Tag Archive | "jamaican music"

Millie Small

Top 10 one-hit wonders in Jamaican music

BY: Jodee Brown 

Last week, I looked at artists who managed to climb music’s proverbial mountain, but never quite reached the heights their talents would have led us to believe, despite possessing stout catalogues. This week, it’s time to explore musician who barely moved higher than said mountain’s base once they began their climb.

This is not to say the artists on this list were not good enough. Some are bonafide legends in the game who helped pave the way for newer generations of artists to make their names internationally, while most were legitimate talents that possessed strong potential, but for some reason or another, could not fulfill it.

Again, like the What If list, we will not include those who tragically were unable to build on their hits. Thus names such as Natasja Saad (Calabria) and Dirtsman (Hot This Year) won’t be included.


Potential Kidd10. Potential Kidd – Kicking things off is the most recent artist branded with the one-hit wonder tag, Potential Kidd.

In 2012, when the Dancehall community was looking for artists to step up and produce more hits in the wake of Vybz Kartel’s incarceration the year prior, the Trench Town native came out of the woodwork and produced arguably the most popular song that year, A Yah So Nice. With a intro full of whispers and a number of catchy, yet quirky punchlines, Potential Kidd became an instant star, His chorus widely infiltrated Jamaican pop culture to the point fellow artists, media personalities and other public figures were using it and even landed him endorsement deals, albeit short-lived deals.

So after such as a hot start, why did he cool off so quickly? First off, he followed up with songs that sounded awfully similar to A Yah So Nice, which certainly did not endear him to the masses in terms of his originality, or lack thereof. However, the biggest deterrent in his career was the apparent mismanagement of his career. In July 2012, he was accused of scamming American an promoter, which he vehemently denied, suggesting his manager stole money sent to him for an upcoming show. Additionally, Potential Kidd accused said manager, his cousin, of stealing over JA$10 million from him, allegedly pocketing tour money and booking shows without his knowledge.

Last summer, he vowed to rebuild his career from scratch, so it may be too early to fully write him off. But considering the fact he hasn’t put out much material since then, that one-hit wonder looks likely to stick with him for quite a while.


Nanko9. Nanko – Remember when Downsound Records presented this Spanish Town native to the masses in 2005?

With smooth vocals and an affinity for lovers rock, Nanko burst onto the scene with Lucky You on the classic Sweet Sop Riddim, which in this humble writer’s opinion, was the pick of the litter on that compilation. He was gaining strong airplay locally with the song and later released his follow-up single, Loco Amor (Crazy Love) which sounded like one of those ‘take you to paradise’ type songs, which like its predecessor, topped some local charts. He certainly possessed the imagination and lyrical clarity to make a successful career for himself.

But in 2007, Nanko suddenly disappeared, leaving Jamaica for the United States to live with family while in the midst of an ugly contract dispute with the Josef Bogdanovich-led Downsound label. Since then, he’s largely been a novice in the mainstream, recording some singles, as well as recording a 15-track album in New York that was never released. He’s believed to be living in Mandeville as he tries to revamp his career


Jahmali8. Jahmali – A powerful voice and obvious love for his craft, Jahmali originally tried his hand at Dancehall before being introduced to Rastafari by Reggae legend, Tony Rebel.

The moved turned out a success, and after dabbling in the music scene with a few conscious hits, including his feature on Buju Banton’s Mother’s Cry, he made a name for himself in 1998 with the moving hit single, El Shaddai, which gained him popularity across the airwaves and remains a fan favourite to this day due to its spiritual message and perfect combination of his sound and the background vocals.

After dropping this gem, he dropped creditable efforts such as Cry For The People, Real Issues and Politics, but never garnered the acclaim he received for El Shaddai and became relatively absent from the music scene ever since.


VC Reggae7. VC – In 2001, Valton Cragie, more popularly known as VC etched his name into Reggae folklore with the classic, By His Deeds, which spoke about people who went down the wrong path and failed to think about the consequences that could reach them.

The song was powerful and remains popular to this day. But much like the first three entries on this list, VC disappeared from the scene altogether until 2006 with his release, Judgement Day. These days, the singer sports locks, a far cry from the bald head he rocked when he debuted and still tours, often keeping his fans updated on his musical progress via Facebook.


Shalom Reggae6. Shalom – In the final year of the last millennium, Reggae singer, Steve Harper more popularly known as Shalom seemingly started his ascendancy to stardom after dropping the smash hit, Baby I’ve Got News For You.

The love ballad was scintillating as his pitch perfect vocals made the song standout as one of the biggest hits in Jamaican music that year.

But, as is the theme with this list, Shalom was gone in a flash, absent from the music scene until the mid-2000s when he released a gospel album; suggesting his departure from the spotlight was needed for personal discovery. His whereabouts remain a mystery to this day, but Baby I’ve Got News For You will always remind us of his talents.




Jah Mason 20145. Jah Mason – An accomplished veteran who still makes music and tours on a regular basis, Jah Mason is a well-respected member of the industry; known well for his conscious lyrics.

However, it’s safe to say that he has not achieved the heights he reached since his chart-topping lovers rock anthem, My Princess Gone. The song told a great story of heartbreak and relationship troubles, with the singer showcasing his unique, raspy voice and seemed poised to join the likes of I-Wayne, Warrior King and others who were making big names for themselves at the time.

A hit collaboration with Jah Cure, Run Come Love Me soon followed, but despite dropping a plethora of albums since My Princess Gone, he never again was able to match the exploits of the popular single despite putting out consistently decent material over the years.



Althea and Donna4. Althea and Donna – A two-girl group featuring Althea Forrest and Donna Marie Reid, the singers were just 17 and 18 respectively when they dropped the classic, Uptown Top Ranking in 1977, a response to another classic single, Three Piece Suit.

The Joe Gibbs-produced song topped the U.K. charts and made them popular prodigies. But as quickly as they started to ascend, the duo split in 1979 and disappeared without a trace. Nevertheless, Uptown Top Ranking remains a popular song at retro-themed events and on the airwaves and has since been covered or remade, as it was by Kris Kelli in 2004.


Musical Youth3. Musical Youth – Featuring five youngsters, two of which were sons of Frederick Waite Sr. from popular band, The Techniques, Musical Youth originated in the United Kingdom, performing multiple shows locally before securing a record deal with MCA Records in 1981.

The following year, the band released the U.K chart-topping hit, Pass The Dutchie, a play on the marijuana anthem, Pass The Kutchie, instead talking about passing around a pot of food instead of pot. The song sold over four million copies and was nominated for a Grammy award in 1983.

They followed that single with a reputable effort, Youth of Today, which like its predecessor, was from their debut album, The Youth of Today which was certified gold in the U.K.

Unfortunately, Musical Youth’s case will undoubtedly be remembered as the typical story of young entertainers who perhaps reaped success too soon. The group disbanded in 1985 after band leader, Dennis Seaton left. This, as the quintet endured a series of financial and legal problems at the time. Once broken up, the boys were left to fend for themselves, and in the case of one of Waite Sr.’s sons, Patrick Waite, the disbandment led him to a life of crime throughout his teenage years. He met an early death in 1993, collapsing from heart failure at the tender age of 24, with an autopsy later detecting that he had a heart condition.

After years away from the scene, the band returned as a duo in 2001, but would never achieve the level of success they had as kids.


Dawn Penn2. Dawn Penn – One of the true pioneers for women in the music industry and a true testament of persistence and patience, Penn waited over two decades before she finally hit the proverbial jackpot.

In 1967, Penn recorded the single, You Don’t Love Me, produced at the legendary Studio One label by Coxsone Dodd. After a few other efforts, she left the music industry altogether in 1970, seeking a new life in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where she lived for 17 years until moving back to Jamaica, citing racism she regularly experienced in the country.

Upon her return to her native land, Penn tried again to make her name in the industry and didn’t see much progress until 1992, when she was invited to perform You Don’t Love Me at a Studio One anniversary show and impressed so much that producers, Steely & Clevie, who were backup singers that night, encouraged her to re-record the single for their greatest hits album, Steely and Cleevy Play Studio One Vintage. With a few adjustments, the song was released a year later with the alternate title, No, No, No, topping the charts in Jamaica while achieving creditable chart success in the U.S., U.K. and across Europe.

Though Penn has largely shied away from the spotlight since, bar her performance of No, No, No at the 2013 BET Awards, her song remains one of the most popular songs ever produced by a Jamaica and has been remixed by countless artists, including Eve and Stephen Marley, Damian ‘Jr. Gong’ Marley, Jae Millz and Ghostface Killah.

Despite the one-hit wonder tag, Penn remains a legend, helping pave the way for female singers and deejays, past and present, to crossover. To that, we salute her.


Millie Small1. Millie Small – Before the world got to know Bob Marley as the symbol of Jamaican music, the first true crossover star from Jamaica was a then 18-year-old from Clarendon by the name of Millie Small.

In 1964, Small remixed the Barbie Gaye classic, My Boy Lollipop with elements of ska and pop, instantly skyrocketing to super stardom in the process. Small’s adaptation of the song reached second on the U.K. and U.S. charts, making her the first Jamaican artist to ever achieve such success. Worldwide, the song sold over seven million copies worldwide and made her a global success, even earning her a spot on Around The Beatles, a TV special dedicated to legendary British band, The Beatles.

There has long been a dispute as to whether or not Small really qualifies a one hit wonder, considering follow-up singles such as Sweet William and Bloodshot Eyes both reached the top 50 of the U.K. charts in 1964 and 1965 respectively.

However, it can’t be denied that Small never again achieved the astronomical heights she reached with My Boy Lollipop, largely disappearing from the music scene since the 1970s. Though she’s number one on this list of one-hit wonders, by no means is this a black mark or a derogatory tag. That one major hit created the pathway for countless other Jamaican artists to crossover into the U.S., U.K. and other top foreign music markets, including the aforementioned Marley.

She was awarded the Order of Distinction in the role of Commander in 2011 and is an idol to many of Jamaica’s top female singers, including The Voice winner, Tessanne Chin. There’s no doubt Millie Small will always remain one of the great trailblazers in Jamaican music.

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Tessanne Chin The Voice winner

2013 Year in Review: The best songs, artists and stories in Jamaican music

Tessanne Chin The Voice winnerAfter a 2012 which saw Jamaica return to the roots of its music during its 50th anniversary year, the majority of 2013 proved to be a major letdown and appeared to be heading for irrelevancy within the pantheon on memorable Jamaican periods. That is, until a certain sparkly 28-year-old singer reminded everyone that our music still has a very long shelf-life, if attention is focused on the right channels.

Tessanne Chin added a much needed boost to what was a mostly ordinary year within Jamaican music and entertainment. From a downsizing of hit songs, to increasingly poor album sales in the United States, to undying scrutiny regarding lyrical content and party regulations, these were trying times for artists and music lovers alike in 2013.

Nevertheless, we try to look on the brighter side of things in our music. With that said, check out this very detailed review looking at the songs, artists and news makers that made Jamaican music interesting in 2013. Feel free to comment below if you agree or disagree with these picks.

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I Wayne

I-Wayne unhappy with music industry, says it promotes too much filth

Internationally acclaimed Reggae singer, I-Wayne continues to voice his displeasure with the current structure of the Jamaican music industry and lays blame squarely on the entertainers who promote ‘filthy music.’

Having previously expressed his concerns with the industry’s direction, I-Wayne insists that corruption has become rife within the local system while chastising its members for allowing said system to reach such a low point.

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New Artist Video: AYANI - Good Body Shape - DONJALYS Productions

New Artist Video: AYANI – Good Body Shape – DONJALYS Productions

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French Reggae-Dancehall deejay AYANI (born Yannick Jeanne) is from Guadeloupe . when he was twelve he fell in love with Jamaican music when he first listened to the Great foundation icons as Shabba Ranks, Cutty Ranks General degree Buju Banton & Bounty killer. He started a few years later as a selecta with his brother entertainning parties in several places in the west-indies. When he moved to Ft laudardale (MIA) for holydays he went to a Reggae sumfest and was totally hypnotized by how the artists was managing the crowd and decided to got his mind set on becoming a deejay so he started to learn and improve. He was strongly influenced by one of his icons Bounty killer, singing the warlord Hits during break at school for friends and familly. When he moves to Paris for the rest of his studies he began to write his own lyrics and to recorded songs with his cousin who was a sound engineer, then he introduced him to Don jalys production and they automatically started to work on a compilation called “SNIPER RIDDIM” released in 2006 then a couple of compilation followed also under the Don Jalys prod. like “NEVA DIE RIDDIM” “SWEET SUMMER RIDDIM” “G-I RIDDIM” he also worked on collaboration with others artists as Tony-c, Mad Killah, Murda, Mighty Kalimba, Bidji… More recently he has signed a single on “Don Jalys production” and another collaboration on a french production named “Onekyp record” mixed by D&H.

https://www.facebook.com/j.ayani2 ayani official
Email: [email protected]  [email protected]

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With six albums under his belt and over one million collectively sold in Europe, the German platinum and award-winning singer Gentleman is long overdue for his U.S. debut. Diversity, set for release on February 14, 2012 with VP Records, charted at #1 in Germany as well as #2 in Switzerland and Austria and is the follow-up to his Europe platinum-selling record Confidence.

Gentleman is currently touring Europe and plans to embark on the second leg of the Diversity world tour throughout the U.S. and South America beginning in March 2012. The series of shows include a west coast run supporting SOJA and his debut NYC showcase. Dates and venues to be announced.

On Diversity, Gentleman stays true to his first musical love – roots reggae – and teams up with top Jamaican recording artists, including reggae lyricist and singer Tanya Stephens, the late Studio One veteran and dancehall pioneer Sugar Minott, Christopher Martin (Season Two winner of Jamaica’s televised talent competition, Rising Stars ) and producers Don Corelone, Red Roze, Shane Brown, Xterminator and Firehouse Crew.

With new vigor and passion, Gentleman feels renewed on this 14 track set and is ready to take the U.S. by storm. “That fire you feel as a newcomer does not keep up for very long. It is up to you to stoke the embers and this (album) has much more force behind it,” he notes.

One may not assume that the Cologne native and son of a Lutheran pastor would become an international reggae superstar, but Gentleman (born Tilmann Otto in 1975) has been drawn to reggae’s revolutionary spirit and truth-seeking lyrics ever since he was introduced to the island’s sounds. He immersed himself in the culture and music at the age of 18, making Jamaica his home away from home.

In 1997, he eventually got his first break with German hip-hip group, Freundeskreis, after delivering a verse on single “Tabula Rasa” with his distinctive singjay style. Since then, Gentleman has had a string of solo hits and platinum-selling records in Europe. He won Best National Artist five times for three different award shows (Echo Award 2003 & 2005, Comet Award 2005, 1Live Radio Award 2004 & 2005) and has been nominated twice for Best Reggae Artist (Martin 2004 Awards and Reggae and Soca Awards).  He has collaborated with artists ranging from pop superstars Pink and Destiny’s Child to reggae legends Michael Franti & Spearhead and Barrington Levy. After over a decade under the label Four Music, he moved to Universal in 2010 and will release Diversity in the U.S. with VP Records next year.

Track Listing:
1. The Reason
2. Changes
3. Hold On Strong
4. Tempolution
5. To The Top ft. Christopher Martin
6. Lonely Days
7. In A Time Like Now
8. Moment Of Truth
9. Another Melody ft. Tanya Stephens
10. I Got To Go
11. Good Old Days ft. Sugar Minott
12. Fast Forward
13. The Finish Line
14. It No Pretty

www.gentleman-music.com /// www.facebook.com/gentleman /// www.myspace.com/gentleman


“I Got To Go” (Live) Music Video:

“Lonely Days” Music Video:

Sizzle Reel:

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Dancehall's most energetic deejay Elephant Man is showing no signs of slowing  in 2011 this as he swept thousands of fans off their feet at the 2011 Uppsala Reggae Festival in Sweden with a historic performance last Saturday evening. The Energy God as he is affectionate called made his presents felt in Scandinavian territory as he shared the main stage with other local entertainers including Gyptian, Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel and Ken Boothe.


Dancehall’s most energetic deejay Elephant Man is showing no signs of slowing  in 2011 this as he swept thousands of fans off their feet at the 2011 Uppsala Reggae Festival in Sweden with a historic performance last Saturday evening. The Energy God as he is affectionate called made his presents felt in Scandinavian territory as he shared the main stage with other local entertainers including Gyptian, Queen Ifrica, Tony Rebel and Ken Boothe.

Armed with a handful of enthused female dancers the “Pon Di River Pon Di Bank” deejay had the crowd screaming for more as he danced through his long catalog of hit singles. Elephant who is still enjoying rave reviews following his electrifying Reggae Sumfest Dancehall Night performance and the unforgettable Captain America inspired suite designed by Romeich also took the stage at Fullyloaded days later on July 24th where he along with fellow entertainers Beenie Man, Capleton and Bounty Killer provide a power packed set to an early morning crowd.

Currently touring several countries in europe Elephant Man will continue to Helsinki Finland on August 10th and from there to Italy on August 13th.

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Photo Credit: Ports Bishop


Photo Credit: Ports Bishop

Vybz Kartel isn’t just the biggest star in dancehall. These days, it seems like he’s the only one. The 35-year-old deejay from the gritty Kingston suburb of Portmore has dominated the Jamaican music conversation for the last year to such an extent that even his headline-grabbing (and only recently resolved) feud with long-time rival Mavado now seems a distant memory.

Fueling the phenomenon is a striking, Michael Jackson-like visual transformation that has seen him lighten his skin several shades, his hair suddenly long with extensions. A master of spin, Kartel first chalked his new coloring up to air conditioning and cake soap, a powerful cleanser used to wash clothes. Without actually copping to what most people suspect—that he bleaches his skin— he’s defended the practice by likening it to tanning white people and black women who straighten their hair. Fittingly, one of his biggest recent hits is called “Cake Soap”.

Kartel (aka Adidja Palmer) is also, arguably, Jamaica’s most prolific artist, churning out provocative commentary and lowbrow throwaway tracks with Tupac-like (in)consistency. His latest project, Kingston Story, is different, though. Recorded entirely with a single producer, Brooklyn’s Dre Skull, the result is a rarity for singles-driven dancehall: a proper album with a uniform sonic aesthetic. While the lyrics are primarily sexual in theme, the LP, with its quasi-orchestral rhythms, points to a new, more emotive direction for this most hedonistic of genres. MTV Iggy spoke with Kartel by phone from Jamaica about Kingston Story, his growing business portfolio, and what exactly he’s trying to prove with his outlandish behavior.

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Kemar 'Flava' McGregor Reveals Secrets About VP Records

Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor Reveals Secrets About VP Records

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It’s no secret that many artistes and producers in the dancehall/reggae music industry have had acrimonious splits with industry giant, VP Records. As recently as last night, Wayne Wonder was on TVJ’s ER programme, talking about his recent departure from the VP Records camp, meanwhile popular reggae producer Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor took to his Twitter page, website and other online channels recently, with allegations of wrongdoings by VP Records.

Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor is one of the best young roots-reggae producers in Jamaica. His excellent track record speaks for itself when it comes to producing hit rhythms and penning world-class songs. Along with writing he produces his own beats which has proved to be a winning combination with artistes such as Gyptian, Etana, Nesbeth, Richie Spice and Lutan Fyah, Gramps Morgan, just to name a few, and he has worked with major artistes like Beres Hammond, Freddie McGregor, Richie Stephens, Marcia Griffiths, Glen Washington, Coco Tea, Jah Cure, I-Wayne, Capleton and Beenie Man.

Flava’s hit list includes songs such as Nesbeth’s Guns Out, Etana’s I Am Not Afraid, Gramps’ One In A Million, among others.

Below we’ve featured a clip of an exclusive audio interview of Kemar ‘Flava’ McGregor, by Daddy Turbo from the UK. This interview was aired on Monday night (February 7) on Daddy Turbo’s weekly Reggae & Dancehall Link Up Show on ICR FM 105.7 (icrfm.co.uk). Check it out:

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