Some of you may know him as the country singer who the finished out the VP Record Co's Reggae Gone Country drop with The Gambler but now that the year 2013 is almost over I can without hesitation tell you that Mr Busy Signal is without a doubt my big star of 2012! The man showed up strong in places where he has never been. Places like MTV. I'm talking pop tart crossovers with Gwen Stefani's NO DOUBT. Although that sorta forgettable but not regrettable tune probably introduced the man to so many new fans, it was his island hopping over to Trinidad and Tobago that caught my undivided attention. Now SOCA has always been in my peripheral hearing. How could I deny my ears the pleasure of the very voluptuous sounds of Alison Hinds? Or my eyes for that matter! Busy brought that completely into focus. And I spent the last half a year further educating myself on the musical genre's past and present.
With complete confidence I can tell you that this Studio 758 drop will be the best SOCA release of 2013! It has all choice talents voicing big riddims but it is that "new comer" to the scene that has me absolutely enthralled.
Let me explain....When Beenie Man guest stars in another type of sound he sounds exactly that, like Beenie Man doing his usual thing inna guest staring role. By the way Beenie shows up at least once in every genre of music. Everything from Rap Francais to Polka. And I'm sure if given the chance he would even lend his talents in a Taylor Swift duet. Imagine Beenie Man exposing himself to the tween demographic.
Now Busy he sounds like he came of age in Trinidad carnivals and fetes. He sounds completely indifferent to something the Jamaicans call Dancehall. It's like he's steeped in the sounds and the sites that Bunji Garlin and Machel Montano call home. He approaches the musical tradition from the inside and not as visitor.
Interestingly, Nico favorite ANTHONY B dropped a Soca single celebrating the Trinidad and Tobago festival simply titled Carnival. Now Anthony B sounds exactly like Anthony B and that mi friends is good thing. Different rules apply when dealing with that Bobo chanter.
I can't tell you what my top contender for the reggae record of the year 2012 was. Maybe in the year two thousand twenty I'll scratch my chin and for a moment get lost in deep in thought. Then BAM! without hesitation mention Mr Vegas's double disc. A drop that caught me by complete surprise. I've always dug Mr Vegas's current take on classic Barrington Levy style. But this collection goes beyond mere homage.
If I take the diplomatic approach...this double disc wins both heads and tails. It celebrates Jamaica's birthday. It will also appeal to fans of both kinds of music. Both Reggae and Dancehall...