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Opinion: The New Jamaican Reggae Renaissance

Reggae has been one of the most popular music genres for many years. It’s a sound, a voice and a conscience. In a guest column, we welcome Manchester rapper, writer and MC, J.Chambers to the site to give us some pointers on the people leading the New Jamaican Reggae Renaissance.

Since the 1960’s reggae has been the one true voice of Jamaica, with its music nestling messages of hope, liberation and consciousness through an infectious riddim that is rooted in a catchy repetitive structure. Reggae has truly made a cultural impact within pop culture and the wider world, No matter where you find yourself, you will find posters, t-shirts and other materials which bear the image one of the champions of reggae Bob Marley. Whose music elevated the wider principles and tenants of Rastafari to the global market.

 The genre has produced other greats such as Jimmy Cliff, Morgan Heritage, Burning Spear, Garnet Silk to name a few. However, in 2019 we are currently seeing a new reggae renaissance with some of Jamaica’s newest talent carrying the torch and the message of the culture forward but with a modern vein in the production and in the attitude. As is the case with many genres there are many unsung heroes who do not quite get the adoration that they deserve until they reach a certain stage within the industry, and hopefully this piece will help direct some of your open ears towards these exceptional artists and their material.

Koro Fyah

Koro Fyah is currently on the Beble Rock Records Roster (the label run by reggae superstar Kabaka Pyramid). Koro’s music is an example of the amalgamation outlined above, his prose is focused and impassioned with messages of the principles of Rastafari, Pan Africanism and Jamaican Pride. Sonically the production on 2017’s “Rough Diamond” creatively mixes traditional Reggae features with modern Hip Hop and Dub production values to create a project that is not only inspiring and informative, but it is conscious music that captures not only the listeners ear but also their mind.

The stand out track for me on this project is “Red, Green and Gold” which features label owner Kabaka Pyramid, the anthemic song is ode to the ideologies of the honourable Marcus Garvey who spoke of repatriation back to Africa for people of Caribbean/African descent to help rebuild the motherland, Black unity and self-sufficiency through organisation.

Koro is currently working on another project and can be followed on all social media platforms at @Korofyah. You can check out Rough Diamond here.

Yaksta

Yaksta aka “Bush Lord” hails from the St. Mary parish of Jamaica. Yaksta embodies the raw and rebellious side of the island that has been missing recently in some of the more commercial releases from Jamaica.

His latest single “St-Mary” which features Marlon Easy serves as an ode to the place where he grew up, the song beautifully mixes elements of Rap with the modern Dancehall bounce and energy. With his popularity growing in Jamaica and with him recently venturing stateside for an appearance at a venue in Florida he is quickly becoming one to watch as the next to burst on to the global stage.

Kranium

Kranium is another artist who has had a great 2019, with him being championed by UK reggae DJ’s like Seani B and with him featuring on Wiley’s single “My One” which received a lot of radio rotation. Kranium is no stranger to working with UK artists as past collaborations include Chip, Wretch 32 and Estelle.

Hailing from Montego Bay but now residing in the United States, Kranium is another artist whose versatility speaks for himself. He effortlessly flows from Dancehall to Rnb and back to Reggae. This is a something that many reggae artists try to do in an attempt to broaden their audience, however with Kranium’s approach you can tell that music is something that comes effortlessly to him.

His recent single ‘So Me Move’ is a great example of the mix of styles, the song features a pensive yet hopeful instrumental, whilst Kranium lyrically discusses some of the pitfalls that have come with his newfound fame. Definitely a welcome addition to your morning playlist to ensure you start your day with the right motivation.

Jane Macgizmo

Jane Macgizmo is one of the standout artists for me this year; her eclectic mix of RnB influence and reggae vibes makes her someone that you can listen to at any time of day. This ability is brilliantly showcased on her latest single ‘Midas Touch’ which is her second release on Chronixx’s record label Zinc Fence Records.

Hailing from just outside of Mandeville, Jamaica which is the stomping ground of reggae legend Jacob Miller. You can hear the influence of her surroundings in her music and in her approach to her delivery,  Jane does it all whether it is the RnB feel of ‘Midas Touch’, to the Dancehall vibe of “One Away’ or to even conscious reggae brilliantly exemplified on her single ‘Babylon’. This versatility will serve her well and I am extremely excited to hear more from this extremely talented artist.

Many thanks to J.Chambers for writing for us.

J. Chambers will be appearing as part of the excellent Beat Horizon Festival lineup in Manchester in January. You can check out his latest reggae tinged single, 2.18, here.

J. Chambers: Twitter / Instagram

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