Thursday, 18 September 2014

#tbt Summer 2004 Appreciation a.k.a When Dancehall RAN "Urb*n-Pop" Music

Came across this tweet today, (big up @MervinMartin_)




Memories. The date was week commencing 20/August/2004. I remember these times because I was in New York when these songs were everywhere. Took me back to the year Sean Paul was nominated for Best New Artist Grammy. When dancehall videos by the likes of Elephant Man, TOK, Wayne Marshall etc., were all over MTV Base and Channel U. When Elephant Man was on every remix. When hip hop videos had dancehall dances and dancers. When r&b songs had a  dancehall groove.

Number 1 on the US chart as pictured above, Fat Joe "Lean Back"

Dancehall-friendly groove + dancehall dance (the rockaway).



Elephant Man said "Them thief all me rockaway... cos we just dance it down [here]" referring to the above on "Father Elephant"



Number 4: Kevin Lyttle "Turn Me On"

This song is extremely high in the greatest Caribbean one-hit wonder ranks. Groovy soca with a dancehall groove is always a winner.

LargeUp spoke to Kevin about creation of the song: "I said to the producer Adrian Bailey, I want that sound from those old dancehall records by people like Little Lenny and Beenie Man, on the old Punanny riddim (sings) choon-choonk-a-choonk, choon-choonk-a-choonk." Can read the rest here


Number 5: Christina Milian - "Dip It Low"

Her highest charting single ever (written by Teedra Moses). Dancehall beat through and through with Chinese-sounding strings running on top. Peaked at #2 in the UK.



Number 6: Ciara "Goodies"

More of an honorary mention to be honest. This song isn't dancehall but I'm putting it here because I believe Lil Jon used techniques he learnt from dancehall - emphasis on drum and bass, and minimal production, plus versioning. For those who don't know, Lil' Jon was a dancehall radio DJ in Atlanta and made hip hop remixes of reggae songs like Capleton "Tour". And regarding the versioning, this was essentially the third hit off the same riddim; Usher "Yeah" (video included dancehall dances Rockaway and Thunda Clap, remember?) and Petey Pablo "Freek-A-Leek".

But ultimately, it's a snap song. And it eventually peaked at #1



Sorry, but can we take a moment to watch "Get Low (remix)" (from the year before)? Elephant Man murdered this. He made the ever-animated Busta Rhymes sound tame.



Also, you know Pitbull? His first charting single was a Lil Jon-assisted/produced dancehall song "Culo". It's on the Skatta-produced Coolie Dance riddim, which leads me on to the last entry…

Number 8: Nina Sky "Move Your Body"

The Puerto Rican twins delivered the biggest commercial cut on the Coolie Dance riddim. Peaked at #4 in US, #6 in UK.



Another song running television that summer was Elephant Man + guests "Jook Gal" peaked at #57.



So was Beenie Man "King of the Dancehall", peaked at #22 in the US rap chart, #14 in UK. "Dude" reached #26 in the US Hot 100 pop chart earlier that year.



Couple years later, we were brought and NeYo on dancehall-flavoured "So Sick" and "Sexy Love" followed by future pop superstar Rihanna on dancehall-flavoured"Pon De Replay".

A while ago, I spoke with Sean Paul about these times. He said: “Don’t forget people like R. Kelly. He did stuff that sounded like dancehall [editors note: "Thoia Thoing,, "Snake," "Fiesta"...] and they gave him best R&B album. I was like wow. I respect his musicianship, but when we hear that it is straight dancehall. When Stargate hit with Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent”, that’s a dancehall track; it’s just that Vybz Kartel and Spicestole it and did their thing.” Can read the rest herehttp://soulculture.com/features/interviews/sean-paul-dancehalls-influence-on-popular-music-culture-is-immense-interview/#ixzz3DgqXrFsL 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Bob Marley 30 year old Legend is top ten in US & UK right now

Yep, you read correctly. Bob Marley's thirty year old greatest hits collection, Legend, sits in the top ten both sides of the Atlantic.

"How?" I hear you ask. Well, that's mainly down to Google Play selling the album for 99¢ in US. Not sure what happen but I'm guessing 99p in England? "Oh, that's obvious then," well, kinda but not really. Two questions I ask, why Bob Marley's album and why now? Is it the "Rude" effect?

"We love to celebrate artists like Bob Marley whose music is timeless and beloved," says Google Play head of global music partner management Gwen Shen. "Our hope is that this promotion ... will introduce his music to the next generation of fans and continue his legacy."
For the record (pun intended), the set already peaked at #29 over here in the UK without any such promotion and has spent the last couple months in the top 75 (as it does every April to Sept/Oct when big guns come out). It is the 5th longest running album in the UK chart of all time. This is an album that costs £7.99 on UK iTunes. Most albums over 3 months old are lucky to be £5.99.

It also averages at around "3,000 and 5,000 copies per week, and has sold 11.6 million copies in the United States since 1991, when Nielsen SoundScan started tracking sales."

Bob Marley's legacy is one of, if not the strongest of any recording artist worldwide. His impact on music, life and culture is unrivalled. People across the world are inspired by the messages in his music to this day. Look at the amount of people wearing dreadlocks (whether their hair is made for it or not), even if they don't sight Rastafari, they're all aware of Bob Marley. And there isn't anybody in the world who listens to reggae and isn't familiar with Bob Marley. And reggae is a worldwide thing.

All of this from an artist who came from the ghettoes in Jamaica without assistance of mainstream media telling you it is what you need, or constantly reminding you of his legend like they do for rock and soul peers.

Source for UK album chart position