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Pon Di Wire: King Jammy, Beenie Man

Internationally known reggae archivist, author, and Bob Marley expert Roger “Rojah” Stephens has been unable to find a permanent home in Jamaica for his historical reggae artifacts. The collection includes some 9,000 reggae records, including autographed copies, thousands of reggae, ska, and rocksteady CDs, countless hours of videos, DVD, and cassette tape recordings, magazine clippings, stickers, posters, and more. Stephens was hoping to get a seven-figure sum for his collection, but hasn’t found an interested public or private Jamaican entity; he is now taking offers from international bidders.

It wouldn’t be a new week without a new Beenie Man rumor. This time, the popular DJ is borrowing a page out of Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin's life with the news that his 17-year old daughter is pregnant. The artist has not commented on the matter, which remains unsubstantiated, however, if true, the 35-year old entertainer would be a first-time grandfather.

Soul Jazz Records will release a DVD version in November of the long awaited reggae documentary, Dub Echoes, by Brazilian director Bruno Natal. The film chronicles the innovative Jamaican sound and features key artists, inlcuding U Roy, King Jammy, Lee Perry, Sly Dunbar, Bunny Lee, and more. Watch a trailer at United Reggae.

It’s not only male DJs that end up lyrically clashing. With a new generation of excellent female emcees on the scene, it was only a matter of time before a brouhaha broke out. According to one source, DJs Spice and Queen Paula have been trading barbs. Of the matter, Paula remarked to the Star News, "The war is on and mi ready lyrically."

A group of devout Rastafarians in Montego Bay, Jamaica has developed a new community, called the Rasta Indigenous Village, to educate visitors on their beliefs and lifestyle. While education on Rasta ideology and “levity” will be central to the visitor experience, the community will also offer clothing, accessories, aromatherapy, herbal goods, and other items promoting healthy living.

VP Records has signed digital reggae originator Lloyd “King Jammy” James to an exclusive online and mobile distribution contract. The two parties have several releases planned that will delve into the producer’s vast archives. “After almost 30 years of making music, I thought it was time to look at my vaults and release some of the music I have made over the years,” said James. “I found music that I did not even remember recording! Fans can expect a huge and varied selection, from lost dub tapes to unreleased albums, by legends like Frankie Paul, Gregory Isaacs, and Dennis Brown, to name a few.”

In other VP news, the label has also signed the next album by cultural DJ Queen Ifrica. Her follow up to her popular Fyah Muma (Flames) album will drop in early 2009.

The end of the year brings a slew of “Best Of” comps in coming weeks. Greensleeves popular Biggest One Drop Anthems series for 2008 drops October 21, featuring Morgan Heritage’s “Nothing To Smile About,” Sizzla’s “Crucial Time,” and Duane Stephenson’s “August Town,” plus new songs by Collie Buddz, Roman Virgo, and Richie Spice. In November, Strictly The Best Volume’s 39 and 40 will showcase the year’s top chart hits.


Jamacia’s Top 10 Reggae Singles
1. Noddy Virtue & Jodi-Ann Pantry “Bed Of Roses” (Reflection)
2. Leroy Smart “One of a Kind” (WWS)
3. Morgan Heritage “Nothing To Smile Bout” (No Doubt)
4. I-Octane “Different Page” (Rated R/Arrows)
5. Queen Ifrica “Keep It To Yourself” (Don Corleon)
6. Cecile “Ride or Die” (SOBE/Dangerzone)
7. Etana “I Am Not Afraid” (No Doubt)
8. Tony Anthony “Yuh Nuh Simple” (B-CRISSAS)
9. Patriot “Looking For Love” (Hill Side)
10. George Nooks “Rest Your Love on Me” (Tad's Int'l)

Pictured: Beenie Man.

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