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Pon Di Wire: Reggae Best Of’s, JBC Robbed, Beenie Sues, February Concerts

Several news sources are evaluating the year that was 2007. YardFlex, for instance, features a month-by-month shakedown of reggae news, including Beenie Man’s many ups and downs, a reggae concert protest by gay-rights advocates, Mavado being robbed in Toronto, and Jah Cure’s prison release. Meanwhile, the Observer ranks its top artists of 2007, with Busy Signal, Tarrus Riley, Mr. Vegas, and Queen Ifrica all receiving nods. The Observer also offers an astute 2007 Top Ten Comebacks appraisal, with Anthony B, Spice, and Ninjaman getting props.

Roots Archives has come out with its annual awards for best reggae reissue albums of the year. Kiddus I (who tours California soon with Earl Chinna Smith) won Best Vocal Album for Graduation In Zion on Dub Store, Pressure Sounds won for Best Record Company, and Trojan’s Apeology won Best Dub Album.

A significant Jamaican music archive at the former Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation (JBC) national facility was robbed last week. Thieves reportedly made off with 80 percent of the station’s LP and CD music library. Minister of Culture Olivia Grange remarked: "This archive was expected to be a core asset of the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica, which will be taking to the airwaves in the near future with a great variety of informational, educational, and culturally entertaining programs. Those who have committed this act have done violence to our deep cultural heritage.”

Mr. “One Blood,” Junior Reid, having been reborn in 2007 as a rap collaborator, is reportedly seeing American hip-hop diva Eve. The two were recently seen partying and dancing at clubs all over downtown Kingston.

Beenie Man and his new singer girlfriend Barbee have filed a suit against 876 Radio after it reported that Beenie Man had beaten Barbee because she refused to give him a threesome. The couple has since received an apology letter from the station management.

Sean Paul, Busy Signal, and Busta Rhymes have all collaborated on a soon-to-be-released single, “Serious,” produced by News, the son of Papa Michigan (from Michigan & Smiley).

Pon Di Wire’s Album of the Week is the Lloyd Campbell-produced compilation Chi Chi Bud, on Joe Frasier Records. Based on the classic Max Romeo song, the comp features major lovers rock and singers Marcia Griffiths, Freddie McGreggor, Roger Robin, Pam Hall, Lloyd Brown, Mikey Spice, and Tarrus Riley. Massive!

Americans won’t be the only ones to experience recession in 2008. Jamaicans have also seen prices rise on basic goods and foods, making it likely that they will spend less on entertainment. "Inflation has affected us heavily,” says promoter and music producer GT Taylor. “The money has to come from somewhere, and people's disposable income is limited." He says the cost of producing events has risen tremendously within the past couple of years, as things that would normally cost $500,000 now cost $800,000 or more. "We have to increase the admission now because we want to put on a professional event with good security and line-up," he says.

In concert news, Japan’s Mighty Crown Sound appears at L.A.’s Jamaica Gold on Sunday, February 3. The recent World Clash New York: Game Over cup winners are joined by residents DJs White Lightning, Alywad, Baby Ace, Black Gold, and special guests. The line-up for this year’s 27th Annual RaggaMuffins Festival/Tribute to Bob Marley has been announced. The show, which takes place Saturday and Sunday, February 16-17, in downtown Long Beach features Beenie Man, Capleton, Anthony B, Sly & Robbie, Roots Underground, Collie Buddz, Cherine Anderson, Alpha Blondy, Midnite, Sly & Robbie, Gregory Isaacs, Anthony B, Queen Ifrica, Gentleman, Tarrus Riley, Ed Robinson, The Aggrolites, and more.

Pictured Above: Beenie Man, Tarrus Riley, cover artwork for Chi Chi Bud.

New York Top Ten Albums & CDs
1. Tarrus Riley Parables (VP/Cannon)
2. Duane Stephenson From August Town (VP/Cannon)
3. Wayne Wonder Foreva (VP)
4. Mr. Vegas Hot It Up (Delicious Vinyl)
5. Riddim Driven: Guardian Angel (VP/Fresh Ear)
6. Sean Kingston Sean Kingston (Beluga Heights/Epic)
7. Luciano God Is Greater Than Man (Cousins)
8. The Biggest One Drop Anthems 2007 (Greensleeves)
9. Jah Cure True Reflections (VP/Danger Zone)
10. Collie Buddz Collie Buddz (Columbia)

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