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.

Shaggy’s new album flops early on as Reggae projects struggle to sell in U.S.

Shaggy's new album, 'Out of Many, One Music' has struggled for commercial success in the United States, failing to reach 1,000 copies sold in its first week..

Shaggy’s new album, ‘Out of Many, One Music’ has struggled for commercial success in the United States, failing to reach 1,000 copies sold in its first week..

by Jodee Brown

Despite quality music being produced as part of Reggae music’s apparent renaissance, many of Jamaica’s top Reggae acts continue to garner paltry album sales figures in the American market, with Grammy-winning singjay,Shaggy becoming the latest victim of this downward trend.

According to reports FridayOut of Many One Music,the new Sly and Robbie-produced album released by Shaggy has struggled to make headway since its unveiling on Sept. 24, only selling 741 copies in its first week, according to the Nielsen Soundscan, whileplacing third on the Billboard Reggae Albums chart.

These figures are a distant cry from the success of his most successful album commercially to date, Hot Shotwhich was certified diamond in the United States, selling over 20 million copies worldwide since its release in 2000.

Out of Many, One Music features hits such as, Fight This Feeling, alongside fellow Reggae legend, Beres Hammond as well as You Girl alongside Grammy-winning R&B singer/songwriter, Ne-Yo.

Shaggy’s album, however, is just a microcosm of the continuing struggle endured by Reggae music with regards to garnering respectable sales in the U.S. market. 9ineKemar ‘Flava’ McGregor Reggae album featuring acclaimed blues singers, Musiq Soulchild and Syleena Johnson topped this week’sBillboard Reggae Albums chart, despite only selling 955 copies in its debut week.

Snoop Lion’s Reincarnated album, which has sold over 70,000 copies to date, has sold just under 900 copies this week while the remainder of albums on the Billboard Reggae Albums top 10 chart failed to sell 1,000 copies this week.

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.

Buju Banton set to release new album in 2014

buju banton12by Jodee Brown

Despite being incarcerated on federal drug charges until 2019, embattled Dancehall/Reggae singer, Buju Bantonis planning to drop a new studio album in the summer of 2014, according to reports Friday.

Tracii McGregor, a member of Buju’s management team revealed that most of the songs on the singjay’s album were recorded when he was out on bail in 2011, awaiting his trial on drug and gun charges. McGregor told theJamaica Observer, “Buju is very involved in the process, of course. He is just as focused and detail oriented as he ever was.”

Producers expected to feature on the album includeStephen Marley and Blacker Dread, with production from Buju himself also featuring on the compilation.

This new studio album would mark Buju’s 13th in his over two decades as a mainstream artist. His last album wasBefore The Dawn, released in 2010, which featured singles such as Innocent, Battered and Bruised as well as Do Good. The album won the self-professed ‘Gargamel’ his first Grammy Award for Best Reggae Album in February 2011, just days prior to his conviction on three drug related charges in relation to a 2009 incident in Florida.

Several singles have been released since Buju’s incarceration, including Set Up The Mic, Lose Your Loveand Inna Half, the latter two singles produced by his song, Markus Myrie.

Buju is reportedly in transit at the Oklahoma City Federal Transfer Centrehaving been transferred from a federal prison in Florida, where he as served the majority of his sentence to date.

Andrew Lee Pryce’s ‘Justice System’ served with top acts, such as Russell Crowe

justice systemby Jodee Brown

Justice Systeman upcoming movie written by accomplished television producer and Real Entertainment Production founder, Andrew Lee Pryce will be enriched with international flavour as a number of top overseas actors and entertainers are set to star in the film.

Pryce’s Real Entertainment Production secured a dealwith independent American film company, Spyglass Entertainment in May, allowing Spyglass to produceJustice System. The movie, which focuses on a young Jamaican footballer who gets himself in trouble with the law while in the U.S. will now feature the likes of Academy Award winning actor, Russell Crowe as well as popular rap star, Ja Rule as well as accomplished actress and director, Elizabeth Banks, amongst others.

Crowe will star as the lawyer representing the troubled young footballer, Banks will feature as the judge overseeing the footballer’s case and Ja Rule is set to play the role of a gang leader.

According to Crowe, who recently starred in the popular action flick, Man Of Steel, he sees promise in Justice System and is enthused to work alongside Pryce.

“I’m here to work with any talented young film producer and based on what I’ve seen so far, Andrew Lee Pryce is extra talented and will break big internationally with thisJustice System movie,” the New Zealand-born actor said.

Crowe, who has starred in movies such as American Gangster and Cinderella Man, won Best Actor for his lead role in The Gladiator in 2000 while also winning a Golden Globe Award for his portrayal of Nobel Peace Prize winner, John F. Nash in the biopic, Beautiful Mind. Banks’ versatility has seen her star in different types of movies, from Sea Biscuit to the 40 Year Old Virgin and starred alongside Crowe in the 2010 thriller, The Next Three Days while Ja Rule has appeared in movies such as Fast and Furious andHalf Past Dead opposite Steven Seagal.

Andrew Lee Pryce intimated that the public can expect to see Justice System in theatres in the near future.

“We had planned for a 2018 [release] but we’re trying to find ways and means to release it by 2016, where we start shooting next year and end shooting by the end of 2015, then it will be released by the summer of 2016,” he explained.

The addition of such big names to Justice System will help to add depth to a movie which explores the struggles someone from a poor background experiences when dealing with the system and its laws.

Real Entertainment Production is renowned for its successful live radio broadcast of STING 2011 and is currently marketing the music of its artist and Toronto-based Dancehall star, Alty B.

Christopher Martin inks deal with VP Records

by Jodee Brownchristophermartin1

Popular Reggae singer, Christopher Martin has reached a multiple album deal with New York based record label, VP Records.

Reports on Tuesday confirmed that the Cheater’s Prayersinger is expected to release his debut album via his new label in 2014. Additionally, Martin will partner with VP for publishing and touring engagements during his contract with the internationally regarded Dancehall/Reggae label.

VP Records CEO, Chris Chin released a statement expressing optimism about his new business partnership with Martin.

“We warmly welcome Christopher Martin to our family,”he said. “His combination of vocal strength, outstanding stage presence and natural charisma are a winning formula for success, and we look forward to working with Christopher Martin and his team in the years ahead.”

Martin revealed similar sentiments when talking about the move.

“I am very happy to be working with VP. I’ve made major strides in my career as an independent artiste, and with the backing of VP plus all the hard work I will continue to put in, I strongly feel that the sky is the limit for me.”

Martin has released noteworthy singles such as Change Me Plan and Fi Mi Friend Dem while featuring on collaborations such as Celebration, alongside Ding Dong, Konshens and I-Octane as well as Till You Do Me Right with Chevaughn, D Major and Donald ‘Iceman’ Anderson.

 

Lady Saw calls out Snoop Lion

Lady Saw calls out Snoop Lion on TorontoDeejays.comby Jodee Brown

One of Dancehall’s greats has become wary of the musical path taken by Snoop Lion (formerly Snoop Dogg) as Lady Saw recently took the popular American musician to task for his venturing into Reggae music.

In an interview published Tuesday in the Jamaica Gleaner, the ‘Queen of Dancehall’ voiced her disapproval of Snoop’s dabbling into the Reggae market. When speaking following her performance at Usain Bolt’s Tracks and Records in late July, Lady Saw spoke about the implications for Jamaican Reggae artists who strive to achieve chart and commercial success internationally with overseas acts such as Snoop Lion infiltrating the market.

“Snoop, mi like yuh as a rapper, but low dancehall ting, low Reggae ting,” she told the Gleaner. “Mi no like yuh as no Snoop Lion. Weh yuh get lion from? Not your business, leave it alone.”

Snoop Lion’s foray into the Reggae industry has garnered positive results since the release of his debut Reggae album, Reincarnated in April. The album sold over 21,000 copies in its opening week, topping the Billboard Reggae charts in the process.

However, Snoop has received a litany of criticism from Rastafarians, most notably, Bunny Wailer for his alleged gimmick, suggesting that he has mocked their way of life.

Lady Saw says overseas acts have been able to capitalize on Jamaican music and its benefits because of the infighting going on within the local industry.

“We acting like children, puss and dog, crab inna barrel ting. Yuh ain’t going nowhere with all them behavior, wah kinda music yuh going put out?” she said. “It’s best we argue with Snoop than people arguing with me.”

Since the turn of the year, several overseas acts such as French Montana, Nicki Minaj, Rihanna and other have been sampling Jamaican music in their song while the aforementioned Minaj collaborated with Busta Rhymes did their recently released version of the Twerk It remix entirely in patois.

Additionally, the Billboard Reggae chart has been dominated by American Reggae bands such as SOJA, Rebelution and many others in recent times, with little presence from Jamaican Reggae albums in the top 10.

“I see foreigners taking over the music. It’s not our music anymore,” Lady Saw concluded.

Vybz Kartel book endorsed by American universities

TorontoDeejays.comby Jodee Brown

Despite an apparent hesitance by some Jamaican bookstores and universities to facilitate it, Vybz Kartel’s debut book, Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto has now received strong endorsements from prestigious American universities, according to co-author, Michael Dawson.

According to reports this past weekend, Prominent Ivy League school, Princeton University as well as Duke University in North Carolina and Vanderbilt University in Tennessee now have Voice of The Jamaican Ghetto  in their respective libraries. This adds to attention Kartel’s book has received from major international media outlets such as HOT 97FM as well as sales in places such a Germany, Chile, Austria, Holland and many other countries.

While Dawson is pleased with the universal exposure Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto has received, he believes the book still has not received full appreciation from the Jamaican public.

“All major book stores – Sangster’s, Kingston Book Shop, LMH, both airports, I-Nation, Bookophilia and Bookland – have carried the book,” Dawson told the Jamaica Gleaner. “Uptown stores and religious book stores refused it out of ignorance, I believe, and we expected that,”

There has been much debate as to whether or not Jamaican schools will adopt Voice of the Jamaican Ghetto in their curriculum, with University of the West Indies (UWI) professor, Carolyn Cooper calling for the book to be introduced to Caribbean Examination Council (CXC) readings this past May.

Dawson believes the reason for the education system’s reluctance to circulate the book within its channels comes down its challenging of the historical data taught throughout schools for years.

“I think the main problem with the Jamaican education system is that they would have to find a way to rationalize the inaccuracies, distortions and omissions in the traditional history books that our book highlights,” Dawson told the Jamaica STAR. “The reality is that the book factually discredits some of our traditions – from Jonkonoo to the dominance of Euro-Christianity.”

He continued, “How will the education system handle a book that explains with facts and empirical data that much of what they have taught children is a lie? The book states that ‘Baa, Baa, Black Sheep’ is abusive to black children. So I think the book is, at a minimum, disruptive to the traditional education system. Add to that the fact that Vybz Kartel has the ear of the youth, I’m not sure if the education system can come to terms with that. No surprise there.”

Vybz Kartel remains incarcerated in a Spanish Town jail as he awaits the beginning of the Clive ‘Lizard’ Williams murder trial in November. He, along with five other men are charged with the August 2011 murder of Williams. Additionally, Kartel and two other co-accused face conspiracy charges in connection with the case.

Tommy Lee Sparta Responds To Vybz Kartel Diss

tommylee1by TheOne

Tommy Lee Sparta has broken his silence on a recent statement made by Vybz Kartel.

The self proclaim Worl’Boss released a statement from behind bars just days after being acquitted of a murder charge in the Home Circuit Court.

The statement made headline because of what Vybz Kartel said about Popcaan and Tommy Lee, who were two of his most loyal protege up until his arrest in 2011.

“Can someone tell Popcaan and Tommy Lee stop big me up pon stage saying they’re GAZA when they’re not even near to my recently acquired PLAZA,” Vybz Kartel said. “They have no shame and could only be compared to undignified morons. They and I know that they are just a couple of traitors grabbing at the proverbial straw to save their downward spiralling careers.”

Tommy Lee has responded through his publicist Keona Williams.

This is what Williams said:

“It has reached our attention, however, we cannot confirm its authenticity. Tommy has explained he is clueless to how this statement came about … As far as we know there is no conflict that exists between Tommy Lee Sparta and the Worl’Boss … He (Tommy Lee) is on good terms with the Gaza which he has always been loyal to.”

“Tommy Lee Sparta constantly declares his devotion to the unit that brought him to forefront … At present, Tommy Lee Sparta is sincerely hopeful that Kartel’s legal woes will be resolved swiftly.”

Popcaan has remained silent since Vybz Kartel released the statement last weekend.

Beenie Man’s former song writer, Don Mafia makes waves with ‘Money Making Ting’

Don Mafia, known for creating Mafia House Productions, has unveiled a video for his new song, 'Money Making Ting.'

Don Mafia, known for creating Mafia House Productions, has unveiled a video for his new song, ‘Money Making Ting.’

by 

Dancehall sensation and former writer for the ‘King Of The Dancehall,’ Beenie ManDon Mafiahas joined forces Manchester-based upcoming star with Gee Q to produce the long-awaited single, Money Making Ting, released earlier this month.

Over a short period of time, the two artistes have worked together to create a song that incorporates their message of ambition and correct state of mind, as well as showcasing their ability to make smash hits.

“This video, doesn’t discriminate, we wanted to show the masses dat everyone including you can make money, once yuh put yuh mind to it, so you will see different people from all walks of life in dis video.” said Don Mafia

The world-renowned Dancehall star, Don Mafia carved a name for himself in the music business with tracks such as Mafia Worldand Born a Man and his successful streak will only continue to grow steadily with the predicted success of Money Making Ting.

Rated by many key industry insiders, and no stranger to the Dancehall scene, Don Mafia, formerly known as Gringo, has written hit songs for the likes of Beenie Man and other notable artists.

According to a press release, the video for the single, Money Making Ting has amassed over 40,000 views under 48 hours. The video was premiered on Hype TV and has been in enjoying rotation on the FM airwaves.

Don Mafia and Gee Q, who are both signed to the KDNK Record Label, a fast-rising record label based in Manchester, have found middle-ground between their diverse vocal talents and are now ready to take on Jamaica and promote their hit single.

The rhythm for the song, Money Making Ting was produced by the extremely talented Zebby Lion, whose impressive work added another dimension to the song. Money Making Ting is the launching pad for Don Mafia and Gee Q and there’s sure to be many more impeccable songs on the way.

The music video was shot on location in England and recorded at KDNK , run by C.E.O Dexter McIntoshMoney Making Ting can be found on YouTube and other well-known musical internet platforms such as iTunes after the song’s official release.

Be on the look out as Don Mafia is ready to blaze a trail in Dancehall.