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Of Trees, Greens and Royalty

Unnuh see da tweet yah?

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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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Music Lover

I have the greatest friends enuh. Just need you all to know that I love each and every one of you. Please continue sending me new songs to listen to. I truly appreciate it.

This week my friend introduced me to “Music Lover” By Kim Gebriel. A song ever hit you in the right places yet? I need you all to give it a listen. I deven have the words fi fully describe how di song move me. I need this woman fi bus on a major level. Mah beg unnu duh, jus listen it, like it and share it. Leggo career!

 

Weh yuh seh? You want more? Check her out on Soundcloud.

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Lila Ike Pon Dem

Welcome, welcome, welcome! Have you experienced the gem that is Lila Ike? Yes? No? Well, either way, grab your favourite pair of earphones and let’s dive into sweet reggae bliss. Follow mi now…

I first encountered Lila at Heart in the Art a little over a year ago. Royal Blu called her on stage to perform their song “Believe” and introduced her as his favourite songbird. What a girl can sing. Mi seh, she coulda sing about a potato and her voice woulda still be captivating.

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She’s a heck of a writer too! Dreamchasers everywhere can find her first single “Biggest Fan” relatable, I beg yuh check it out fi mi deh This song tells the story of Lila’s mother’s hesitation towards allowing her to pursue a career in music and shows how her mother eventually became her biggest supporter.

Now, let’s take a minute to discuss her most recent release, “Gotti Gotti”.

 

If you have made it this far in life without your granny saying “Wanty-wanty nuh getty and getty-getty nuh wanty” then you need to hit the re-do button, because you did life wrong. The proverb essentially means that those with the greatest need never get the things they want and those with an abundance no longer see or appreciate the value of their possessions. Ovas? Good!

In the song, Lila Ike says: “You gotti-gotti but yuh eva wah wah.” She puts her twist on the above proverb to highlight the greed that plagues Jamaica. “Gotti Gotti”, in a nutshell, brings to the surface the tactics used by the wealthy to keep their pockets fat whilst selfishly disregarding the needs of the poor. When Lila says: “When yuh flossin’ wid yuh bloodymoney roun’ di nation” she hints at the corruption in the country while she simultaneously tips her hat to her mentor, Protoje.

Speaking of Mr. Ancient Future, this song shows us exactly why Lila Ike is a part of the Indiggnation Collective. Indignation means anger that is provoked by unjust treatment and with “Gotti Gotti” Lila Ike drape up Babylon ganzie good and propa. Well done!

I can’t wait to hear more magic from Lila and her team. Singles, EP, mixtape or album, sen’ dem all because di fan dem ready! Until then, listen to all of the above songs, lemme know what you think and I’ll see you next time.

Photo Credit: Universal Reggae

Lila Ike Social Media:

Soundcloud

Instagram

Facebook

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Koffee on the Grind

Hey friends!

So I have a confession to make. A couple weeks back I was scrolling through Facebook and saw a video by Koffe. I think I was busy at the time so I shared it in hopes of returning to it later and giving it my full, undivided attention. Well… I never got back to it.

Fortunately, my friends know I like being kept informed on all the great things happening on the music scene, so when the name Koffee came up in one of our conversations, I remembered the video and checked her out instantly! Now it’s your turn.

She’s great right? Here’s the kicker, she’s only 17! You know what I was doing at 17? Nothing incredible that’s for sure. Koffee, on the other hand, has an edge-snatching-motivational-as-hell-play-it-on-repeat song, a music video and is poised for greatness.

Tink a dat alone mek ‘ar bad? Check out her instagram page @originalkoffee, scroll through until you find her first time in the studio and you’ll find all the proof you need to see that this is just the beginning. Bwai Koffee, mi jus wah shake yuh han‘ mek likkl a di talent rub off pon mi!

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Homesick

Friends, a piece a homesickness lick mi ussi but give thanks, I only have 5 weeks left before I touch down in my favourite place in the world. Naturally, I turned to music to assuage my yearning for home. Pree dis!

This song came out back in August, right in time for the Emancipendence holiday and showcases everything I love about Jamaica. I checked in with the producer and artistes responsible for this gem; the remedy to my homesickness. They each had something different to say about the song and this just goes to show there are many levels involved in making a cohesive body of work.

Wavy Jones originally created the beat and had intended to upload the track without vocals. Lucky for us, the music gods spoke to him and he decided instead to use the upbeat and happy track to highlight the greatness of Jamaica. He reached out the Blvk Hero, Jeeby Lyricist,  and Kione Zaire and the four met up for a writing session.

Blvk H3ro wanted to convey the harsh reality of Jamaica. He acknowledges that Jamaica is a beautiful country with great potential. For H3ro, even though we are a nation rolling in high debt, “we’ve got a good thing!” (Lexxi note: we’ve got a good thing if only our leaders would realise the gold they have in their hands!!!)

Jeeby starts most of the lines in his verse with “I am” which makes it clear that for him, the beaches, the flora and fauna, the talented people, the music, the culture, the black, gold and green embody what it means to be Jamaican. His verse screams: “Jamaica, wi likkle but wi tallawah!”

Kione tried to capture the feeling he gets from the thought of growing up and being alive in the Caribbean. (Lexxi note: It’s an experience that is like no other and it shows in the way we walk, the way we talk, and the way we dance. There’s just something about living in the blessed indies!)

A few weeks after their writing session, they made their way to the studio and “Blessed Indies” was born. Fun fact:”100lb” was also recorded on that day… so technically, they’re musical fraternal twins!!! I love this song but I wish it were a little longer. For me, I think it ends a bit abruptly but you know what they say: “Always leave them wanting more.”

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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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