Shabba dished out many efforts from his catalogue including Ting a LingMr. LovermanNone a Dem and a slew of others. Additionally, he called on Reggae superstar, Cherine Anderson on stage as part of his act.

Following Shabba’s memorable performance was another iconic moment that fans can take away from Reggae Sumfest’s 20th edition as he copped an award in honor of his vast contributions to the Jamaican music industry. After Jamaica’s minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna presented him with the award, an emotional Shabba Ranks thanked Sumfest organizers before bringing his wife, Michelle on stage to share his glory.

Shabba also took time to acknowledge his sons, Rexton and Jahwon Jr., who joined the veteran entertainer and his wife on stage. Shabba even took time to highlight his sons’ achievements in school overseas.

“Rex Jr, political science and law at Boston University and Jahwon, 98% average in chemistry, physics and maths!”Shabba shouted with joy before explaining that his sons were the main reason for his long absence from Jamaican soil.

Shabba Ranks later took time to shout words of encouragement to fellow entertainers before making a statement that truly connected with the entire crowd.

“Not only gunshot can come out of the ghetto, I’m a natural proof of ghetto progress.”

By TorontoDeejays.com