How Can We Make Reggae Better?

Listen, you all know my love for reggae runs deep. I hopped out of the womb jamming to reggae music. Bob Marley was my first boyfriend and I cried livin’ yiy wata the day my mother told me he was dead. So great is my love that, when I die, I want my ashes sprinkled on Reggae Mountain, so I can listen to music from Dub Club and live performances at Skyline Levels from the afterlife.

Mi love it, but mi haffi ask, what can we do to make the genre even better?

Reggae originated in Rastafari and as such the songs are influenced by the movement’s ideologies. This is why it is the birthright of every reggae artiste to create at least one song fi chant down Babylon, and/or a song about marijuana. It is expected. Do it. Now that you’ve gotten it out of your system, what’s next?  I look at reggae as a form of edutainment- it’s both fun to listen to, and thought-provoking. This makes it the perfect conduit for tackling the plethora of issues facing the black community. Depression, for example, is a big one. It is still widely believed that black people can’t be depressed. We don’t talk about it and we don’t sing about it. Why not?

In all fairness, wi have man like Tarrus Riley singing songs about domestic violence and Shaggy tackling child abuse, so it is being done to some extent; however, I would still like to see the further diversification of the content of reggae music. Not convinced? I challenge you to google “Reggae songs about…” and you’ll see the same old topics that everyone expects- love, peace, God, weed, poverty, violence, Babylon…

Another thing that has me baffled is how whenever a musician tries something new everybody have heart failure? It’s like there is some formula for creating reggae music and any musician that is daring enough to deviate from the formula will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Reggae artistes either get attacked for “selling out” or dem nuh get nuh fahwud. Whichever happens, they revert to the original setting and everything stays the same. Folks, the sooner we learn that it is possible to be a little different whilst maintaining our connection to our roots, the better. Sometimes change is necessary for sustainability. Stop putting our musicians in a box. Stop stifling creativity.

Alright, I think I can get off the soapbox now. Seriously though, I’m interested in hearing what you think. Am I way off target or do you think there’s something here? What do you think could be done to improve reggae music? Do you think it’s fine just the way it is?

Here’s the video that inspired this post! Nuff respect to Kapital Stone


Of Trees, Greens and Royalty

Unnuh see da tweet yah?


This is why I have trust issues.  Nuhbadi cya tell mi seh on October 23,2017, Royal Blu neva done set fi drop him EP exactly one month later. At any rate, the poll done show seh di fans did wah di EP. I wanted more live shows because Blu eva a set him show dem fi when I’m not in the country (I’m not bitter) but the EP will suffice.

The project was produced by Foresta and I’m liking what I’ve been seeing so far. This isn’t the first time the two have worked together either! Back in 2016, one of Foresta’s friends introduced him to some of Blu’s music and the two have been producing gems ever since. Check out their song “Believe” it’s one of my favourites.

So, about a week ago, Royal Blu released the first single, “SinG with God”; a collaboration with Runkus. It could have been the dance references, the steady pulse, the classic Blu and Runkus combination or all of the above, whatever it was, I had this song on repeat for an embarrassingly long time. I promised myself  I wouldn’t write a review until the entire project was out.  Well, a promise is a comfort to a fool and me a di bigges’ eediat. When “Blu Mahoe” was released, I lost all restraint and here we are…

“Blu Mahoe” isn’t the kind of song you listen to passively. The Royal Blu packed metaphors, imagery, themes, cultural appreciation, a motivational speech, a social commentary and a history class all in a 4-minute long song. This is what we call edutainment.

It’s easy to see the level of thought that went into penning this song. The very title “Blu Mahoe” is a testament to Blu’s love for his country, and is his way of identifying himself as a person who is rooted in his Jamaicaness. In this song, the Blue Mahoe, Jamaica’s national tree, serves as the artiste’s muse. He interweaves the tree motif throughout the entire song to show the importance of knowing and appreciating our Jamaican roots.

Every time I listen to this song, I hear something new, but here are a few of my favourite lines so far:

I can tell you I am safer with the trees, I am never acapella, it’s the making of a beat. Clever with the weather and the shaking of the leaves.

This is Blu’s way of popping the collar of Jamaicans near and far for being awesome, rhythmic and musical beings. Bless up!

Perfection is perception.

This line is repeated throughout the song to acknowledge that not everyone will see the beauty in Jamaica as Blu does.

Funny how unnatural the natural seem, when the winds of change never blow nuh change on the blackest leaves.

Here, we are reminded that while globally, things have changed, racism, colourism, and the signs of slavery are still very much present.

Yup, that’s all for now folks! Like what you see so far? The EP will be out on November 24th, but feel free to pre-order your copy now with this link!


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Lessons from Mommy

Where all my Nintendo 64 users at? You’re in the middle of an amazing race in Mario Kart and the game freezes, what do you do? That’s right! Take out the cartridge, hit it a couple of times, blow it, put it back in, restart and: “Welcome to Mario Kart!” Well, after two intense weeks of studying for midterms I was a suck-out bag juice and I needed someone to hit restart. That someone was my mommy!

Mommy and I  spent time playing phone-tag this weekend but when we finally connected, we were on the phone for two hours talking about everything and nothing at the same time. I hadn’t laughed that hard in a long time and that was exactly what I needed. She finally signed up for the floral arrangement course she’d been thinking about since I left for college four years ago. I told her I was proud of her for trying something new and joked that she learned it from me. That’s when it dawned on me that I had actually gotten it from her.

My mom grew up in a poor family and even though she wanted to be adventurous she simply could not afford it. She promised herself that her children would have the life she wanted growing up and she saw that through. I had my first dance class when I was four and I always had some sort of non-academic program every year since I was 6. These included cooking classes, art classes, foreign language classes and my personal favourite, music classes at Edna Manley College. I even went to cricket camp where I realised I was not made for sports.

In my household, getting good grades was very important but my mom taught me there was more to this world than work. She planted in me a desire to try new things and watered it every opportunity she got. Now, I fertilise the product of her hard work frequently by seeking out opportunities for adventures. I’ve taken up ceramics, latin dancing, and drumming, and each activity came with a new set of challenges that made the hard work I put in totally worth it. I have an evergrowing bucket list of things I will try eventually and I promise to take you all on the journey with me.

I would like to challenge you all to try something that scares you. Promise me you will stick to it even if you think you are terrible at it. You will grow, you will improve and your confidence will increase. We all need to find that one thing we absolutely love that can let the light in our darkest days. Wi cya jus a gwan an a guh suh. There’s more to life than the 9-5.

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Who are you to make me feel this way?
So caught up on all of the things that you say.
With your sweet lies
Deceitful eyes
Playing the fool to catch the wise.
But are you playing?
I’m just saying, because you must be pretty dumb,
To just come,
And mess up everything I had right.
maybe it’s me?
As far as I can see
I didn’t put up enough boundaries.
Didn’t fight with all my might.
How could I?
I didn’t stand a chance
What do you want from me?
Can you be trusted?
My brain and heart are conflicted.
If the heart listened to the brain
There would be love without pain
And if the heart had its way
It would have lots to say,
on all of the reasons not to let you stray.



5 Ways to Steal My Heart

Here are five ways to steal my heart.

1) Challenge me. I like someone who can pick my brain and prove me wrong. A mini pet peeve of mine is when someone lets me win. I am unnecessarily competitive and I think that someone who challenges me is helping me to become better at whatever task is at hand.

2) Understand me. I am an only child. I grew up learning how to entertain myself and I’ve learned to appreciate alone time as a result. I love going out with friends, but sometimes all I want to do is stay in a room by myself and do whatever I want.

3) Feed me. I’m not joking. Give me food, and I’ll love you forever.


4) Cuddle with me. I wouldn’t say I’m a touchy feely person but I do fancy random hugs. I don’t mean those awkward side hugs; I like the close, warm, I-haven’t-seen-you-in-forever hugs

5) Talk to me. I love deep conversations. We could be talking about the colour of the sky or who invented the television, whatever it is, simple or complex I love thought provoking conversations.

As you can see, I’m really not that hard to woo, I promise.