Thursday, 23 July 2009

Currently listening to...

Been slippin on the bloggin for reasons you will know if you follow me on Twitter.com/marvinsparks. Two songs I can't get out of my head at present time (where I am makes sense)

Want an easy forward? Drop a Kartel! Not exactly new but it is on an advert for Dream weekend and is infectious so it's stuck in my head.



Swear this man is the closest thing to Sean Paul in terms of commercial appeal, ability to make a song, clarity, delivery. Oh I wonder what would happen if he was maybe more commercial looking if you get what I mean. Either way, I hope Chino was sitting in on sessions with Sean Paul helping him write bars and learning construction. Maybe I should have asked him that. Maybe I'll try link him another time to ask. Check the previous one I did: http://marvinsparks.blogspot.com/2009/07/interview-chino-and-laden-big-ship.html

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Jah Cure - Never Find [video]

Featured a video for the medley of this Don Carleon produced riddim, Changes (click for medley video), a few months ago. It was missing the Jah Cure and Gentleman versions - 2 of which based on quality I thought should have been on there.

Well as I suspected, it was due to them both being on bigger labels with their individual projects going on. SoBe have decided to release it as the follow up to Call On Me and thank Jah(ova) for that.

Click to see what happened when I interviewd Jah Cure in for the release of his first album on the outside entitled Universal Cure: Marvin Sparks interviews Jah Cure



Love this tune. They say Reggae is dead but there are wonderful Roots Reggae riddims being produced. R&B lacks substance, so this is what I use to replace it. If Jah Cure was still incarcerated this would have been a bigger song by now. It definitely deserves to be.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Hotsteppa & Funky All Stars - Take It Higher

What do you get when you put a bag on one-hit wonders (at the moment) and few of the hottest hosts in the dance on one song?



Dogtaniun, Creeper, Gracious K, Tribal Magz, Riskgo, MC Kaos, KIG Family, Funky D, LJ or C.Los, Maxwell D and some others who I don't know - disclaimer in case I missed anybody.

Production is weaker than an anorexic with swine flu - sounds way too forced to be a club banger. This is an example of a song which should have been left on a hard drive as a joke between friends.

Gracious K, I love Migraine Skank, I always buss it when it drops, but bruv still using Migraine Skank bars? That will only lead to people thinking you are a on trick pony. At least Tribal Magz used it more as a signature thing, but his 8 bars weren't saying much.

Funky D, once again I love "Oi, you, are you gonna bang?" (been looking to post it on here for a couple months but haven't found the Youtube link yet), but bruv, same applies as Gracious.

Most of the timing of the bars were off and it was just a general shambles.

At the rate the UK Funky sound is going, it won't last at this level for long into '010. There needs to be some quality control from the DJ's because the ravers will like anything they think will get hyped by everyone else (this is prime example). However, I don't fall for hype, so I'm not fooled. It's a shame because it started off really well and I love hearing it in clubs.

This song just puts the talent (or some may say lack of) on display in a bad way. Better luck next time chaps. And hey, don't get all shirty with me, if everyone says your shits hot when it's not, you will continue to put out shit like, well, this.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Jason Lewis compains there's 'Too Many Weave'



From that Jason Lewis comedian breh, still. He's the breh who made the Black Boys ting. Won't say anything about that.

For the record, I have no problem at all with good weave. Bad weave is like someone who doesn't take care of the hair so it isn't so much the weave I don't like in that instance, more the care of said weave. Comprendez?

Monday, 13 July 2009

Vybz Kartel - DoA (Death of Alliance) Freestyle



No doubt the "Gaza mi seh" clan will be out in full force over this tune because he has all the hype and this freestyle sees him going at Alliance (half-steppin in comparison to what he's done before) over a Jay-Z beat with a piece-a-hype. I like Kartel, but personally I think it's wack! If people like it, it shows what bandwagon hype does for you. Not all but majority, raggs (or "rag'oe"). I'm entitled to an opinion, no? Ah my blog diss!

Word on the streets is he has got his visa for USA now. Things will be interesting with both him and Mavado being able to travel. We will now be able to see wha' gwarn for the both of them. Hopefully all the hype and dissin Alliance this year will prove helpful.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Chipmunk interview for Diamond Rings

To mark the release of his debut single Diamond Rings released by Columbia/Sony Music Entertainment (out now), PyroRadio.com caught up with Chipmunk to talk about deciding to complete college, haters and why he feel he’s the best lyricist to being a fan of The Saturdays – well Rochelle!

Pyroradio.com: Congratulations on finishing college. Why did you decide to finish college whilst having quite a successful music career?

Chipmunk:
I’m just not a quitter. I put my all into everything I do. If I would have quit it would have only been because I signed a deal and I didn’t really want to feel like that was the reason why or if my music career was getting too much for me. I just stuck at it.

Pyroradio.com: How did the other students react to you being a famous artist?

Chipmunk:
It was my hometown, so everyone knew me from before the whole music thing.

Pyroradio.com: So you didn’t receive much hate or unnecessary attention?

Chipmunk:
Not even so much hate from people in my hometown but now it’s getting a lot.

Pyroradio.com: How have you managed to stay grounded after getting a lot of success at a young age?

Chipmunk:
All the people around me help me. I just feel like I got lucky. Like who am I to act like I’m something I’m not? I’m just a kid with rhymes, who bumped into the right people and was willing to work hard - and that’s why I got here. I want to see as much people here as I can.

Pyroradio.com: Where do you draw inspiration when writing?

Chipmunk:
My inspiration comes from different surroundings. Just working at it

Pyroradio.com: Do you remember the first lyric you wrote?

Chipmunk:
Yeah. It goes: “I’m broke, I ain’t got a flash car/ On the set I spit a 16 bar/ On the set I see a shooting star, flying far/ Sweet like a chocolate bar/ Sweet like a Snickers/ Your girl saw me and took off her knickers“. I can’t remember anymore [laughs].

And you were only 14 then?

Chipmunk:
Yeah.

Pyroradio.com: I do a lot of browsing on forums and whenever subject of Chipmunk comes up a lot of people criticise you for always talking about how good you are in your songs. Is that accurate? If so, how do you respond to that?

Chipmunk:
How I respond to that is: I’m just a new artist who’s opened up to a new audience that don’t know who I am so I have to. But my album is going to show a lot of difference.




Pyroradio.com: UK scene is having a lot of success right now. Dizzee has gone clear, but there are a lot of young and up coming ones like yourself, Tinchy Stryder, N-Dubz, Ironik. What do you bring different to the table?

Chipmunk:
I think I’m the best lyricist.

Pyroradio.com: Straight up?

Chipmunk:
Yeah man. I know what a metaphor is, a simile is, I know how to use it, I know how to play with words, and I know how to adapt myself on different tracks. We are all different; N-Dubz is a group who do what they do. Ironik does what he does. Me and Tinchy are coming from the same scene but I’m... I wouldn’t say I’m more versatile because Tinchy is a very versatile artist, but I play with words differently to how he does.

Pyroradio.com: The MOBO awards get a lot of criticism from people in the industry to people on the outside. Many people believe it doesn’t hold much weight like other awards do.

Chipmunk:
They’re [lying], they are [lying]. Everyone acts like it’s nothing but if you’d won one you’d be over the moon. As black people we watch the MOBO’s to see what’s poppin’, so I’m happy I won that.

Pyroradio.com: Did you notice any changes after winning Best Newcomer last year? Were people in the industry taking you more seriously?

Chipmunk:
Everyone has been more receptive. They were like “Yeah, he’s the one”. There are a lot of MCs my age who weren’t even nominated, so me winning meant a lot.

Pyroradio.com: You recently signed to Columbia/Sony Music Entertainment. Did you think you’d get to this position this quickly?

Chipmunk:
Getting signed wasn’t the be all and end all. I always said if I was going to get signed the deal has to be right. A lot of the artists who’ve got record deals right now, their deals aren’t the best but I made sure my deal was right. I’ve got a [good] solicitor and he pulled off a proper deal for me.

Pyroradio.com: Your first commercial single Chip Diddy Chip reached #21 in the UK singles chart. It was different to anything we’d heard you do before; from the accent you used to the choice of beat. Was it a hard decision to make that track?

Chipmunk:
I didn’t pick it. People have got to remember I’ve got management and a strong team, so I’m going to do what I feel is best for me in terms of my career elevating. That was just like 20 minutes in the studio. I went in, done my verse, came out, wrote the next verse recorded it and that was it. 20 minutes and it was a rap. It was just a quirky song for me to throw on my mixtape. Then they were like this is the one, so I was like “Noooooo. Everyone’s just gonna chat and say this isn’t Grime.” In the end I just thought f’ it, do your job and they done it and it worked, so I don’t wanna hear nothing!



Pyroradio.com: Do the opinions of Grime fans bother you then?

Chipmunk:
I wouldn`t say it bothers me; I just can’t take the ignorance. Don’t tell me what Grime is, you can’t even tell me what Grime is. If I was to sit you down and ask you what Grime is you’re gonna say “Arr, man spitting real bars innit.” Half these MCs aren’t even real. Like I never talk any form of grease but there are a lot of MCs in the game - I’m not gonna name any names - a lot of stuff happens to a lot of artists. I’ve been robbed before, been jumped before but every time I’ve been jumped or robbed I’ve taken it like a man. There are a lot of MCs who talk a lot of grease but they are punks - take it from me.

Pyroradio.com: So did seeing the success that Chip Diddy Chip had make the decision to record your new single Diamond Rings easier?

Chipmunk:
Yeah man. Not even so much easier but if it feels good I’ll put it out there. People are respecting my graft and what I’m trying to do. I’m trying to elevate the scene. Not just for me, I’m trying to make it easier for the next generation of people that come up.



Pyroradio.com: Tell us about the new single Diamond Rings; what was the process behind making this one?

Chipmunk:
Diamond Rings, nationwide 6th July make sure you get yourself a copy. The producer sent me the track, it wasn’t broken so I didn’t try and fix it. Hooked up with Emily, we got it popping; people loved it so we put it out.

Pyroradio.com: How have you adjusted your style to suit the commercial audience?

Chipmunk:
I don’t feel I’ve adjusted. People are going wayward with the whole “You this, you that”. If you listen to my mixtape, not one of them is 100% Grime anyway, so people are all gassed up now cos’ I’m with Sony. Get a life! If I go on a track that is Grime, I am going to spit the sickest Grime bars. If I go on a track that’s pop, I’m going to spit the sickest bars for Pop. The ability to go on any song and still have people scream your bars is a gift in itself that half of these MCs who talk about killing each other don’t have, so I don’t really care.

Pyroradio.com: I read on Twitter (@Chipmunkartist) that you are a fan of The Saturdays.

Chipmunk:
Yeah [smiles].

Pyroradio.com: Do you listen to many other artists people wouldn’t expect you to?

Chipmunk:
I love The Saturdays man [smile increases].

Pyroradio.com: Oh it’s one of them ones?

Chipmunk:
Yeah man! I like The Saturdays a lot! There’s a lot of people I like; Lily Allen... who else do I like? I like The Ting Tings [sings That’s Not My Name], yeah that’s ‘ard!

Pyroradio.com: The one in The Saturdays that used to be in S Club Juniors is a lot.

Chipmunk:
Sick!!! Rochelle.

Pyroradio.com: She’s got a man though hasn’t she?

Chipmunk:
Yeah she’s got a man. I just think… no disrespect; I just think she’s beautiful.

Pyroradio.com: The album is scheduled for release later this year. What can we expect?

Chipmunk:
I Am Chipmunk the album. Just expect 18 years of my life executed through good music man.

Interview by Marvin Sparks [www.marvinsparks.blogspot.com]

Chipmunk’s NEW single Diamond Rings is OUT NOW
Follow Chipmunk
www.twitter.com/Chipmunkartist
Keep up-to-date with latest news, events and information @ http://www.iamchipmunk.com/

If you liked that, check my interview with Tinchy Stryder here


Diamond Rings entered the National UK Charts at #6 today! Big congrats to him. UK urb*n scene is in a good place right now. He's come a long way from this massive tune

Saturday, 11 July 2009

RIP Arturo Gatti (April 15, 1972 - July 11, 2009)


Canadian boxer Arturo Gatti found dead in Brazil

Former world boxing champion Arturo Gatti, who was raised in Montreal, has been found dead in northeastern Brazil.

On a second honeymoon with his wife and 10-month-old baby, Gatti's blood-stained body was found in an apartment in Porto de Galinhas, Brazilian police say.

A police investigation is underway, but few details are being released. Foul play is suspected in the death.

Gatti's body was found at around 6 a.m. Saturday morning. He was found in his underwear, with blood stains on his neck and the back of his head.

Nicknamed "Thunder," Gatti was one of the most successful Canadian boxers in history. Beginning his professional career in 1991 at age 19, he scored a third-round knockout in his first bout.

Three years later he captured the United States Boxing Association junior lightweight title and successfully defended it twice. He earned the International Boxing Federation's world junior lightweight title the following year.

Born in Italy but raised in Montreal, the 37-year-old Gatti retired two years ago.
http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2009/07/11/gatt-dead.html

Can't believe it man. Just under 2 years after his last fight.

Wasn't the most gifted fighter in the world or anywhere near it, but he approached every fight with the mentality of "It's me or him" before brawling toe-to-toe which usually resulted in exciting fights. Linked up with trainer Buddy McGirt who changed his style to a more reserved style. Last time I saw him fight, he was embarrassed by first series of The Contender contestant Alfonso Gomez, but he was past it by then. Mayweather already beat him convincingly on Mayweather's first appearance on PPV (to my knowledge, but it was definitely the first of this current line of PPVs).

Will always be remembered for his trilogy with "Irish" Mickey Ward. One of the best trilogies you will ever see as well as one of the first fights I recommend to people who tell me UFC is better than Boxing. He injured his hand in either the second or third fight and fought on. Sums him up.

Here are all the clips in playlist:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J-zbtXiO5g0&feature=PlayList&p=6B0F9BBE8E45B13A&index=0

Tried to find an example of what to expecct but the video is kind of a giveaway and can't be embeded. Trust me on this one, if you want to watch what Nigel Benn woul describe as a tear-up, watch this. I cannot stress enough that these fights are all top 10 from 00 beyond.


Everyone always thought he fought in too many wars and that it would have an effect on his brain later on in life. Sadly, he never got to later on in life.


RIP a true warrior and legend




UK Funky Jam Sessions

Listened to this on Wednesday and was very impressed, so I thought I'd share with yous. First time I heard UK Funky live was Attaca Pesante @ iluvlive 5th birthday special in June. Was a bit unsure about how it would work but it added new life to Make It Funky For Me.

At this point I'd just like to point out that I love 1Xtra. Not biased or on the payroll. The DJs are people I can relate to, entertaining and knowledgeable. Love how they are the only urban station at the forefront trying to push things forward. I understand that their budget is nice and whatnot but they are doing something innovative with it.

Back on topic, catch MistaJam's show weekdays @ 7pm. Special guest mixes, variety of genres and he knows nuff about music. Gonna be honest, for the fact he was the chef in Crossroads, I really didn't think his knowledge was gonna be as deep as it is.

Startin with Donaaaaaaae'o



Party Hard is a mud ting!!! If you aren'tup skankin them times then stiff board is yeww yewwwwww! I would love to experience this live. Someone with funds make it happen

Cray-zee cu-sunz, cra-zy cou-sins featuring MC Versatile (Funky Anthem, Its That Funky), Kimona (I See You), Kyla(Do You Mind, Daydreamin).



Manazed Suwhear Dowwn Gracious K



KIG Family

Friday, 10 July 2009

Flashback Friday: Mobile Phones 98-02

Dun know da Flashback Friday. Formerly Throwback Thurdays - we're frum Ingerlund not USofA.

So basically anyone who's new to this blogspot, STOP PRESSING SNOOZE!!! Back on track, Friday is the day for appreciation of something old or Flashback memories(geddit?!)

Today I was tied between three things. Can't remember what I was looking at but I saw one of these. BADMAN old skool phones. Luckily for me, I was of a reasonable age when these mofo'fers actually became mobile. After them foolish, impractical phones that gave you a hernia when lifting or you needed a rucksack to carry:



After them walky-talky looking bastads



Eeeeeven after them legendary Mercury one2one free after 7 and on weekend building blocks with 0956 at beginning of number, the credit card sized chip and poor battery life (remember the long life battery you could buy which was the size of medium sliced Hovis bread?)



Nah, nah, nah, I'm talking about when you could use a plug with a lead to charge your phone, caller ID wasn't part of a phone upgrade (SMS was though), Carphone Warehouse were just making their mark on every high street, but Vodafone, o2 etc. weren't about and PAY AS YOU GO LANDED!!!

So what did this new pre-paid service mean for you? I "read" (opposed to 'hear') you ask. Well, I was just about to get to that. This meant it was accessible for I-man as a little youth who couldn't get a bill (ang tight the crew who ran up house phone bills!).

How did it change your life? Good question. There are two answers for this. The first thing that sprung to mind of caring parents was tracking device! I, personally, felt guilty if I never answered to my parents, so this meant no escape. But in a twisted way it also meant independence. Goodbye to walking the streets with pen and paper and most of all no more ringing home phones hoping the dad didn't answer! You know them lower the bass, turn up the treble in your voice ones?

My first phone was a Motorola Colorado from Kays catalogue! Must have cost about £90 and weighed about two bag of flour and a glass of milk. Can't find a pic of it as it wasn't a popular phone. Looking back it was pretty poo poo.

Can't remember the ins and outs but my dad shotted it to someone at work. Well he sold it and said he'd replace it. Can't find the actual one rightaboutnow so I bring you my second phone



I thought I was styling on cowards with my flip phone. Sure they used to have it on American sitcoms and kids programs like Keenan and Kel, so I was proud of it.

Deep down I yearned for these phones; the legendary and innovative face-off a.k.a 5110 a.k.a pimp your phone.



I dreamt of the flashing aerial, rubber buttons with the Jamaica face. Favourite ringtone was either Persuasion or Kick, or even Intro.

3210 was madda road! Not only one face, but front and back change and NO AERIAL!!!



I was one of the best at composing ringtones by ear. Best I ever did kicks in @ 0:25 secs



Best ringtone created by someone somewhere was Special message tone x More Fire Crew - Oi.

Next big boy phone was the real Matrix phone NOT the banana where you had to pull the bit down manually. Straight click of a button ting round 'ere! Tennis made a change from playing snakes



Who remembers what made this a big deal?



Not sure yet? Infra-red! 2 players snakes(although I don't remember playing it)... can't even remember what else it was used for back then. Couldn't send tracks like later day phones.

And the last phone I blog about in this post is this bad mutha...



And remember the its older, the 8210? Came with the standard red face. Back then we wanted the smallest phones. This baby came equipped with radio on the phone! Can't remember if it had polyphonic but the 3310 definitely did. Hudy Gurdy was the one!

For all those who aren't familiar with these times, if you haven't sussed it by now it was a straight Nokia ting. Snakes, the standard Nokia ringtones, changing faces, ringtone composure, user friendly menu set-up etc. meant you had the edge over competitors getting the 'beanies' (female) number.

Also, if you weren't on one2one (now T-Mobile), expect to top-up on credit frequently because cross-network calls weren't a joke back then which also resulted in you not receiving calls. Another plus for one2one was the network crashes. *Message tone* "3txt"!!! When free voicemail dropped the game was a wrap.

This meant you couldn't pull out a Phillips on BT Cellnet or Motorola on Orange. I was the latter once upon a time but I had good friends meaning I never missed out on using the hypes.

Special shouts to the Baby Ericsson and Motorola Wings (v3688).

Now it's all smartphones like BlackBerry's and iPhones, camera's, mp3's, coloured screens and Internet.

Giggs featuring The Streets - Slow Songs [video]

Blogged it 2 times before, said all that I can say. Vid

Interview: Chino and Laden - Big Ship

Introducing to you, two of the hottest young talents in the Dancehall business; Laden, a finalist in Digicel's Rising Star (Jamaica's equivalent to American Idol/X-Factor) and Chino, son of reggae legend Freddie McGregor and brother to serial hitmaker Stephen 'Di Genius' McGregor. With both artists popularity rapidly rising both on radio and in the dances from uptown to he ghettos, you'd be hard pushed to find two artists with clean songs making as much noise.

Marvin Sparks caught up with the two Big Ship stars Laden and Chino whilst on a tour with Freddie McGregor to discuss the effect the radio ban in Jamaica has made on their careers, if it's harder to make it without controversy and Michael Jackson's passing. Chino speaks on working relationship with brother Stephen ‘Di Genius’ McGregor, the possible adverse affect of carrying the McGregor name and the beef with Munga. Laden explains why he took the reality show route, linking with the Big Ship camp and why now is his time to shine.

Marvin Sparks: What brings you both to England?

Laden:
Right now we’re touring. We are on a UK tour. We are also heading to Europe, US, Japan… a lot of things - Big Ship sailing.

Chino: Yeah. Right now we are touring and exploring and the fans them saying we aren’t boring! We are doing UK, a lot of festivals in Europe, Africa, and then we go to the US tour. We have a couple gigs in Jamaica then we go back to the US tour and Japan after.

Marvin Sparks: What’s the reaction to both of your music being that most fans will be there for Freddie McGregor?

Chino:
Great! Great so far; the venues that we’ve been to the fans are familiar with the songs, and we are also gaining new fans. The combination is like the best of both worlds because my father’s fan base is there as well as our youth fan base, so it’s a good combination.

Marvin Sparks: Is there still involvement from Freddie McGregor in Big Ship today or has he left it for the young ones?

Chino:
Of course; he’s still recording, touring, the head advisor, promoting - just did a big concert the other day called Rocksteady meets Reggae and Dancehall in Jamaica. He’s the head captain steering the ship.

Marvin Sparks: Chino, what made you become an MC instead of a singer like your father?

Chino:
Jus my genuine love for music. I’m somewhat of a laid back artist; I don’t know if shy is the word to say. I didn’t really see myself being an artist per sé, standing on a stage in front of people. But I guess the genuine love of music brought me towards that. We always had the studio in the house, so we were always there observing the elders and I just took on music. I guess it was inevitable.

Marvin Sparks: When did you start making music seriously?

Chino:
We started making it professionally in ‘98. I got my first hit single in ‘99, a song called Leggo Di Bwoy with Kiprich.

Marvin Sparks: You are on that? I never knew you were on that; which part did you do?

Chino:
The rapping part. Listen it back.

Marvin Sparks: What's it like working with younger brother, the hit maker Stephen ‘Di Genius’ McGregor?

Chino:
Everybody asks me that but I don’t know how to answer it because it’s not really a typical work situation. It’s a family situation where we just bounce ideas off each other in the studio. It’s not a work relationship so to speak.

Marvin Sparks: Where did the name originate from?

Chino:
From Leggo Di Bwoy with Kiprich, I was carrying the name Cappachino at the time. I eventually grew and just simplified it to Chino.

Marvin Sparks: On your song Protected you speak about people saying you only made it due to your last name. Does it still bother you when people say that?

Chino:
No, it doesn’t actually. I rarely hear it. People on forums say it, hence that’s how it came about on Protected, but I don’t really hear it too much. Even when I do hear it, it doesn’t affect me because I am a person who just does me - I don’t really let critics get to me. I make critics motivate me to write more songs.



Marvin Sparks: Are you happy with your place in the industry?

Chino:
Yeah, most definitely. If I were to complain I would be very ungrateful. I can say honestly, myself and our camp are getting played more than most artists in the game locally right now. We’re getting a whole lot of love from January until now. We made our mark in Sting last year - that was my first Sting and did well, so from January ‘til now we have been doing every big show, we’ve been touring the singles out there, the people are showing a whole lot of love. I can’t really complain, I just signed an endorsement deal with Coca Cola for Coke Zero out in Jamaica. Next time you go to Jamaica you will see the billboards all about the place, on the buses - all over.

Marvin Sparks: I have to ask you, what is the situation with Munga right now?

Chino:
Who? Who name so? Which song does he have?

Marvin Sparks: ...

Chino:
Well let me clarify the situation: Big Ship is not a label which came out the other day and is a careless thing. Big Ship is a legendary label that my dad started from way back when, so obviously you know a whole heap of respect surrounds that label. When you rise up as a little man and you go out of your way to disrespect the camp then people aren’t going to take that and you career is going to be in jeopardy as a result of that. We are done. Where they now and where are are we now?



Marvin Sparks: Laden, where did your name come from?

Laden:
A good friend of mine called me Laden one time and it stayed from there. I love it. As an artist coming up in the industry you need a name that everyone can say “Bwoy, that name tuff eeh?” Bounty Killer, Busy Signal, Hollow Point... your name always counts in Dancehall. So from when my friend called me Laden for the first time I loved it.

Marvin Sparks: How would you describe yourself as an artist?

Laden:
Just a nice easy-going youth with melodies and lyrics - lyrics! Just check the lyrics. A youth who can write and doesn’t stray from concepts.

Marvin Sparks: Would you say you are a singer or a singjay?

Laden:
You could say I’m a singjay because I sing the choruses and [MC] the verses, so you could class me as a singjay.

Marvin Sparks: You were on Jamaica’s equivalent to American Idol...

Laden:
Yes, I was a finalist.

Marvin Sparks: What were you doing before Rising Star?

Laden:
Just hanging out at studios, building songs and beats with Stunt Squad. You have some youths in Stunt Squad who have talent like me, you have engineers and you have [MCs] so I was just hanging out in Junction which is an area in St. Elizabeth. We used to hang out on a plaza called Tony Road plaza and build beats then Rising Star came about and I decided to give it a try.

Marvin Sparks: Many artists look down on shows like that.

Laden:
At first I was looking down on it like “No, I’m too good for that,” and then I thought I’d give it a try. It helped me a lot. I’ve got to say big up to Digicel Rising Star.

Marvin Sparks: How and why did you link with Big Ship?

Laden:
Big Ship is the hottest spot. As a youth coming up in the game I never wanted to link with artists because I know artists aren‘t going to help me - I wanted a producer who is making beats and making things happen. I linked with Big Ship and I’m shining right now.

Marvin Sparks: Why do you feel you never made it big before Rising Stars? Why did it take so long for your Time To Shine, pun intended?

Laden:
It was just a learning process; you start off doing the thing and paying your dues. You see the first way to get through the gate then you just go. As I said before Digicel Rising Star helped me a lot with exposure and how to perform. Big up to them once more.



Marvin Sparks: Both of you are quite clean cut artists, but what are your thoughts on the radio ban?

Laden:
I have no problem with the daggering, but when you go too deep with the lyrics and make it too explicit and too much edit, that’s where I have the problem, because it sounds annoying. You know if it’s too explicit it can’t be played on the radio and if it’s too raw and too much edit it’s annoying.

Marvin Sparks: Has it had any effect on your work Chino?

Chino:
Nah, it hasn’t affected my work. As a real artist you have to be wise. Alright the ban is there and the pressure [from authorities] is there, so what are you going to do, throw your hands out and complain, and get depressed then stop doing music? Nah, you make your music, get your point across, but do it in a clever way whereas it’s clean but the message is still there. Jamaican music from before Bob Marley’s time has always been about freedom of speech; we sing about and express things that happen around us. We address those issues in our songs but we say it in a nice way that it doesn't have to be edited out. I don’t have a problem and it doesn’t affect us. As a matter of fact since the whole ban and the pressure we have been getting more love and even more radio play.

Laden: Disc jocks are classing us as the cleanest.

Chino: You’ll find that where disc jocks are skeptical of playing certain artists songs, they are playing us all day from morning ‘til morning again so I don’t have a problem. It just forces the industry to boil back down to real music, you understand. Real artists, real producers, real musicians... You have to know melodies, concepts, topics and lyrics which are clean and can be played on radio, but still have the effect in the [parties]. Producers you have to be a real musician and know music, so I’m happy. I’m interested to see how the game will between now and Christmas.

Marvin Sparks: Would you say it’s harder for artists who aren’t involved in beefs and controversy to be recognised and get to a prominent position in the industry?

Laden:
Not really. From you have the talent and you work hard you will get there eventually. All the talented artists out there; from you are working towards your goal you will reach it. You don’t have to call any names or pick any vibes to get somewhere.

Chino: The game has gone past the war thing, throwing words and negativity. That music isn’t there anymore; people aren’t in that mind frame anymore. If you as an artist are trying to break from [controversy] you are wasting your time, hence the name you asked me about earlier [Munga], that’s how he tried to breakthrough - calling people’s name. You cannot have a sustained career from that; you can’t have a sustainable catalogue from doing that. If you make those kinds of songs it will only last two months, if that. If you’re in the game you should be thinking longevity. You need to make songs that will last for years - generations - and that’s the vibe we are on.

Marvin Sparks: What projects can we expect from you guys in the near future?

Chino:
Last quarter of ‘09 you can expect a Chino album. Look out. Singles on top of singles, on top of singles, videos on top of videos, all day everyday. Keep posted to the Twitter, Facebook and MySpace.

Laden: September definitely will be the release from my album will be released in Japan.

Marvin Sparks: Is there going to be an in-house Big Ship album?

Chino:
There will be individual albums as well as a Big Ship compilation album. Compilation meaning myself, Laden, the captain [Freddie McGregor], Shema, Singing Sweet, Bramma, etc. so look out for that.

Marvin Sparks: Michael Jackson passed recently. Everyone over here and USA are mourning him, but for those who don’t know, put it into perspective just how big he was to you guys in Jamaica?

Chino:
He was huge! Michael Jackson is the biggest thing all over the world.

Laden: The biggest thing; Michael Jackson is the king!

Marvin Sparks: And how will you guys remember him?

Chino:
Michael Jackson inspired most artists. I can’t think of one artist who he didn’t inspire because he is an all-round entertainer; singer, dancer, performer, composer, songwriter. Michael set some different trends and raised the bar. The bar that he rose, artists can’t touch it now. In terms of sales, concepts... Michael is the first artist I saw make extremely big budget video which looked like movies. He was the first person I watched do a concert and everybody was just fainting. He’s the King believe me.

www.twitter.com/chinomcregor
http://www.myspace.com/chinomcgregor
Facebook: Daniel Chino McGregor

http://www.myspace.com/itsladen
Facebook: Okeefe Laden Aarons

http://www.myspace.com/bigshipinc

'Protected' Chino and 'Money Over War' by Laden both appear on VP Reggae Gold 2009 available in stores now



Thursday, 9 July 2009

My thoughts: Michael Jackon Memorial

Had every intention of posting this yesterday, kind of waste to post it today but bun it, "man does what I want innit"

My initial thoughts were the whole ceremony would have been farcical, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with it. Mariah Carey? Well boy, less said the better. Try come on Twitter with some excuse

Trying to sing today was basically impossible for me. I could barely keep myself from crying. I'm sorry that I wasn't able to pull it together and really do it right,but I was literally choked up when I saw him there in front of me.
via http://twitter.com/MariahCarey

You know what, I would have believed her about being choked up if I hadn't seen her treating her songs like the local Halal butchers. Have to ask, were you choked up on X Factor last year as well? Yeah? Ge-dout-ov-here!!! All my bredder Trey Lorenz (what happened to that breh?) didn't really cut it but we'll bly him. The occasion must have got to him. Local clubs and pub karaoke's aren't quite Staples Center crowds let alone Michael Jackson's funeral.

Simon Cowell got his "Brooowwwn Paayyyper Baaaaaaahhhhg" money on to get my yout' from Britain's Got Talent. Did well still. Mic was shegged but what an honour. In a kinda twisted way I would have loved to have done that as a youtman.

I'm sure most have seen the above vids already. If you haven't I'm gonna take a wild guess you don't want to. Either way, best of the rest:

Usher's performance was moving. Brave dude for touching the casket. Didn't blame him for bawlin though. That would have been me.

Jermaine's a brave dude getting up there and singing. Did well also.



John Mayer playing a big tune in Human Nature



Stevie Wonder's was fitting too



But in all honesty, it was the speeches that stood out for me still. Brooke Shields held it together quite well even though she was on the brink of full blown bawlin



Didn't know who this lady was before, still don't know who she is properly yet, but I will Google her in due course. Showered down the place



Rev Al Sharpy was on some dunnin dances vibe from early (the day MJ died), then repped again at the funeral



Killer was Paris



Although media saying she shouldn't have touched mic, it appears as though she put herself forward for it.

On the flip, I heard there was one fossil taking the proceedings for Graham Norton on EuroVision Song Contest. Paul Mallignaggi or something like that. No wait, Mallinaggi was the surname of the dude Hatton beat up. Paul Gambiccini is the dude's name. Glad I never watched that. Hold tight the man on Sky News saying Michael Jackson's music sounds dated wasn't groundbreaking like Elvis and The Beatles. Elvis and The Beatles? Their earlier songs were R&B/Rock and Roll which was already being made by artists who weren't getting mainstream love.

I tell you no lies, I love this guy Bill O'Reilly. He infuriates me with his ignorance, traps he lays, constant interruptions to save him losing face... but at the end of the day I watch and it evokes emotions like no TV progamme does in UK. Talk Radio is a different story though







I would sekkle him simple though. I always debate with him in my head, sometimes stretches to muttering but I doubt he can lip read through the monitor.

Hold tight the people saying he was only a singer and didn't deserve all this adulation. So was Elvis. Well he was just a drug addicted, fat bastard who was a bum struggling for fame in Vegas at time of death and initially dated Priscilla Pressley when she was a teenager, but people don't share that side. He died on a flippin toilet seat remember. Hopefully the same will happen with MJ in a couple generations time. If you don't like him or his music fine but surely you must understand.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Giggs & The Streets - Slow Songs [behind the scenes]

So today I went down to the screening of the new video by the most established Road Rap (UK Hip Hop is a par to Road Rap mandem) Giggs in collaboration with Mike Skinner who produced as well as features. As posted before, this is the unlikeliest of combinations but works so well. Shot by the boss of Road media SBTV, in collaboration with leading urban magazine RWD (namely Chantelle Fiddy). On a real no one does behind the scnenes better than SBTV. Not breadin, just being real. As Jason Lewis said, people from ends don't really congratulate each other properly.

Once again, enough long talking



Will post the official (cos I feel the song's harrrrd) when I see it floating on t'internet.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Zest (Play Ents) - Jump In The Middle and Skank



Video is sick!!! Big boy job. Songs a bit meh now that Gracious K took the line for his Migraine Skank, but the vid is top three selected with Tribal Skank and Make It Funky For ME. Really impressed with the way it was shot and edited. Concept doesn't leave for much imagination, but the execution is flippin brilliant

iComplain: The Secret Caribbean with Trevor McDonald

I was disgusted by the program I saw called 'Secrets of Caribbean' with Trevor McDonald. Thought it was a false representation of Jamaica - aren't they all? So guess what I did? I complained to their rarse'ole! Not the first time I've complained about a program mind you.

Here is what I sent them

Dear Sir/Madam,

I'm writing this email as feedback of The Secret Caribbean with Trevor McDonald show which was screened last night (5 July 2009) on ITV1 at 8pm. When I first heard this episode involved going to Jamaica, in line with the show being called 'Secret' I anticipated a side of Jamaica which isn't the normal angle we see on every show concerning the most popularly known island across the world

At the very least I expected the program to showcase how the normal, vibrant Jamaican lives. A life consisting of agriculture, picturesque landscape and hospitable people cooking and serving rich flavoured world-famous cuisines. The home of Jerk Chicken is Jamaica. I emphasise: at the very least. Even if the obvious is shown, the rich history of Reggae music could have played a more prominant role; a genre which has the output and influence much bigger than the islands reasonably small landspace. Maybe even include the recent success of the Athletics team.

However, as per usual I set my standards way too high. Unlike the other islands who actually had an interesting concept behind them, yet again we were fed the predictable, not-even-yawn-worthy bore "Island of guns and drugs" doused in crime statistics with Blue Mountain coffee thrown in like an after thought as to give a balance. There are many more interesting tourist locations the average person doesn't know about, such as Rose Hill, YS Falls, Rick's Cafe - if you thought they may have been too obscure surely Dunns River would have sufficed.

As a journalist myself, I know lazy journalism when I see it. In fact it was so lazy, the usually very knowledgeable and seasoned professional Sir Trevor McDonald managed to mistakenly say Bob Marley was shot as a result of gang violence when it is well-known that it was politically motivated. Edward Seaga (JLP) and Michael Manley (PNP) shook hands at a concert days later in what was an significant moment in Jamaican history.

Trinidad and Tobago has a problem with organised crime and cast division/racism, yet, it focused on the positives as I understand. However, if you wanted to show the SECRET, it may have been more apt for you to show the side we don't see of both islands.

In conclusion, I would like to know the thought process behind this program and where the SECRET bit was. I think I missed it somewhere between the obvious being stated. To top it off, when I went into work today, a few of my work collegues were talking about the program which lead to one lady making a comment to the effect of: "It's because of Jamaicans why we have a gang problem over here isn't it?". Now if that was the point of the program I begrudgingly congratulate you. In a twisted way I guess you made your point.

Should you need someone to help make an accurate depiction of The REAL Jamaica, don't be afraid to email me.

Aniticipating your response,



Marvin Sparks


If you want to watch it, search it. I aint posting that on here. If I get a response I'll post it.

p.s. one day, this blog will come back to haunt me, but honesty shouldn't kill anyone.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Trippple Bounce riddim

No typo in the title. Stephen McGregor has fully made me anticipate summer in Jamaica! This new riddim entitled Triple Bounce as well as the one I posted before, Fitness, are going to be the riddims for Summer 09. Can't wait to hear what other producers such as Shane Brown, DASECA and others have got lined up. This is produced by Zip Jock Chrome from Jamaican radio station Zip 103 (they don't have DJs, they have ZJs).

This tune is mad!!! Mavado has got a hit on his hands.



The other big piece is Kartel. Same melody as Time So Hard on Boasty riddim but still a big'un to me



This tune will dun dances. Kartel kiiiiills this



Voicemail return to the dance tunes. Can't remember the last one they did since RDX came and cornered off that piece of the meerkat... sorry market. Sounds the same init?



Here is a vid of how to do the Nuh Behaviour



Not feelin that dance if I'm honest. Hence why I haven't posted it before. Riddim in the video is Movie Star if you wanted to know. The 2 Mavado tunes on that riddim along with the one posted above could possibly swing the pendulum back into his favour just in time for the most pivotal period of the year; summer.

We'll see

I can't strikeout and can't be bothered to google it but I have changed my mind on Nuh Behaviour - I LOVE THAT DANCE

Friday, 3 July 2009

Damian Marley and Nas Distant Relatives EPK

Forgot to post this from weh day. Can't wait for this to drop. Best Dancehall lyricist pairing with one of Hip Hop's elite is sure to bring forth great results, no? As long as Damian and Stephen Marley select the beats this is a winner. Come on Nas hasn't picked good beats consistently since Stillmatic in 01.

NAS & DAMIAN "JR GONG" MARLEY DISTANT RELATIVES preview from nabil elderkin on Vimeo.

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Serani and Melanie Fiona - No Games remix

If you didn't know Serani has been signed to Universal Republic.

Anyone who knows me personally will know I was endorsing this song when everyone was talking about So Special. I just thought it was the better song if I'm honest. Anyone who reads free monthly urban magazine D101 who receive my reviews and charts will know I reviewed it when I reached back from Jamaica for last year September's mag. You will also know I was writing about Serani when no one played him. Nice to see it come to fruition. Shame I didn't get to interview him whilst he was over here. But we'll say no more about that cos it's all political. Enough playing tunes on my own trumpet for now ;-)

Island have put Serani together with the lovely Melanie Fiona (yes I kinda think I fancy her) for a remix. Guessing they are trying to put the two Caribbean artists together on one track. Lol'd at her singing "I-i-its Melarni" to rhyme with Serani.

Stole this from http://www.newsychick.com/


Me likey, but it didn't change so I guess I was bound to like it.

I interviewed Melarni whilst she was over here in May maybe? Or early June. Anyway, will post it here tomorrow.

My Rant: Drake - Best I Ever Had video

Once again I must state I don't post regular videos unless I have an opinion on it, a song I like or something that doesn't get posted everywhere (mainly Reggae/Dancehall songs I'm feelin'). This isn't some wannabe WorldStar/R&B blog where you see vids you see everywhere else.

Yeah, yeah, yeah Drake 'Best I Ever Had'



The net is on fire with this video now. So many opinions flying about, surprisingly for the man who can do no wrong and directed by an artist who fits in the "do no wrong" bracket most are negative.

Now for the opinion you've all been waiting for (said in an announcer voice) minez's! I think it's a bit somewhere else; why's Kanye bringing this University thing back? Is he upset that he wasn't the popular kid in school? Or even mad he was bullied or something? First, he dropped College Dropout, them foolish Lewis Veeton (or Louis Vuitton or whatever) backpacks, then Late Registration, even trying to bring it back through his feature on banging Keri Hilson's banger Knock You Down centres around being the neek in school. Get over it Kanye!

But anyway, drifted off topic there. Back to the video. As much (or as little) as it doesn't relate to the song, he's kind of gone from the Lil Wayne soundalike who flaps his hand like Kanye on stage to a Lil Wayne soundalike, Kanye West handflappin breast man! Hooray for Drake, I say.

Thank Jah he didn't come with some corny R&B-esque video with women wearing appropriate clothing and no body like Jeremih did for Birthday Sex. To all the people complaining about this: where were you when Jermih had the girl who would envy the curves of an ironing board in his vid? Huh?! I didn't hear you, what did you just say? That's right, you said nothing!

End of the day, none of the females will hate the song because of the vid. I understand why you hate the vid. He pulled the whole "I'm a nice gentleman, I'll bring you flowers on a rainy day....... NAGHT!" ('not' but in Borat's voice/accent). Men will watch to see bouncing things whilst not think they are listening to some damp, sweet, corny R&B dude trapped in a Rapper's body. Last thing, we are all talking about it and will tell a friend so it gets the attention it needs.

AND THAT'S THE BUTTOM LINE COZ M. SPARKS SAID SO



Oh yeah, for an actor his acting wasn't as good in my humble opinion.

p.s. Love you Amber Rose baby mwah. Come see me soon you hear? Can't deal with this snoggin' through the phone stuff!

I didn't actually say whether it was it was good, did I? I was left quite confused if I'm honest. Don't know if the video went past me when I was admiring the females on display but I wasn't too impressed. The little skits inbetween were kinda chuckle worthy. Thought the timing was mad off though (halfway through the second verse?!). But yeah, I didn't and still don't get it. But it's successful, so you'll get the money, hoes and clothes cos everyone is talking and the song will be a hit regardless.

R.I.P. Dennis Brown 1st July 1999

Was meant to post this yesterday but it was a very busy day. Went to interview the young guns from Big Ship Chino and Laden. Interview will be up shortly.

Yesterday marked the 10th year anniversary passing of the Crown Prince of Reggae (1February 1957 – 1 July 1999) and a guy who really should be more known and respected to those outside of Reggae.

Dennis Emmanuel Brown (February 1, 1957 – July 1, 1999) was a Jamaican reggae singer. During his prolific career, he had recorded more than 75 albums and was one of the pioneers of lovers rock, a sub-genre of reggae. Bob Marley cited Brown as his favourite singer, and dubbed him "The Crown Prince of Reggae".

Biography
Dennis Brown's first recording was "Lips of Wine" recorded for Derrick Harriott, but this was not released initially. He then recorded for Coxsone Dodd at Studio One, and Dodd released Brown's first single, "No Man is an Island". Brown recorded two albums for Dodd, No Man is an Island and If I Follow my Heart (the title track penned by Alton Ellis). During this time, Brown recorded material for Lloyd Daley ("Baby Don't Do It" and "Things in Life") and material for Derrick Hariott, which was eventually released as the Super Reggae and Soul Hits album. He also worked for Earl Hayles and the Charmaine label early in his career. "Money In My Pocket" was a UK Top 20 hit in 1979 (reaching #14 in the UK Singles Chart). This led to his contract with A&M Records, and to the formation of his own label, DEB records; which produced several of hits, including many by Junior Delgado.

His first commercially successful song internationally was "Money In My Pocket" on the Joe Gibbs label, and by the late 1970s, Brown had recorded and performed chart-toppers such as "Sitting & Watching", "Wolves and Leopards", "Here I Come" and "Revolution"; many featuring Sly and Robbie as the rhythm section. As the dancehall era of the 1980s arrived, Brown frequently recorded with King Jammy and Gussie Clarke. Trojan Records included Brown on their Jamaican Superstars compilation album (along with Gregory Isaacs, Delroy Wilson, Alton Ellis, John Holt and Pat Kelly), calling him the "perfect superstar". The compilation was released in 1998, the year before his death.

Death
In May 1999, after touring in Brazil with other reggae singers, Brown started to show symptoms of illness. After returning to Kingston, Jamaica, on the evening of June 30, 1999, he was rushed to Kingston's University Hospital, suffering from cardiac arrest. Brown died the next day, and the official cause of his death was a collapsed lung. Former Jamaican Prime Minister P. J. Patterson and opposition leader Edward Seaga of the Jamaica Labour Party both spoke at Brown's funeral, which was held on July 17, 1999 in Kingston. The service, which lasted for three hours, also featured live performances by Maxi Priest, Shaggy, and five of Brown's sons. Brown was then buried at Kingston's National Heroes Park
.
SOURCE

Here are a few of my favourites. If you claim to be a Reggae fan, but haven't got these in your record box you aren't a true fan. Hold tight all my Vibes FM Rice and Peas selection crooooo!

The party/concert starters







2 lovers tracks



Think he originally recorded this when he was about 14. Could be wrong but he was between 12-14. Can't be arsed to search it right now so deal with it!



Jeeeezum, I was supposed to stop at 3 songs. Alright one more

This is actually called To The Foundation


Left us with some timeless music and a great legacy. Still mashing up dancefloors and holds a special place in our hearts 10 years after his passing. RIP


Throwback Thursday will commence next week