The Resistance – A Night to Be Remembered
Raging Fyah, Jah9, Jesse Royal, Kayla Bliss, and Sizzla Kolanji were the selected artists for the show appropriately dubbed “The Resistance”, organized by the Xterminator Productions team, which took place on December 27th 2012. The combination of these particular artists, carefully chosen, no doubt for their unique styles, would provide a balanced and excellent showcasing of roots reggae music to what would be expected a throng of supporters.
Under a perfect pale blue moon, South Beach Café was the scene of certainly one of the best-billed live music event for 2012. The venue was well under way to being filled to capacity when we arrived after 9pm. Alternative Music Limited provided musical ambiance for the growing multi-generational audience. Evident was the reach that roots music has had all along in its ability to unite all people.
The sweetly sung Sing from the “Little Lioness” Kelissa in addition to Rastafari Way by Dre Island, the voices of Cen-C Love, Kabaka Pyramid, the Jah Ova Evil Movement and Chronixx could be heard throughout the venue. Patrons mingled until almost half past 9 when Elise Kelly (Broadcaster from Irie FM) took the stage to extend welcome to patrons and give context and focus to the evening ahead. The mission was clear, resistance but to also commemorate in music, the life and works of the legendary producer, the late Phillip “Fattis” Burrell. She emphasized satisfaction with the music with a message and mission, from the second-generation reggae musicians.
Then, the already in place Raging Fyah band opened the show with Irie Vibe which got the crowd instantly rocking steady. Easily segueing into their next song Music Isn’t biased, lead Singer Kumar Bent and company left no doubt that they were leading the Resistance and would not be kept quiet; “rebel music” was going to be “starting up a riot”. Other tracks performed from their debut Judgement Day album included the “love from a distance” fan favorite, Far Away and then Running Away, Behold, title track Judgement Day, Cyaan Cool, Karma and Ganja. The Band’s performance was spiritually lifting and in closing after forty minutes of “fyah” music, one could feel the freedom in the resistance.
With a brief interlude of music from Uprising Roots and more, a word of thanks to sponsors of the event, and a band change to The Fire House Crew, accompanied by the legendary Earl “Chinna” Smith, Mama Elise brought on stage the “rootical” dub Queen Jah9. With her infectious lyrics, Janine “Jah9” Cunningham reverently and powerfully delivered Gratitude. In her charge to the audience, she stressed the need to become immune to the things not beneficial to the mission. She poignantly delivered “message music” starting with a performance of Legitimate, in which she was briefly joined by Protoje on stage. She then eased into her new single Jungle and closed with New Name.
She brought depth and strong vocals to the ears of patrons delivering a deeply rooted reminder and poetical message “connected to the source of life”. Her performance epitomized discipline and left the audience in serious contemplation of the messages delivered so deliberately accurate.
Before sight of the next artiste, Mama Elise admonished artists to show up for the mission with clean hands to allow the Creator to fully shine in the works. After extolling “Fattis” Burrell’s uncanny ability to recognize talent, Mama Elise introduced XTM Nation artist, the lovely songbird Kayla Bliss. First time performing in Jamaica, Kayla began humbly but eased confidently into Rock and Sway, Literal Love, and Tears of a Soldier. With her sweet soulfulness, she gave a fresh taste of her style to the audience. After closing her brief set, Kayla introduced the Palace “pickney” and XTM Nation stable mate himself Jesse Royal.
The Royal Jesse opened his set with Hotter the Battle setting the tone for the rest of his performance. His contagious alliterative enunciation was as pronounced on stage as on the Misheni Mixtape with songs such as Modern Day Judas, One Eye Open, Bittersweet and Talk to Me. He continued with the 2012 instant hit This Morning followed by Someday. Jesse was fluent as liquid in his performance. Transitioning between tracks flawlessly, the audience responded warmly to the one uttering royal “speakinz”. It was evident that this Son of the Most High struck the right chord with patrons who just couldn’t get enough. He completed his set with a duet with Kayla Bliss before exiting stage left.
Next was the long awaited performance of Sizzla “Dadda” Kolanji. Patrons moved closer to get their fill of Sizzla, who is arguably one of the most potent, prolific and influential proponents of Rastafari in the music business. Opening with Hosanna from the album of the same name, Kolanji set fire to the stage and audience, and the patrons responded with fingers in the air and bodies in motion to the reeling of each classical hit. From his splendored catalogue, Kolanji belted out Holding Firm and Got It Right Here to the roaring approval of fans.
Next came Guide Over Us, Praise Ye Jah, Make Dem Secure and Babylon Ah Listen. Sizzla could not hit a wrong note with any of his songs, music that has been rooted for many years in the consciousness of the people. Every line, every word bringing forth the message, resist babylon, resist the system, and embrace your Black self. The fire never missing, he moved quickly to Give dem a Ride, Why Should I and Good Ways. Like a gust of cool wind which served to fan the consistently burning fire, the emotive Ras Shiloh joined him on stage to sing Are You Satisfied, the fans by now chanting every word in unison, even joining in in his rendition of Garnett’s silk Zion in a Vision.
Sizzla returned center stage rousing his fans with Divide and Rule, Get to the Point, Give it To Dem and Be Strong. To balance the musical equation, he turned up the love dial with Woman I Need You, So Lovely and Give Me a Try. Feeling complete sweetness and filled to the brim with “perfect love and [Kolanji] security”, the cup now overflowed with Take Myself Away, Ultimate Hustler, Rise to the Occasion and Solid As a Rock. This ended the musical giant’s contribution to the Resistance. He easily took the show though well supported by the previous artists.
If you missed The Resistance, you missed drinking from the wellspring of one of the best live shows for 2012. The resounding message in the Resistance seemed to be fitting tribute to Fattis, one of the giants in Reggae Music, preserving the foundation and maintaining the integrity of the work started by legends before, putting the world on notice that the future of Xterminator (now XTM Nation) is in very good hands under Fattis’ son Kareem “Reemus” Burrell. I know, I had my fill and those who attended will agree it was a stellar event. 2013 seems a good look for the resurgence and revival of Reggae music. Stay locked to this page for more exciting events as the train to Zion stays on the move.
The Take Over: Yard Hop’s Best
Dubbed The Takeover, a medium sized gathering of loyal fans gathered to soak in first hand a showcase of some of the lyrical talent that dominates Jamaica’s Hip Hop landscape, on December 15, 2012 at the “Funky Munky” located at 17 Holborn Road, New Kingston.
Billed for the premiere event were the likes of Kabaka Pyramid, The Sickest Drama, Five Steez and Nomad Carlos. With heavy promotion on social sites such as twitter, I was as intrigued and curious to see what these lyrical giants had to offer, this being my virgin initiation attending a yard hop show. My appetite having already been wet with War for Peace and the newly introduced Me against the Grain by Five Steez and Nomad Carlos respectively, it was time to see who would deliver in live and living colour.
A professionally dressed stage with only the speakers was the setting where the “battle” would begin and it did at minutes after 11 with Nomad Carlos, mic in hand and supporting beats. He opened with “Conquer” from his mix tape and quickly followed with the catchy “Live Good”. Then, he introduced the reggae mix “Time”. As each song was performed I became very aware of the fact that based on the little I had seen, there was proof enough that the show was of a high caliber.
It was also apparent to me that the genre is seemingly unappreciated but blessed with gifted artists. It sank in that “time will move any mountain” and I rested in the fact that at least with a show like this persons would be introduced to yet another rising example of our young people doing the seemingly difficult with much commitment. An encouragement I thought and a spear to those quick to condemn certain artistic expression.
Nomad Carlos continued his set with “Murder Music”, collaborated with voice of Barrington Levy; Five Steez joined him on stage briefly to perform the lively “Aww Snap”. Steez added a brisk and light energy to the stage and it was good to see both artists work the mic in a genre where “beef” usually separates artists.
At the end of the set, Nomad Carlos was applauded and he exited to an intermission with tracks from contemporaries Rick Ross and Fifty Cent providing the vibe for the crowd to intermingle. The host then introduced Five Steez and as quickly as he left, he re-entered the stage delivering “Yard Nigga Rap” and “Rebel Music” in fine style.
“Slaving on the Plantation” touched a relatable note and chord with the audience. I was appreciative as I think most that are in the fight to survive the corporate jungle / hustle, not necessarily happy but just to survive and “pay student loans”. Heads nodding and “woots” from the crowd signaled a warm reception.
Steez moved effortlessly through “Wanna be Free” and “Crown me King”. Synonymous with what little I have observed of him, on his grind, he made time, in between rhymes, to promote his album and that of the other merchandise available. With energy now in full gear, introductions came for the entrance of The Sickest Drama.
With explosive lyrics and potent content, he proved that he is a true veteran. To the new ears, The Sickest Drama delivered mature and expressive rhymes and definitely some of the “sickest” lyrics, leaving no doubt about his ability to get the audience to pay attention. In my book, an overall solid showing, he brought no drama but was on point as one of Yard Hop’s first pioneers.
With his exit came the entrance of the upcoming lyrical King Kabaka Pyramid. Kabaka P opened his set with the infamous rap infused; Equinoxx produced “King Kabaka (Run the Place) “to the delight of patrons.
Coming in hot, Kabaka continued with “The Sound”, “Rebel Music” and “Prophecy” "Betta Mus Come"(performed with Koro Fyah), mixing and infusing the roots reggae influence into his performance. This was a natural fit for the King and a perfect combination which added the extra shine to the puritanical Yard Hop evening. He also performed songs from his Transition Volume 1 and 2 albums which showcased his versatility and also early years in the music business.
Kabaka kept the crowd rocking till the wee hours of almost 2 am. His performance brought the curtains down on an accurate and proper evening of Yard Hop. The evening was filled to lyrical capacity with four of the best in business. I am sure those who were present, will agree in saluting these pioneers as they blaze the trail for authentic music. Give thanks to all the artists who made it special and represented Yard well. Live music is alive and well and isn’t it good to know.
Till next time, One love and always remember to give thanks.
Manifesting the Liberated “I”
So ones and ones, I begin here in this place, in this moment, on this paper, in this line, paragraph, and sentence and with this word: Liberation.
My now has become more important, than my yesterday and even my tomorrow.
This gift just keeps on giving, I tell you.
So this transformation continues and will continue as long as I breathe and seek and need to break the chains that held and still somewhat hold me captive.
My greatest liberating activity so far is freeing my thoughts. According to The Ten Mental Laws and The Power of the Mind by Barbara Berger, “Our thoughts are creating our reality”. Deeply I ponder the reality I’ve lived versus the one I was created for and should create.
My thoughts, just before I act, are so powerful; they are the key to the ignition of the vehicle to life that will move me on my journey forward. Though they have such power, my thoughts cannot change Absolute Reality, but they can affect the experience I have in this Absolute reality. Yea that just got deep; and I find myself awakening, rising and cultivating the newness of life.
So what will my thoughts manifest for me as I adjust my thinking and by extension my reality and my experience of this Life? I am on the way to finding out the answers to this. I already know I am free to think as I only can. So I have the master key to my possibilities. They do not belong in the hands of another soul.
So now I choose to focus on keeping my energy free from static, the interference of external activities, so I can hear myself breathe and just be. In the silence of the soul, my own voice becomes louder than brass and tinkling cymbal. I must listen and respond rightly.
And now that I am “overstanding” the power of my thoughts and that I am free to think, I am changing that thought process; not forgetting to observe the law of focus, which states that “whatever you focus your attention on grows” [The Ten Mental Laws]. So I focus on positive energy, in essence “cutting off ‘mi enemies’ energies” [KabakaPyramid]. If I never focus on a so called problem then the problem doesn’t exist, especially as a problem, no matter what anyone else says. So I am leaving behind all the things which will not benefit this journey and taking the building up of myself to the next level.
I want my soul, my mind, my love, my “thankhfulness”, my essence to grow. As W.E. Henley so poignantly wrote, “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul”.
I hope you will stay with me on the journey, as always it’s just love till more time.
Who am I?