STAR of the Month : 'My musical teachers' - Agent Sasco says professor Nuts one of his all-time favourite artistes
Every student needs a teacher, and Agent Sasco had many. His introduction to music came while he was a young boy growing up in Kintyre, St Andrew. He recalled that in those days, radio was the primary source of music. He would listen to songs, try to learn them, and in instances where he missed a few lines, he would fill in the blanks.
After recognising his rhythmic skill, the soon-to-be internationally touring recording artiste took his lessons from snippets of music he heard around the neighbourhood.
Agent Sasco's distinctive storytelling style is not developed by merely honing the raw skill of counting rhythm, but an amalgam of elements from a wide range of dancehall stars he began to observe and mimic, some of whom the artiste has grown to perform alongside during his 17-year-long career.
"People like Stitchie and Papa San were great influences, but more than any, Professor Nuts," Agent Sasco told THE STAR. "Up to this day, that's one of my all-time favourite artistes."
Agent Sasco said he was about age three when this love for Professor Nuts' music took root.
"I was fascinated with the storytelling and how real it was. It's the kind of composition where it just feel like somebody just pon di ends a relate a story to you, it never felt like a song. So the communication was very authentic and true to the culture, and true to how we relate to one another. It was amazing to me how a man able fi tell a story and it sound like a man just a reason - and it rhyming and everything," he said.
Agent Sasco, whose given name is Jeffrey Campbell, was hooked. He spent much of his childhood days deejaying and clashing in Kintyre. He said that as a young boy, he found it strange that grown persons who took the microphone would jump on to the rhythm on the wrong bar. Young Jeffrey had figured out that the rhythm bars are constructed in groups of four, and thus he had no problems showing his skills, much to the amazement of onlookers.
"Very soon, mi get a reputation inna the place," he recalled. At age eight, he won a clash after performing Professor Nuts' Tan So Back during a school contest.
His reputation as a young artiste grew by the time he got to Camperdown, and was further enhanced when, as a sixth-former, Spragga Benz performed a song he composed.
Agent Sasco highlighted Shabba Ranks as a clear influence, primarily because of his popularity in the '80s. "When Buju [Banton] came out, [it] just the same. Spragga Benz, Bounty Killer - these are the people who were at the core of my influence," he said.
Agent Sasco, despite his talent, thought music was reserved for "a special type of person" and all he could do was dream about it as he was not worthy.
But when Briggie, Spragga Benz's nephew, made it easy for him to meet one of his musical idols, Agent Sasco, who was then called Assassin, saw an opportunity. The door would swing open when he met producer Donovan Germain of Penthouse Records, and since then, he has not looked back.