Reggae artiste Richie Spice has been crowned the new Prince of reggae in Brixton, England. According to his manager, Sophia Campbell, Richie Spice, born Richell Bonner, was crowned after he pulled thousands of reggae fans to a concert in Brixton and delivered two hours of captivating reggae music from his catalogue. For more than two decades, the reggae music fraternity has hailed the late Dennis Brown as The Crown Prince of Reggae. But with news of Spice's alleged coronation in England, will the late icon be replaced? According to Campbell there can be two princes of reggae.
"I don't think that Dennis Brown is replaced, there is more than one King in the world and there is more than one prince as well. It's not a replacement, it's more of an addition and it's good for the genre and adds more prestige," she said.
Spice paid his due
The manager believes Richie Spice has paid his due and is well deserving of the royal accolade.
"He paid his due and the new Soothing Sounds acoustic album was produced by him. So with all that work being put in by him it would be safe to say that he has earned every single bit of that accreditation," she said.
"When he performed in England he was able to fill the venue to capacity and still leave people outside. He did a two-hour performance with most of his hits and the patrons were in awe to see how well he held the audience for two solid hours, and they wanted more at the end of it," Campbell added.
"At the same concert where he was crowned as the new prince of reggae, American actress, producer and comedian Beth Midler was in attendance, and she met with him and said he really opened her eyes and ears to reggae music," Campbell said.
The manager also went on to say that though, Richie Spice has a big fan base in Jamaica, fans would not be quick to accept him as the new prince.
"I wouldn't say that Jamaica has accepted him as the new prince of reggae, but he has his fan base here. When he releases songs they don't normally get their immediate attention, it normally takes a while to creep up. Which is why they have so much longevity. I think we still have more work to do in order to live up to the status, but I don't believe you have to be dead to receive an honour. If I have achieved then this is the time that the honour should be given unto me because it will be more relevant to me when I am alive," Campbell said.
Jamaica Reggae Industry Association chairman Ibo Cooper, does not believe Dennis Brown can be replaced. He also has a few prince choices of his own.
no replacement prince
"In royalty the line is always changing. King George will always remembered as king but his daughter is Queen Elizabeth. I am not agreeing nor disagreeing because people will always have their opinions as to who kings and princes will be. Richie Spice has maintained a presence and has been true to the art form and has modernised it, but I don't think you can look past people like Sizzla and Luciano. These people have also contributed good music in this era and could, arguably, be classified as princes of reggae. But this is definitely not a replacement you can't replace Bob Marley or Dennis Brown," Cooper said.
CEO of Tad's Records, Tad Dawkins, distributors of Soothing Sounds: Acoustic believes Richie Spice deserves the accolade.
"I think it's a well-deserved accolade. He has taken up where Dennis Brown left off and carried it on with his style of reggae. Soothing Sounds: Acoustic is getting good reviews all over. People were saying reggae is dead, but Riche Spice showed them that it is still very much alive. His album release was covered by Billboard Magazine and sales are vibrant," Dawkins said.
Richie Spice is currently gearing up to embark on promotional tours of Africa, Europe, United States and the Caribbean.
SOURCE: jamaica gleaner