Jahdan Blakkamore and Zion I Kings just dropped what may be the hottest reggae single of the year with “Mash Down Georgetown.” Blakkamore once again displays an unparalleled vocal agility on his latest track while bringing a substantive message about the societal ills in his native home of Guyana.
A former Dutch-British slave colony (nothing seathes with colonialism like the name George-Town), Guyana’s capital city is well-known for its crime and poverty, with armed robberies a daily occurrence in areas like Tiger Bay, Albouystown, Sophia, Buxton, Agricola, and Stabroek Market. Georgetown is also a favorite bottleneck stop for international cocaine traffickers and human smugglers.
Jahdan captures the town’s vibe with an original no-nonsense, spitfire vocal through which he relates a grim and bleak atmosphere (“What a blood inna de road when you step out, candle haffe light inna blackout, and every day another piece drop out, they taking it all away…”). “Dem a bruk down Georgetown, dem a mash down Georgetown” is how Jahdan lays it all out for us plain and simple.
From a 2015 Reggaeville interview:
When listening to your music, I get the impression that it’s kind of your mission to incorporate as many diverse influences as you possibly can. Where does your motivation to do that stem from, and where do you want take it to?
“Well, again, it comes from digging history, researching, studying, and realizing that within music, within the artistic expression of music and musicians within that world, you have different pieces to one puzzle that got trapped in these different cultures. Cumbia, Afro beat, bachata, calypso, soca, dancehall, reggae, jazz, hard rock, heavy metal… These are all different sections, but then you have so much of the same content that comes from one source locked into these different musical expressions, these different cultural expressions, that I’ve been learning over the years reconnect and they come back to a source.
I’m still a reggae artist, cause that’s my school room, but I realize the amalgamation, I realize the connection to all these different cultural expressions and how they reconnect. I wanna pull that all into one, bring it back into one as much as I can. Because when I listen dubstep, I know its mother is reggae music. Hip hop, its mother is reggae music. R’n’B, its mother is soul music. Rock’n’Roll, its mother is soul music. It all is really one. It all comes back to one. I’m just simply like, yo, I’m not gonna limit myself.
The one thread though–there’s one thread that ties everything, and that’s the message of love and awakening and reassurance and inspiration. That is the thread that will tie all of it together. So you’ll listen to different songs, but then you’ll be like, wait a minute, but there’s still a consistent message here that I’m digging from this artist. He sounds completely different on this song and on this song, but he’s still saying the same thing, he’s still pretty much saying the same message. That’s the glue. That’s why I feel so blessed I have these great musicians around me. I just play that particular part. But then we need the engineer, we need the proper mixing and mastering, the sounds have to coincide right, it has to be a nice sonic blend still. It’s a seamless flow if you can follow it, the way we try to put the songs in an order that allows them to flow. OK, you’re taking me off in a different direction, but I kinda like it. I can get into that. So that’s all of it.
And I tell you something, too. A breddren of mine, DJ Geko Jones from Dutty Artz does like him. DJ Relic Secure from Cali, DJ Child from Cali again, Project Groundation, these DJs are dudes that–they just don’t DJ, they actually teach you about music. They teach you about the genres and how they mix that in and they don’t just play reggae music all the time. They kinda educate you on these things. Geko is really into the Tormenta tropical, New York tropical, quebracho, like they have a night, a big night where they just get all the Latin-American, the Caribbean people in one place and they blast off and go to space musically. He taught me that, how all of these genres come back to source. I’m like, woohoohoow. It’s like rice and peas in Jamaica with cook up rice in Guyana. It all just comes back to one, breddren. I’m that guy that brings it all together and puts it all in a little thing for you. Like smörgåsbord. That’s Jahdan.
I mean, a lot of the breddren them that I listen to, they’re kind of doing that, too, but not in one project, not on one album. I do it all on one project, show you how it seamlessly can fit together in the context. That’s like something I pride myself there now. For an artist that might not have the commercial success or appeal or whatever… Me and Kabaka was reasoning about this the other night. We’re creating music for guys like us, too. Not just the listeners who… Maybe they’re connoisseurs of the music, but they’re not musicians. We do music for those people and the musician people that’s listening, too, the trained ear that’s like, hm, you got a little dubstep mixed into that one drop there. That’s the whole thing, my brother. That’s what I’m hoping, people like you who are really listening, that they pick up. That’s why we’re saying Order Of Distinction (laughs).”