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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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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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Truths & Rights

Protoje had been hinting that new music was coming our way for a while and this week he finally fulfilled his promise. On Tuesday, he tweeted that he would make a link to his new song available on Soundcloud until midnight. Unfortunately, I didn’t see his tweet until the next morning. Mi seh mi did vex! My anger was short-lived though because on Wednesday evening, Diggy went live on Instagram and mi did deh-deh pon mi yiylash. Following the live stream, his new song “Truths & Rights” was made available on Soundcloud. Check it out!

The song was produced by Winta James and is on a riddim that one can’t help but skyank to. At first, it seems simple, but there are so many things happening that each time I listen to it, I hear something new. For example, it wasn’t until my 20th time listening that I noticed a group of people having a discussion in the background of the intro. Mi nuh know a how mi did miss dat! Then there is the trumpet solo at the end that seal di message while adding nice flare to the song. Time and time again Winta manages to find the sweet spot between the riddim and the lyrics as through it all,  he makes it clear that the lyrics are the main focus . Big up yuhself every time Winta!

You remember how every time Katz from Courage the Cowardly Dog appeared in the series, he had his own theme song? Well, every time I see Protoje now, I’m going to hear the “Truths & Rights” dub playing in my head. Why? Because the song embodies the musician’s mission. Protoje has been promoting new and young creatives from photographers, to artists, to musicians , to bloggers for as long as I can remember; this song was just his way of letting his fans know that he didn’t plan on stopping any time soon. He will continue to give a voice to those who have the most to say but are constantly overlooked “until the day that his soul takes flight.” Diggy, we hear you loud and clear!

Yes, we know from long time seh Protoje a big bad awtiste, so right now I want to bring some attention to Mortimer.  I first heard him in “Protection” on Ancient Future where he more than proved his vocal abilities with a chilling chorus. In “Truths & Rights” he sings the chorus and parts of the second verse and every time I listen to it, I find myself looking forward to hearing him.  Unnu hear how di man voice sound sweet? Mortimer’s voice is smooth like honey with an underlying hint of raspiness that gives the song an added edge. I’m looking forward to hearing more solo projects from him. Him get di Lexxi Stamp of Approval, him a guh far! 

Well, that’s all for now friends, but hopefully you won’t have to wait long for the next review. That’s right! Protoje says new music from Lila Ike and Sevana will be coming soon and you can rest assured that as dem drop, mahguh let you know weh mi think.

 

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