“My Life: Rastafari”
I’m excited about this new song because of the different mixture of sounds that bring a new vibe to my music that’s different from what I normally do. This song comes from traditional reggae, blended with sounds from hip hop and dubstep that give it a modern fresh feeling.
Dancehall music today
The reputation of dancehall is struggling because of the lewd lyrics playing on the radio in Jamaica. It has drawn the attention of Lisa Hannah, a member of the Jamaican Parliament, who recently received death threats after she said that Vybez Kartel’s lyrics should be banned from the airwaves because they’re creating violence in Jamaica.
I don’t think government should intervene in artists’ work, because it’s like dictatorship. Music should be free and a man should express himself in any way he wants to. Of course, some can express themselves more intelligently than others. Dennis Brown for example; his lyrics bring forth a message of love without saying anything derogatory.
What I think the Jamaican government should do is invest in music education and setup international distribution platforms for Jamaican music. We need workshops where artists can learn more creative ways of expressing their ideas and learn to play a wide variety of instruments.
As a Rastaman, I lean more on the conscious side of things, so I’m not the biggest fan of all the new Jamaican dancehall lyrics right now, but I’m not condemning anyone.
Even though people might say Vybez Kartel’s lyrics are derogatory and lewd, it is how the inner-city people talk in Jamaica, and that’s why his music speaks to them.
The Jamaican government may be trying to kill dancehall because of the rude lyrics, but what’s happening internationally is actually pretty exciting. If we as a Jamaican people can clean up our lyrics a little bit, our music can go a lot farther, like Rihanna.
Where does dancehall come from?
In 1962, when Jamaica got independence from Great Britain, the people were happy. That was when ska music was running the place – it was fast and happy. Later people realized nothing had improved; they still faced the problems and the poverty the same way. That’s when the music slowed down and the lyrics became more conscious. They were facing the truth in the music and looking for a way to real change.
Then came dub and dub-step – the more instrumental version of reggae that can put you in a meditative trance.
In more recent times, dancehall emerged. And the youth love it nowadays –obviously the dancehall sound is getting more and more international. So many big hits, like Magic’s “Rude” and Rihanna and Drake’s “Work” make great use of dancehall music.
So reggae keeps changing through the times, but you can always recognize the reggae vibe inside of everything it touches.
“My Life: Rastafari”
This song came from collaborating with Brandan Gabany and Shane Harrington, a couple of talented American guys who are used to a very modern hiphop sound. I was hanging out at their little home studio. They played me a kind of hiphop-sounding beat they had just laid down.
I picked up their acoustic guitar and started to play along. The lyrics naturally began to emerge with the help of another brethren who was there. Bouncing ideas off each other, we came up with some nice lyrics. We all were vibing and having fun, just enjoying the creative energy.
A few months went by and I had almost forgotten about “My Life: Rastafari.” I came back to their studio and they played it for me. It had such a great sound and energy I decided we had to finish it up so here we are.
Something I’ve learned from studying the history of reggae is that when it’s mixed with other genres, it can make magic.
Take, for example, Bob Marley and the Wailers in the 70s. It was the era of disco and the Bee Gees were dominating the sound. As the genius that he was, Bob combined his reggae rhythm with the disco flavor that was so popular at that time to create “Could You Be Loved.” The conscious message in his lyrics transcended everything and still touches people’s hearts.
With “My Life: Rastafari” we’re bringing together old-school reggae, hiphop and dub. I want to make people dance and still learn something from more conscious lyrics than you normally would hear in dancehall right now.
“My Life: Rastafari” by Demo Delgado is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Posted on: November 1, 2017, by : DemoDelgado