Roger Steffens “”I think it would be a travesty if Snoop wins…”

“While I see Roger’s point here, and agree with his sentiment, it doesn’t really matter in my humble opinion.  The Reggae Grammy is a joke.  The judges on the Grammy committee seem to know very little to absolutely nothing about music that matters, especially reggae music.  Bottom line is Snoop sold 80,000+ units, and will surely sell many more as a result of this publicity.  It is absolutely a damning indictment of the current reggae market, which is seemingly made up of know-nothings with no soul and an even lesser ear for music.”

- Raver

Roger Steffens, who headed the Grammy Awards Reggae Committee for 27 years, says it would be a travesty if American rapper Snoop Lion won the Best Reggae Album category at next month’s show.

In an interview with the Jamaica Observer, Steffens described Snoop as a “pretentious wanna-be”. He is also not impressed with nominees for Best Reggae Album who were announced last Friday in Los Angeles.

“I think it would be a travesty if Snoop wins. He, like Matisyahu and many others before him, have used a Rasta-influenced format and warped it toward their own ends,” said Steffens. Snoop (formerly Snoop Dogg) is nominated for Reincarnated. He says his conversion to Rastafari was inspired by a visit to Jamaica in 2012 when he experienced a spiritual awakening while meeting with a group of Rastafarian elders.

Sly and Robbie and the Jam Masters’ Reggae Connection, Sizzla’s The Messiah, One Love, One Life by Beres Hammond and Ziggy Marley in Concert are the other nominees for Best Reggae Album.

Steffens formed the Reggae Committee and served as its chairman until 2011. He has openly criticised the selection process, claiming that judges favour albums produced by the Marley family.

The Marleys have dominated the category since it was established in 1985. Brothers Ziggy, Damian and Stephen have won Grammys as solo acts, while Ziggy and Steve won multiple times as members of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers.

Steffens with Keith Richards at the Reggae Archives

Steffens with Keith Richards at the Reggae Archives

Steffens, considered an authority on Bob Marley and the Wailers, believes this year’s nominees maintain the trend of mediocre selections. “The nominations this year fit into the pocket of name recognition more than anything else, regardless of sales or actual quality,” he said.

Reincarnated, with sales of over 80,000 units, is the best selling reggae album for 2013. The year has been poor in terms of sales by Jamaican artistes, with American reggae bands performing better on the Billboard charts. The Snoop set attracted mass coverage from mainstream media in the United States, due to his conversion from ‘gangsta rap’ icon to cultural artiste.

The lanky rapper (real name Calvin Broadus) is one of the godfathers of gangsta rap which emerged out of southern California’s impoverished communities in the early 1990s with hardcore rap acts such as NWA and Ice T. The 56th annual Grammy Awards is scheduled for the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles on January 26.

Source: jamaicaobserver.com , jahblemmuzik.com

To read more about ‘Snoop Lion’, CLICK HERE.

Steel Pulse “Save Black Music” 12″ (Elektra)

And here we have yet another Steel Pulse vinyl single, “Save Black Music” from the Grammy Award-winning album Babylon The Bandit.  Overall, a mediocre effort from Steel Pulse with several outstanding tracks.  The opening track “Save Black Music” is striking as the opening track.  This is a different sound and vibe from Steel Pulse.  Although David Hinds’ lyrics remain conscious and strong, Steel Pulse enter a horrid phase characterized by the overuse of synthesizers, which was a development that emerges in the 1980s.  Still an interesting listen if you are a fan.  The first track on this 12″ has a distinctly different mix.  Track 2 is the instrumental and Track 3 is the LP version.

1. Save Black Music (Vocal Extended)
2. Instrumental
3. LP Version

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Weeks, James. The Reggae & African Beat (Archive- 1983-1988)6. 2 (Apr 1, 1987)- 26-29-1

Weeks, James. The Reggae & African Beat (Archive- 1983-1988)6. 2 (Apr 1, 1987)- 26-29-2

Weeks, James. The Reggae & African Beat (Archive- 1983-1988)6. 2 (Apr 1, 1987)- 26-29-3

Weeks, James. The Reggae & African Beat (Archive- 1983-1988)6. 2 (Apr 1, 1987)- 26-29-4

Black Uhuru “Conquer The Tanker” 12 inch (RAS) 1985

Included here is a rare Black Uhuru 12″ titled “Conquer The Tanker.”  The single, pressed on the RAS label in 1985, features Junior Reid on the vocal.  It is backed with a track called “Reggae With You.”  It was recorded by Steven Stanley in Jamaica during the ‘Brutal‘ sessions. Killer Reid-era track!

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Black Uhuru feat. Puma Jones & Junior Reid Live at Chestnut Cabaret, 1985

It is fitting to share this rare gem now, considering we just posted the interview with Doctor Dread yesterday.  Michael Rose left Black Uhuru in 1984 and the group was promptly dropped by Island Records just one year after winning the first ever reggae Grammy Award for ‘Anthem.’  Rose was promptly replaced by his good friend and fellow Waterhouse native Junior Reid.  Doctor Dread, a longtime fan of the group, goes to NYC to ink the deal with Duckie Simpson’s lawyer and Black Uhuru, now a RAS Records act, get to work on the ‘Brutal’ album.  ‘Brutal,’ produced by Doctor Dread, Black Uhuru, Steven Stanley, and Arthur Baker, is recorded by Steven Stanley at Music Mountain in Jamaica.  The album is mixed by Jim Fox in Washington, DC, Arthur Baker in NYC (Great Train Robbery), and Steven Stanley back at Music Mountain in Jamaica.  The album is released in 1986 and receives a Grammy nod, along with the ‘Brutal Dub’ album.  Interesting note:  The album contains the heavy, roots laden track “Dread In The Mountain,” which is voiced by Junior Reid.  This same tune was a minor nhit for Reid in Jamaica several years earlier under the name “Chanting.”

So it’s 1985, the group has just signed with RAS, and they have not yet worked out the songs that will comprise the ‘Brutal’ album.  This set of circumstances makes for a one-of-a-kind Black Uhuru show in Philadelphia, 1985.  The show opens with Reid performing two of his solo hits “Shack A Lack” and “Original Foreign Mind” (mislabeled as “Worry Dem” in the archived setlist).  The remainder of the show is comprised of songs from earlier Black Uhuru albums.

So here is a show that catches Black Uhuru in transition.  Although the show is not labeled with respect to the date or venue, it occurred on August 13, 1985 at the Chestnut Theatre It is a true rarity because it showcases the talents of both Junior Reid and Puma Jones (who passed away in 1990).  Great sound quality too for an audience recording.

BLACK UHURU FT JUNIOR REID - LIVE IN PHILADELPHIA 1985 by Chrisfari on Mixcloud

 

1. Black Uhuru – Shack’a Lak Rock
2. Black Uhuru – Original Foreign Mind
3. Black Uhuru – What is Life?
4. Black Uhuru – Black Uhuru Anthem
5. Black Uhuru – Shine Eye Girl
6. Black Uhuru – Plastic Smile
7. Black Uhuru – General Penetentiary
8. Black Uhuru – Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?
9. Black Uhuru – Emotional Slaughter

‘Salute Di General': Biggz General drops long-awaited mixtape

 I first heard about BIGGZ GENERAL through one of the reggae blogs that read, the Jah Blem Musik blog.  BIGGZ GENERAL is the latest from a long line of multi-talented musicians and performers going back to the greatest musician and performer of our time, Biggz’ grandfather NESTA ROBERT MARLEY.  A product of GHETTO YOUTHS UNITED, his mother was one of three angel-voiced anchors of Ziggy Marley and the Melody Makers, and a muli-Grammy winner in her own right, Sharon Marley Pendergast, the biological daughter of Ms. Rita Marley.
So with a pedigree like that what can you expect from BIGGZ GENERAL?  FINALLY you can hear it for yourself!  Biggz recently released his long-awaited mixtape, and you can get it HERE!
You can expect to hear more from BIGGZ GENERAL soon.  Stay tuned, stay connected  to the MIDNIGHT RAVER BLOG…

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“BIGGZ GENERAL – SALUTE DI GENERAL mixtape
Ghetto youths international, REBEL massive & Dj Tom LAROC
& a message of love & inspiration and you are apart of JAH ARMY
LIKE BREDDA JESSE ROYAL say UNi = one VERSE = Song. all a WE!!!! wid ONE VOICE WID DI SAME MESSAGE…… ONE PERFECT LOVE ONE RIGHTEOUS AIM & ONE ULTIMATE DESTINY.”