As reported earlier this week on XLR8R, the U.S.’s VP Records will soon acquire the catalog and publishing of London’s stalwart, 30-year running Greensleeves label. With British label Blood & Fire inactive and Brit reggae distro company Jet Star in financial trouble, the move leaves only a handful of active U.K. imprints, including Mad Professor’s Ariwa, Auralux, and Pressure Sounds. Some reggae industry leaders expressed concern regarding the proposed media monopoly.
Chyna Doll Productions announced a new 90-minute DVD documentary titled Reggae Uncensored, which drops February 26 and promises to do for reggae what The Real World did for reality TV–namely, examine reggae culture via frank interviews and footage. A press released promised “sizzling performances strung together with generous portions of drugs, sex, and the inevitable passa passa.” The first of several episodes features Damian Marley, Sean Paul, Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Sizzla, Mavado, Collie Buddz, Aidonia, Macka Diamond, and many others.
New Caribbean social network Kingston P.O. has launched a dope reggae video channel, with wicked new flicks like Tami Chynn’s “Over & Over Again,” Mavado’s “Dreaming,” and Tarrus Riley’s “Beware.” Big sights!
Singer Jah Cure tops the list of nominees at the inaugural Reggae Academy Awards, to be held in Jamaica on February 24.
One of reggae music’s (and specifically Canadian reggae’s) rarest albums, Innocent Youths’ 1977 recording Earth, Roots & Water, will be reissued soon on Seattle’s Light In The Attic imprint. The virtually extinct album features Johnny Osbourne, Carl Dawkins, Adrian Homer Miller, and Bunny Brown (The Chosen Few), and will be available on digipak CD and vinyl, packaged with a foldout poster with the albums distinctive black and white cover graphics. The album includes “Jah Les’ Lament,” one of the heaviest '70s recordings ever.
On Friday January, 25 Oakland, CA reggae veteran DJ Common Sensi celebrated his 100th broadcast of his All-Spice online radio show on Big Up Radio.
Dancehall recording artist Esco has a new single collaboration with artist Fresh, titled “Dun Dem Credit,” on Seanizzle Records' Creepa Riddim, just released in Jamaica last week. Hear an audio sample at the Seanizzle space.
Dancehall superstar Shaggy performed his latest single, “What’s Love,” January 21 on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. In other news, singer Ali Campbell has left popular British reggae band UB40 after almost 30 years.
A press release from DJ, producer, and singer Michael "Mikey Dread" Campbell’s camp has news of his battle with a brain tumor. “Mikey continues in the recovering stages and is responding well to the chemotherapy treatments,” said announcement. Although Campbell is currently recovering from treatment, according to the statement, “he's eager to return to the stage to share his heartfelt appreciation to his fans.”
Pictured above: Michael "Mikey Dread" Campbell.
New York’s Top Five Reggae Singles
1. Queen Ifrica “Daddy” (No Doubt)
2. Sean Paul “Pick It Up & Drop It” (Birchill)
3. Pressure “Love And Affection” (Don Corleon)
4. Daville “Fling It Up Pon Me” (Birchill)
5. Etana “Roots” (Freemind)