Anju Blaxxx reportedly out on bail while awaiting trial in scamming case

by Jodee Brown

Six months after his arrest and subsequent charges in an ongoing lottery scam case in the United States, acclaimed Jamaican producer, Anju Blaxxx has been released from a North Dakota jail on bail as he awaits a trial on the matter.

The musician and head honcho of UIM Records, whose real name is Andrew Myrie, was let go earlier this week, according to a report from IRIE FM. It is unknown whether the conditions of his bail allow him to leave the country.

Myrie was initially granted bail shortly following his arrest in February. However, that bail was revoked after he was considered a flight risk by a North Dakota judge.

The producer faces charges of  conspiracy, wire fraud, and money laundering in relation to an alleged lottery scam which defrauded elderly citizens in North Dakota and across the U.S. of millions of dollars in exchange for promised lottery winnings.

Former ZIP FM disc jock, ZJ Wah Wa plead guilty to telemarketing fraud in a similar case last fall and reportedly implicated Myrie during his plea agreement.

During his jail stint, Myrie released the Mildew Riddim, which features artists such as Popcaan, Bugle, Blak Diamon and others.

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Debut album from Popcaan reaches number two on Billboard Reggae chart

by Jodee Brown Where We Come From, the debut album from popular Dancehall star, Popcaan, has entered Billboard Magazine’s Reggae albums chart at number two, just two weeks after its unveiling, according to reports Wednesday. The former Portmore Empire standout’s project only trails Rebelution’s Count Me In on the chart and is one of four albums by Jamaican artists in the top 10, with Ziggy Marley’s Fly Rasta at number three, Bob Marley and the Wailers’ Legend: Remixed at number five and Jo Mersa Marley’s EP, Comfortable holding down ninth spot. Featuring 13 tracks, Where We Come From features a blend of Dancehall, Reggae and hip-hop sounds, with efforts such as The System, Everything Nice and Hustle standing out, the latter a collaboration with former Clipse rapper, Pusha TThe album is produced by American label, Mixpak Records and executive produced by the label’s lead hit maker, Dre Skull. Major foreign media outlets such as The Guardian and the Washington Posthave recommended Where We Come From as a must listen, with the former saying Popcaan’s effort ‘creates a warped take on synth-fueled urban pop, breathing new life into old sounds.” Popcaan has featured on the Billboard charts before, entering the magazine’s R&B/Hip Hop chart in 2012 with his hit single, Only Man She Want. Since then, he released the well-received Yiy Change mixtape as well as the Unruly EP. A former protégé of incarcerated Dancehall superstar, Vybz KartelPopcaan burst onto the international scene in 2010, featuring on Kartel’s chart-topping hit, Clarks along with Vanessa Bling. Chart-topping hits such as Dream, Party Shot, Ravin and others followed. Some of his standout songs in 2014 include Tie Mi on the UIM Records-produced Punjabi Riddim, Da Ting Deh on the JA Productions-produced Overdrive Riddim and Only Jah Know on the Notnice-produced Devotion Riddim.

Anju Blaxxx being plagued by scammers

by Jodee Brown

CEO and producer of UIM, Andrew Myrie, known to fans as Anju Blaxxx, is seeking to remedy the malicious work of scammers who have been plaguing his musical career.

In an official press release, UIM announced, “There has been a pervasive scam being done by unscrupulous persons, that has been ongoing for several months.”

This started since summer of last year, when Anju Blaxxx was contacted by friends, saying someone was soliciting cash and call credit from a fake Facebook account.

Anju Blaxxx also disclosed that clients have been contacted and generally told by scammers using the Facebook page, that they are working on a rhythm and that persons should send money via Western Union. However, Anju Blaxxx wants to make it clear that, he does not have a personal Facebook account, only a Fan Page which is under UIM, further emphasizing that he does not use Facebook to conduct business.”

General Vigilance

The UIM producer also took the opportunity to encourage prospective clients that they should be vigilant against phone and email scams that use his name as a lure. UIM (Uptempo International Music) does not initiate contact with clients from Facebook or does not request call credit, confidential access information or similar manipulative schemes.

Nevertheless, persons looking to conduct business with Anju Blaxxx of UIM, should contact UIM’s manager, Ms. Tanya Thelwell at tanyathelwell@gmail.com: 1-876-898-4311, 1-876-546-2759 or uimrecords@gmail.com.

Meanwhile, there are a number of projects in the pipeline for the producer. The latest rhythm is called the Punjabi Riddim, which features artistes: Mavado, Popcaan, Tommy Lee, Spice, Blak Diamon, Alkaline, Konshens and more.

Recording artiste, Tommy Lee currently has his video on the Riddim on YouTube. Additionally, there’s a single with UIM’s artiste, Blak Diamon titled Bang Bang, which has been enjoying rotation on the airwaves.

Supercat, Saw, Sizzla and ‘Di Stinga’ highlight intriguing STING 30

by Jodee Brown

After a night filled with clashes, eye-raising moments and the return of a legend, STING 2013the 30th anniversary of the ‘Greatest Dancehall show on Earth’ on Dec. 26 certainly entertained and provoked thoughts throughout, leaving music lovers with lots of talking points to dissect for a long time coming.

The show, organized by Supreme Promotions and Downsound Records was, in this writer’s opinion, the most intriguing one since 2008 when the rivalry between Vybz Kartel and Mavado came to a head. Highlights were prevalent and lowlights were evident; here’s a look at some of those performances and moments in this STING 30 review.

Early Segments

Early Segments

Early Segments: STING, perhaps given the amount of entertainers on the bill, started shortly after 8 a.m. Amongst the emerging artists that performed within the first two hours of STING were Kalado and Toronto based deejay Touchless, who gave short, yet effective sets, going into songs like You Make Me Feel and Summer Body respectively. However, it was fast-rising Reggae sensation, Jah Bouks that was a hit with the smaller crowd inside the Portmore-based Jamworld, performing his big hit, Angola as well as newer material such as Going Home. His performance savvy, seen at a slew of show this year, makes him a must-watch act in 2014 and beyond.

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?)

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?)

Reggae shines on stage (Romain’s last STING?) File photo

Though STING draws a hardcore Dancehall following, pure Reggae acts always find strong favor with the crowd, and this year was no exception. As per usual, Etana andI-Wayne drew some of the best responses from the typically judgmental audience, with the former bringing out Alborosie for a strong rendition of their collaborative hit,Blessings while the latter connected with his female following with, Girl I Love You.

While the likes of Nature and Iba Mahr also presented high energy sets, the stand out performance came from one Romain Virgo, who repeatedly hinted that this year might be the last year he performs at the show. It was a surprising admission from the 23-year-old phenom, who went into hits such as Who Feels It Knows It, Rain Is Falling, Mi Prefer Wait and Serious Times while decked out in all-white. Whatever the reasoning was behind those utterances is unknown, but after giving one of the best sets throughout the night, no one will be hoping he actually lives up to his proclamation.

Wyclef props and 2 Chainz flops

Wyclef props and 2 Chainz flops

STING 30 went out of its element by inviting international artists to the show to provide a different flavor to its fans. Unlike the more mixed crowd for Reggae Sumfest, however, it was always going to take a lot more effort to appease this crowd and in the case of 2 Chainz, he learned that the hard way.

The American rap star’s set started off on the wrong foot with technical issues dominating the first five minutes. Once his mic was finally fixed, his set just failed to get off the ground. In a performance littered with unapologetic cursing, he did songs like Birthday Suit, No Lie and others to an unmoved, silent crowd who did not seem to know exactly how to react. No matter how much he tried to warm up to them, it just was not connecting; frankly looking like a mismatch between artist and fan base. He incessantly complained about his stage time late in his performance, but perhaps this flop of a set should have ended sooner given the circumstances.

On the other hand, Wyclef Jean went over with the Portmore-based crowd by doing something that will always get you in their good graces, shouting out incarcerated Dancehall superstar and Portmore native, Vybz Kartel. After renditions of classics such as Gone Till November and911, as well as a smattering of poetry, Wyclef went into the crowd before unleashing a pair of Kartel hits for the crowd to savor. Also shouting out Buju Banton and convicted drug baron,Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke during his set, Wyclef endeared himself to the crowd the best way he could, by indulging in the culture.

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Supercat still has the ‘Iron Claw’

Now at age 50 and 11 years removed from his last performance in Jamaica, the return of the ‘Don Dada,’ Supercat to the STING stage was filled with as much mystery as there was anticipation, considering how scarce he has been on the music stage in recent years.

However, the legendary Dancehall/Reggae star showed why he is still one of the most feared and respected performers in the game, recovering from a somewhat slow opening to launch into full gear with hits like Si Boops Deh, Unda Pressure and Dolly My Baby.

The crowd loved it and there was a flow to his set, the longest of the night. Supercat also showcased some new material, including talking about his ‘doggie leg,’ but his mere presence in a white suit, sporting a beard and curls was a pleasure to witness. Hopefully, there will be more sightings of this Jamaican music great in the years to come.

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash

Lady Saw trounces Macka Diamond in clash urbanislandz.com

Truth be told, to call this highly anticipated showdown between the ‘Queen of Dancehall’ Lady Saw and Macka Diamonda clash may be overstating it a bit. This was more of a shouting match than anything else; providing more moments of entertainment than quality lyrical content.

Saw was in no joking mood throughout the night, giving a X-rated performance that kept eyes fixated throughout, particularly during her performance of Heels On, when she called out model, Tyson Beckford and simulated a sexual position on stage while singing. Following her standout performance, she called out Macka to the stageMacka, donning all-black and face paint, did a clash-friendly rendition of her hit, Dye Dye before all hell broke loose. The two nearly butted heads before Lady Saw went out in full attack mode, alleging several sexual relationships Macka had in the music business before letting her lyrics do the talking.

Though said lyrics were not up to the standard we’re usually accustomed to from the legendary deejay, she was never pushed to go into second gear with a seemingly intimidated Macka pushed to the brink of admitting defeat near the end, saying ‘Mi will die trying.’ That line alone proved how one-way this ‘clash’ was. Saw was ruthless as she saw her prey and wouldn’t let up once she had it in her clutches, making Macka ‘die die’ lyrically as she unleashed her vocal bullets.

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Man

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Man

D’Angel gets raunchy during clash with Ninja Manyardhype.com/kingstonstyle.com

Ninja Man has faced his share of tough opponents in the clash arena – Supercat, Mad Cobra, Merciless and Kiprich – but this year’s clash rival was relatively new in that area of music. After winning a celebrity clash against Ishawna in November,D’Angel decided to respond to a lyric the ‘Don Gorgon’ sang about her during his set. She used her retort to address a fresh controversy about a picture exposing her privates that circulated on the internet shortly before Christmas. Not only did she use it as material in her answer to Ninja Man, she even ‘skinned out,’ in front of the audience while wearing a short blouse, adding a raunchiness to her set that she is not typically known for. She was unafraid of the repercussions and certainly prompted bulged eyes to be made throughout this short-lived clash.

Performance of the night – Sizzla

Performance of the night – Sizzla

Performance of the night – Sizzlayardhype.com

Otherwise, Aidonia and Beenie Man were relatively solid throughout their sets, Tommy Lee seemed reflective as he talked about his car accident and expressed his desire for a United States visa during his performance and Mavado put to rest any recent speculation about his relationship with mentor, Bounty Killer by shouting him out during his performance – a combination of old school gangsta hits mixed with a few newer songs.

But the single best performance of the night had to be Sizzla Kalonji, who was in a militant mood, performing classics like Thank You Mama, Trod Mount Zion, Be Strong and many more. Often free styling and even throwing a couple of barbs in the direction of STING’s lead promoter, Isaiah LaingSizzla made several points addressing homosexuality, Africa and many more topics to overwhelming approval from the crowd. He did not miss a beat, and should be given serious consideration to close the show in the near future.

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

Ryno beats Kiprich in title clash

After disposing of General B, Mercilessand even the clash king himself, Ninja Man, Kiprich was hoping for some competition for the clash title and a US$30,000 on the line to close the show. On stage stepped a surprise opponent in Black Ryno, who at the same show last year was pushed off stage by Popcaan during a heated exchange between ex Portmore Empireteammates.

Donning a very unusual costume, Kiprich looked to have underrated Ryno’s ability from the jump, but was quickly put in line by ‘Ryno Di Stinger’ with a quick, devastating flurry of lyrics which included mostly freestyles. After ‘Kippo’ made a reference to last year’s incident involving Ryno, however, the Facebook singer did not garner many likes as the clash went on as impatient, bipartisan crowd booed him as they rooted for their hometown artist. This was a unanimous decision in the end, leaving Kiprich with too much to overcome and Black Ryno with US$30,000 more in his pocket. Hopefully, this will be the start of a renaissance in the career of an artist still looking for his first big hit since severing ties with Vybz Kartel.

Snoop Lion, Sizzla amongst finalists for Reggae Grammy

Snoop Lion (left) and Sizzla (right) are both first time nominees for a Best Reggae Album Grammy award.

Snoop Lion (left) and Sizzla (right) are both first time nominees for a Best Reggae Album Grammy award.

by Jodee Brown

After temporarily ditching hardcore lyrics for songs about unity and anti-violence, Snoop Dogg has seen his Reggae efforts rewarded by The Recording Academy as he was named one of five finalists on Friday for the Best Reggae Album award at next year’sGrammy Awards.

The artist, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, is being nominated for his album, Reincarnated, released in April while using the Snoop Lion moniker. The album, which features collaborations with Mavado, Popcaan, Mr. Vegas, Drake and Miley Cyrus amongst others, was the best-selling Reggae album in the United States this year, with over 21,000 copies sold in its debut week and, to date, has sold well over 50,000 copies there.

Despite criticism from legendary Jamaican artists such as Bunny Wailer and Lady Saw, the album received a number of positive reviews. However, the Snoop Lionact appears to have been cut, at least for the time being, as he recently changed his name again, to Snoopzilla.

Another artist receiving his first Reggae Grammy nod is Sizzla Kalonji for his album, The Messiah. Having recorded over 70 albums in his career, it is the first chance he will have a music’s most prestigious award. The Messiah features 15 tracks, including Chant Dem Down and Psalm 121.

Beres Hammond is also amongst the finalists, securing his first nomination since 2002 with his One Love, One Life double album, featuring the hit single, In My Arms.

The other two contenders for the Best Reggae Album award are four-time winner, Ziggy Marley for Ziggy Marley in Concert and Sly and Robbie and the Jam Masters with Reggae Connection.

The 56th Grammy Awards will take place on January 26 at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.

Major Lazer set for Kingston show in December

major lazer1by Jodee Brown

Internationally-renowned super group, Major Lazer is set to return to Jamaica in time for the holidays as they will headline a concert in Kingston the week before Christmas, according to reports Monday.

The group, consisting of Diplo, Jillionaire and Black Chiney’s Major Lazer will perform at the New Mas Camp on December 20. Early bird tickets for the show will go on sale this Friday at the Acropolis Gaming Centre in Barbican for JA$2,000. The event is drinks-inclusive and is slated to kick off at 8 p.m.

This will Major Lazer’s second performance in Jamaica this year. The group performed a special, sold-out show at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) in January, dazzling crowds with props and crowd surfing. Additionally, the show featured performances from Reggae sensation, Chronixx and Dancehall star, Popcaan.

Major Lazer has long been known for its affinity for Reggae/Dancehall music and produced two smashing hits in 2013 featuring two of the genre’s popular figures.

This past Spring, they teamed up with Busy Signal for the retro-themed single, Bumaye, which has garnered close to 50 million YouTube views for the song and accompanying video. In May, award-winning dancer, Mystic Davis, who featured in the Bumaye video, featured on Major Lazer’s single, Bubble Butt alongside Bruno Mars, Tyga and 2 Chainz. That single has pushed the 20 million views mark on YouTube and peaked at number 56 on the Billboard Hot 100 Singleschart this past summer.

Morgan Heritage denies preference in JLP election after controversial dubplate

Morgan Heritage says a recent dubplate done for JLP leadership contender, Dr. Audley Shaw was not done as an endorsement of the politician..

Morgan Heritage says a recent dubplate done for JLP leadership contender, Dr. Audley Shaw was not done as an endorsement of the politician..

by Jodee Brown

Prominent Reggae group, Morgan Heritage has taken their fair share of heat in the last two days since a dubplate seemingly endorsing Jamaica’s former minister of finance and leadership candidate for the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), Audley Shaw earlier this week.

On Friday, the acclaimed group responded to such assertions in an article published on Tuesday by the Jamaica Gleaner by insisting the dubplate version of their hit song, Reggae Bring Back Love was not done to endorse Shaw in particular, but Jamaica as a whole. In a statement released to the media Thursday, Morgan Heritage insisted they have no political affiliations and would have done the song for any politician.

The statement reads, Morgan Heritage would like to clarify that the dubplate of our hugely popular hit,Reggae Bring Back Love was done “fi Jamaica” asPeetah (Morgan) clearly states in the intro.”

“Morgan Heritage has an abiding love for Jamaica and would have done a similar dubplate for anyone. The fact that we sing about our ideals of bringing back love and making Jamaica a better place in the song Reggae Bring Back Love, which was recorded 13 years ago, and happens to be the same message of anyone today, only speaks to our belief of a better Jamaica and not any political views.”

They continued, “As Rastafarians, Morgan Heritage does not sit on any side of the political divide. We do not dabble in politics, but like all Jamaicans, we are concerned about some of the things taking place in our beloved country. Our message of unity, love, respect for self and respect for authority remains unchanged and we will continue to work to effect a change for the better as a part of our musical mission.”

The JLP leadership election, which pits Shaw against current leader, Andrew Holness will take place on Sunday at the National Stadium in Kingston.

Kartel’s cell searched as part of Patrick ‘Roach’ Samuels murder investigation

vybz kartel22by Jodee Brown

As an investigation into the tragic murder of popular Dancehall producer, Patrick ‘Roach’ Samuelscontinues, police say they have seized items from the jail cell of his former associate and embattled deejay, Vybz Kartel as they try to solve the case.

According to a report Wednesday from theConstabulary Communications Network (CCN),police took two cellular phones and three flash drives from Kartel’s cell during a search on Sunday at the Horizon Remand Centre in Spanish Town. However, they did not give what link, if any exists between the items seized from his cell and Samuels’ murder.

On Monday, police returned to Kartel’s cell, taking a DVD player and an Apple iPod. Additionally, a DVD player was taken from the jail cell of Kartel’s protégé, Shawn ‘Shawn Storm’ Campbell, who is co-accused in theClive ‘Lizard’ Williams murder case alongside Kartel.

The jail cell of another popular entertainer, Garfield ‘Zebra’ Vassell was also searched by law enforcement officials, with a SIM card being seized from the cell as well as a paper with a set of instructions.

All the items seized in these respective searches will be analyzed for evidential purposes by police as they continue to search for clues in relation to Samuels’ murder.

Samuels, 46, was shot and killed while in his vehicle after leaving a party in Kingston early Sunday morning. He is renowned for crafting hit rhythms such as the Siren Riddim in 2005, the Overproof Riddim in 2011 as well as the Overtime Riddim earlier this year.

He also served as Vybz Kartel’s former road manager for several years until the two fell out in 2010.

Usain Bolt to retire following 2016 Olympics

Usain Bolt6by Jodee Brown

Arguably the greatest sprinter in history, Usain Bolt has left an indelible mark on the sport with his talent, charisma, and a plethora of records along the way. The summer of 2016 will be the last chance for the world to see the Jamaican legend showcase his unique skill set.

On Wednesday morning, Bolt announced that he is set to retire following the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio Di Janeiro, Brazil. The six-time Olympic gold medalist and reigning world champion in the 100m and 200m signaled his intent to win gold at next year’sCommonwealth Games in Glasgow, the 2015 IAAF World Championships in Beijing and the 2016 summer games before calling it quits from a spotlight that has shone on him since he made waves as a teenager.

“So far, it [retirement] is after the Olympics in Rio,”Bolt told the Associated Press ahead of his final race of the season in Belgium. “I think if I am in great shape, I’ll go there and do what I have to do. I think it will be a good time to retire on top.”

He continued, “If I want to be among the greats of [Muhammad] Ali and Pele and all these guys, I have to continue dominating until I retire.”

Bolt’s track record is impeccable as the now 27-year-old sprinter became the only man in Olympic history to win back to back gold medals in the 100m, 200m and 4 by 100m relay respectively. After winning gold in all three events in last month’s IAAF World Championships in Moscow, he became the most decorated runner in the event’s history, with eight gold and two silver medals.

He owns the world records in the 100m (9.58) and 200m (19.19), both which he broke in the 2009 world championships in Germany while helping the 4 by 100m relay shatter its own world record at last year’s summer games in London.

Before he goes out, Bolt hopes to top those marks once again, admitting that while the 100m remains the toughest mark to top, the 200m record is well within reach.

“I have learned, I have mastered the art of running the turn,” Bolt said of the 200. “So if I can stay injury-free and be in good shape, then it is possible for me to definitely go after the world record.”

Cartoon Network set to air first Jamaican cartoon, ‘Santino’ by Andrew Lee Pryce

Andrewprice1by Jodee Brown

Real Entertainment Production (R.E.P) boss, Andrew Lee Pryce has expanded his talents with his first cartoon, Santino, which is set to debut on Cartoon Network.

Santino marks a historic achievement for Pryce and Jamaica as Cartoon Network will broadcast it first full-length ‘island cartoon.’ The half-hour cartoon spotlights Santino, a supernatural person who tries to use his powers to reduce crime while the show also gives children and adults worldwide a chance to check out some highlights of Jamaica’s rich culture.

Santino’s purpose is not only to make the streets of Jamaica safer, but also promote positivity about his home and invite foreigners to visit the island.

According to Pryce, Santino represents a microcosm of his feelings towards crime in Jamaican and was long inspired to create a cartoon exploring this issue while promoting the positive his native country worldwide.

“I always wanted to be the first film producer to produce a cartoon internationally,” he said. “It was always my dream to see Jamaica’s crime rate down. I wish I did have super powers, but I don’t so I created Santino just to express my feelings.”

The accomplished television producer stresses thatSantino is not necessarily being created to representBrand Jamaica, but creating fun and entertainment for young audiences to revel in.

“The producers at Real Entertainment Production want to say thanks to Spyglass Entertainment for the opportunity to put the necessaries together for the cartoon,” said Pryce.

Santino will debut on Cartoon Network next Saturday at 7:30 a.m. U.S. time (6:30 a.m. JA time) and will air every Saturday morning on the station.

Andrew Lee Pryce and his Real Entertainment Production outlet recently secured a deal with an independent U.S. film company, Spyglass Entertainment to produce his Justice System movie, which is set to hit theatres by the summer of 2016. The movie will feature Academy Award winning actor,Russell Crowe, Sea Biscuit and 30 Rock star, Elizabeth Banks and accomplished rap star, Ja Rule, amongst others.