October 4, 2013
New school borrows from old school
CURTIS CAMPBELL,STAR Writer
American rappers Nicki Minaj, French Montana, Kanye West, Jay Z, Jah Rule, and 50 Cent are only some of the American artistes who have sampled dancehall and reggae music in the last few months.
However, instead of sampling, local artistes have now begun to borrow flows and melodies that have already been used on solid dancehall and reggae hits in their new music.
Vybz Kartel was perhaps one of the earlier acts to use a 90s deejay style on a contemporary dancehall rhythm when he did a modified rendition of Shabba Ranks' Ting a Ling in 2009 on the School Bell rhythm. However, fast forward to 2013, several dancehall artistes have been borrowing deejay patterns and melody patterns from artistes who rules the 80s and 90s they call it paying homage.
Some of the contemporary songs that fall into this category are Busy Signal's Bedroom Bully which patterns Shabba's Bedroom Bully, Chino and Denyque's Driving Me Insane which also patterns the popular Shabba Ranks song, Raine Seville's Mad Dem and Stein's Healthy Body which patterns Little Lenny's 90s single of the same title.
Other artistes who have borrowed patterns in the last few months are French Montana who borrowed Shakka Demus and Pliers' Murder She Wrote flow for his effort called Freaks, Aidonia's Boom Flick which patterns Little Lenny's Bum Flick and DeMarco's Hey which patterns Burru Banton's Boom Wah Dis.
The WEEKEND STAR spoke with veteran dancehall/reggae artiste Super Beagle. He says he welcomes the return of old school dancehall/reggae music, even if it means sharing deejay melodies and patterns.
"It's a good thing. It goes to show that we are still relevant as veterans. I would rather they do over our songs than go and do foreign music as long as they do it the right way," he said.
Super Beagle believes the production side of things is improving, but still needs a lot of work.
"They are trying but they are not there as yet because some of them still have some hip hop element. Americans don't even like when we do hip hop. They are very critical and protective of their music," the Dust a Sound Boy singer said.
Veteran sound system operator and producer King Jammys also added his opinion. He believes that the contemporary producers and artistes are finally realising that the music seldom connects when it's not authentic.
The iconic DJ/producer says when melodies and styles from Jamaican creators are mimicked by other Jamaican musicians it pushes the music forward.
"Even some producers are making rhythms like us now and are sampling our melodies. As long as it moves the music forward, it's a positive thing," he said.
King Jammys also said the older audience does not appreciate the work of the young producers and artistes. However when they dabble in the old school and authentic elements of Jamaican music, the older generation will be more appreciative.
Dancehall artiste Stein who patterned Little Lenny's Healthy Body, says dancehall and reggae music cannot grow without paying homage to their respective originators. According to the artiste, the current crop of music industry players should be directing their focus on building on the legacies of Super Cat, King Jammys, and Little Lenny, among others. He also believes the current move by contemporary artistes to pattern old school melodies helps to make veterans more relevant in modern dancehall/reggae.