Shaggy dominated the Hot 100 with "It Wasn't Me" and "Angel" and spent six weeks atop of the Billboard 200 with "Hot Shot" (MCA Records), his eclectic sound melding an array of influences. The title of Shaggy's latest album, "Out of Many, One Music," digitally released on September 24th on Shaggy's Ranch Entertainment label, transforms Jamaica's national motto, 'Out of Many, One People,' into an apt summation of his sonic recipe. Yet, "Out of Many, One Music", recorded primarily at Shaggy's Long Island studio, with production helmed by legendary Jamaican drum and bass duo Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare, is the first exclusively one-drop reggae release of the artist's celebrated 25-year recording career.
Returning to his reggae roots after two decades of mainstream success, Shaggy launched "Out of Many, One Music" on September 29th at Jamaica's longest-running weekly dancehall session, Rae Town. The free event, held Sunday nights, began 32 years ago in front of the Capricorn Inn on Rae St., where it is still held. Area vendors do brisk business selling jerk chicken, roasted fish, Red Stripe beer -- even stalks of marijuana can be purchased -- all of which generates significant revenue in an otherwise economically depressed community, located east of downtown Kingston. Shaggy, born Orville Burrell in Rae Town, lived there until he was 6 years old, then in various tenements throughout Kingston prior to his migration to Flatbush, Brooklyn at age 18. While in the Marines and stationed at North Carolina's Camp LeJeune, Shaggy regularly commuted to Brooklyn on weekends where he refined his toasting skills working with various Jamaican sound systems, notably Gibraltar Musik, eventually crafting an inimitable pop-dancehall pastiche that has made him Jamaica's best-selling living artist.
During the late 1950s and early 1960s in Jamaica, the proliferation of sound systems, originally consisting of speakers, turntables, amplifiers and records chosen for play by a selector, and the selector's search for exclusive singles to attract larger crowds to their dances (and to trump their competition), led to the creation of the island's recording industry. "Shaggy took his launch [of 'Out of Many, One Music'] to where reggae came from: The sound system. Shaggy is the first artist to launch an album here, which has made the Rae Town dance more popular," observes Senor Daley, owner and selector with Klassique Disco, Rae Town's resident sound system, which specializes in oldies; from classic country and R&B to vintage reggae and dancehall. All are embraced by the Rae Town crowd, which Daley estimates at 700 each Sunday night.
Despite a forecast guaranteeing rain, approximately 1,500 patrons turned out for Shaggy's album launch, where he performed alongside several Jamaican collaborators featured on the album, including contemporary roots singer Tarrus Riley, dancehall star Konshens and "The Voice" contestant Tessanne Chin, whose dynamic audition on the September 24th segment of the popular NBC show had all four judges vying to coach her.
Shaggy's Rae Town launch underscores the mission of his latest album: To emphasize reggae coming from its birthplace, where, in recent years, it has been obscured by the dominance of synthesized dancehall beats while in the global marketplace -- especially in the US -- it's non-Jamaicans that are having the greatest success playing the island's signature rhythm.
"California reggae bands, like Slightly Stoopid and Rebelution, are pulling 30-40,000 people at their concerts and on the Billboard Reggae chart there's mostly American reggae acts. God bless them, because they have kept reggae alive while we [Jamaicans] have been asleep at the wheel. So I thought why don't I do what those artists are doing, real reggae, get the gods of reggae -- Sly and Robbie -- to produce it and feature Jamaica's hottest artists on the tracks," Shaggy explained in an interview at Kingston's Alternative Music Rehearsal Studio while taking a break from rehearsing for the European/UK leg of the Out of Many tour. The tour commenced in Munich on October 10, featuring Shaggy's longstanding Brooklyn cohort singer Rayvon ("Angel") and Sly and Robbie, who have collaborated as a production duo/rhythm section since 1975 with the likes of Peter Tosh, Black Uhuru, No Doubt and Grace Jones.
"Fight this Feeling," intially released on April 22, finds Shaggy and the beloved veteran Jamaican singer Beres Hammond crooning romantic promises over a timeless reggae rhythm Sly and Robbie originally created for the 1986 hit "Sitting and Watching" by the late Jamaican singer Dennis Brown.
The second single, a melodic lover's rock gem, "You Girl" featuring Ne-Yo, dropped on August 13th. The "You Girl" video premiere originally scheduled for Rae Town will now debut on October 16th on VEVO.
"Out of Many, One Music" debuted at no. 3 on the Reggae Album chart, moving 741 units for the week of October 12 (the chart's No. 1 entry, "9ine," by Musiq Soulchild and Syleena Johnson, sold 955 copies). Despite a rigorous promotional campaign throughout its release week, which included interviews on NYC's Power 105.1 FM, the WPIX TV Morning News and release parties/performances in Brooklyn, Hartford, Albany and Boston, Shaggy expected slow sales at the outset (the multi-platinum Hot Shot also started out slowly). "Reggae is the underdog, so it's going to take time," he declares. "We shopped it to different labels, and execs weren't interested in a reggae album -- but some said if I did a pop collaborations album, we could do a deal. An exec told me he thought the Ne-Yo song was a hit, but the only difference between that song and the others is that Ne-Yo is a pop superstar."
Bobby Konders, who has hosted the weekend reggae/dancehall/hip-hop show on New York's influential hip-hop station WQHT 97.1 FM (Hot 97) alongside his partner Jabba for nearly 20 years, calls "Out of Many, One Music" a classic reggae album that "people will listen to 10 years from now." Konders' audience has responded favorably to Shaggy's recent singles and he's hopeful radio jocks across various formats will give them some spins. "Radio is always slow when it comes to adding [Jamaican] reggae, yet pop stations play reggae-influenced songs by mainstream artists like Bruno Mars," acknowledges Konders. "Shaggy is the one person these stations might take a chance with and play his reggae songs now, because they've played his pop records before."
After reaching out to fans with commercial albums like 2 Times Revolution, Italian reggae artiste Alborosie says he wanted to go back to basics with his fourth studio effort, Sound The System.
The album, which will be distributed by Greensleeves Records, is scheduled for a June 17 release.
It hears collaborations with Ky-Mani Marley (Zion Train), The Abyssinians (Give Thanks) and Italian singer Nina Zilli (Goodbye).
According to Alborosie, he has a passion for vintage recording equipment and that is evident on the new album.
"Sound The System is a roots rub-a-dub album. It sound very vintage; that is my style from the beginning of my career," he told Splash.
Alborosie's previous album, 2 Times Revolution, earned him the 2011 Music of Black Origin (MOBO) award for Best Reggae Album.
Presently, he is working on two dub albums. One is a version of Sound The System while the other is produced by Lloyd 'King Jammys'James.
Born Alberto D' Ascola in Sicily, the 34-year-old singer formed his first band, Reggae National Tickets, in 1992. Thirteen years ago, Alborosie moved to Jamaica and befriended producer Jon Baker, a protégé of Island Records founder Chris Blackwell and principal of the Geejam studio in Port Antonio, Portland.
Initially, he worked there as a sound engineer and producer for artistes such as Wyclef, Angie Stone and Sisqó.
Since launching his solo career, Alborosie has released hit songs such as Kingston Town and Jah Jah Blessing (with Etana).
He has also developed a strong following throughout Europe and Latin America.
Alborosie begins promotion for Sound The System on June 28 with a show in Paris, France.
Tarrus Riley's latest project, 'Mecoustic' is set to be released in the Caribbean on September 25. The 15-track album will be a welcome treat to the palette of his established fans and will certainly 'whet' the appetite of those who have not yet fallen under his spell. Mecoustic is raw, soulful and skilfully works the artiste's sweet, nuance tenor with the pure and authentic sounds of instruments like the acoustic guitar, keyboards and Dean Fraser's unforgettable saxophone. Considered one of the most promising of second-generation Jamaican roots-reggae singers, Tarrus Riley's foray into the industry was inevitable. The talented singer and songwriter was always surrounded by music from an early age with veteran reggae singer Jimmy Riley as his father. Riley has learnt a lot by merely being in the environment of the music business. He caught on very quickly and made his recording debut as a teenager.
THIRD World singer Bunny Rugs releases his latest solo album, Time, today. He says the 15-track set does not mean he is leaving the band."Third World has been and will always be my main focus, but I have always been doing individual projects over the years," he said Time was slated for release in June 2011 but Ruggs said he delayed it to avoid a clash of dates with Third World's album, Patriots. Time is released on Rugs' Raw Edge Productions label and distributed by VPAL, a subsidary of VP Records. It features Land We Love, a tribute to Jamaica's 50th year of Independence. Other tracks include Kurfew, Love is Blind, You're my Everything, and Thinking About You. Among the musicians and producers who worked on the project are Sly and Robbie, Dean Fraser, Mikey Bennett, Dean Pond, Rohan Dwyer, and Steven Stanley.Rugs' previous album, The Voice, was released in 2008
When Maxi Priest sits down and crosses his legs, his dreadlocks drape and curl around his body, hanging over one ankle and the edge of his chair. Though the singer was born and raised in England, they are a tangible reminder of his Jamaican heritage. He’s combined the two to produce his own distinctive (and very successful) brand of reggae fusion. In Sri Lanka to perform at the Hikkaduwa Music Festival (?) and the opening ceremony of the Sri Lanka Premier League, Maxi is also looking forward to watching some cricket. "I love the 20-20," he adds, "You know who my boy is? The one who bowls like this," he says, doing a creditable imitation of Lasith Malinga’s bowling action. "I think he’s great. He’s exciting. He’s brought a great energy to the game." Right now, Maxi is hot off the June release of his new album, which bears the self-explanatory title of ‘Maximum Collection.’ "It’s 36 songs from way back when to now," he says.
Newly formed reggae duo Skull and Haha released their first mini album YA MAN on July 30. The duo celebrated their album release with a showcase at the KT Olleh Square in Gwanghwamun on the same day, where they performed some of their new songs, including Waikiki Brothers and Busan Vacances. The two artists are close friends of the same age, and have already even performed on MBC TV′s Infinity Challenge, but to a lackluster reception. Although it is a fairly unknown genre of music in Korea, the two are back nontheless to spread their love for reggae once again. Entertainer and singer Haha has a personal love for reggae, while Skull is a renown reggae veteran both in Korea and in the US. Skull is currently working with Mariah Carey′s brother Morgan Carey to prepare for his next US tour and album.
Following his legendary appearance at Glastonbury Festival last year, Jimmy Cliff is set to return to the UK playing London's indigO2 on May 18th and the Birmingham Ballroom on May 20th.
Singer, songwriter, musician and actor, Jimmy Cliff will be performing all of his greatest hits including 'You Can Get It If You Really Want', 'The Harder they Come' (soundtrack to the film in which Jimmy starred) and 'Many Rivers To Cross'. The shows precede the release of his much-anticipated new album RE.BIRTH due this summer.