Dancehall DJs

Slackness Done

"I AND I COME FE CLEAN UP THE DANCEHALL . . ."

Since the mid 1990’s, Jamaicans and reggae fans the world over have been jamming to the dancehall beat which has become the predominate sound coming from the metamorphic denizens of Kingston. And as the music became more synthesized and lost the "live" drum and bass sound, a minimalist, stripped-down version of reggae became the riddim over which most DJs and singers would add their voice. Ushering in this new era were artists like Shabba Ranks, whose sexual bravado and rude boy mannerisms became the standard that many other artists emulated.

As dancehall grew in popularity, many more DJs were given the opportunity to voice the most popular rhythms of the day. The "Punanny" rhythm—created by Steelie and Cleevie—was used over 100 times as were "Pepperseed" and other hot rhythms getting reaction in Jamaican dancehalls. Many DJs chose to use lyrics which were disrespectful to women or advocated the "power of the gun" and there were others whose homophobic lyrics created a national controversy here in America. Like the rise of gansta rap here in America, it seemed that dancehall music would captivate its widest audience by relating to people’s more base emotions.

RAS Records has never embraced what we felt was music which did nothing to uplift people or that failed to impart a positive message. It has always been our goal to bring people music that portrays the positive spirit of reggae. We did attempt to shyly (I will admit) find some dancehall which we thought would fit into our overall concept of positive music and brought you releases by Sizzla, Capelton, and Tony Rebel, among others. We sat on the sidelines and watched as others put out music which was full of misogynist lyrics and which did nothing to address the more spiritual side of life.

But we are now tired of being passive observers. It is time to declare that slackness is done! It is time to clean up the dancehall and bring forth a positive message for the youth and grownups alike. We have recruited some positive role models who are soldiers in a new army coming to fight off the lame and crude music that has dominated reggae in the past. The Bobo Dread sect of Jamaica has made these brooms with the power to clean up all negative vibes. The riddims are hot, the lyrics are righteous. The message is clear: join us in this crusade where good shall triumph over evil! It’s been far too long that we have allowed ourselves to bathe in the wickedness of music that makes us conspirators to prejudice and hatred. Rise up!!!!!

Raspect,

Doctor Dread


 

Tony Rebel
Realms of Rebel
RAS-3263


Passion, soul, and fire from the torchbearer of positive dancehall vibes. 16 all—killer tracks!

Release date: April 24, 2001

 

Chaka Demus and Pliers
Help Them Lord
RAS-3262

After four years, the powerhouse return of the premier dancehall duo who brought you "Murder She Wrote."

Release date: April 24, 2001

 

Angie Angel
Life
RAS-3259


The debut full-length release from the Queen of Conscious Dancehall. Special appearance by Judy Mowatt on "Life."

Release date: May 8, 2001

 

This Is 
Crucial Reggae

Dancehall

06076-89927-2

Release date: July 13, 2004

 
 
 
 

 

April 25, 2001

 

Mr. Gary Himmelfarb
RAS Records
P.O. Box 42517
Washington, D.C. 20015

Dear Mr. Himmelfarb

          Thank you for the information you sent me on the project you have initiated to "clean up" reggae music.  I offer you my heartfelt congratulations and commendation on this effort.

          As you have observed, there is much to celebrate in the excellence of Jamaican music. I, of course share your view that we should seek more actively to highlight that aspect as one means of marginalizing the crude and offensive music, which has come to the fore in recent times.  Please be assured that the Embassy will assist where possible, in this regard.

          Again, congratulations and best wishes for success in this campaign.

 

 

 

 


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