Charly Black – Gyal You A Party Animal

Picked up by Universal Music Group, the Trelawny General’s viral hit is now hitting mainstreet. Already up around 250 spins a week on mainstream US radio and growing at an impressive clip, “Party Animal” may fill the Dancehall void with some authenticity that the likes of Major Lazr, Rihanna and Bieber have been occupying with their version of the genre.

The phenomenal streaming, views and Shazam data has Universal salivating over the prospects for the party anthem, making it a priority at several of its imprints. This record was largely ignored in Jamaica, breaking in South and Central America before it started its current run in the US. Charly Black has also been ignored by Sumfest, despite promises of turning up the show’s international appeal. Not having the only Jamaican artist with a current record on commercial radio in the US and #1 in many South American countries on the flagship Jamaican stage show is just another symptom of the local industry focusing on the local hype. You are more likely to hear about Gully Bop’s love life in the Jamaican media than Charly Black’s bubbling crossover success.

As Summer opens across the US, hopefully Party Animal will be able to bring back the genuine sound of Jamaican music there and re-open the doors for others to follow through. Charly-Black One Sheet

 

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Juke Ross – Not A Blade Of Grass

For over 100 years Venezuela has tried to claim that a vast swathe of Guyana, an area west of the Essequibo River that is home to indigenous villages and mining camps, abundant with deposits of gold, diamonds, bauxite and other minerals, belongs within its borders. Last year tensions escalated once again after Exxon Mobil, conducting work on behalf of the Guyanese government, discovered oil off the shores of the disputed land; Venezuela tried to stake a claim to the oil.

During another border dispute flare up in the 1970s one of Guyana’s favourite musical sons – Dave Martins, was inspired by a Native American Chief’s speech refusing to bow to the white man’s invasion of their land and wrote a resistance song for his countrymen. It instantly connected with his people and became part of Guyanese folklore.

“The Chief spoke about his people’s love for their land,” recalls Dave Martins, leader of the legendary Tradewinds. “That they would not give up one river, not one buffalo, not one valley, not even one blade of grass. In a flash, it hit me; that was the way to write the border song – it should talk about Guyanese love for Guyana and not mention Venezuela at all.”

The lyrics are simply incredible. Beautifully crafted, defiant and relevant today to Guyana and just about anyone else who ain’t into backing down. Guyana has also produced another musical son – Juke Ross, who possesses a voice that God took special time to pour out when he was depositing the gold, diamond and oil in the depths of Guyana. The universe will undoubtedly be hearing a lot more from Juke Ross in the future, but until such time he has, with Dave Martins’ blessing, recorded a cover of Not A Blade Of Grass. The 2016 iteration sees Serani commanding the production and is being released in time for Guyana’s 50th Independence Anniversary. Fulljoy.

As Crazy As It Is – ZHU x A-Trak X Keznamdi

Reggae artiste Keznamdi has scored his first international collaboration, teaming with Grammy-nominated EDM artiste-producer Zhu, who is signed to Sony Columbia Records.

The song, As Crazy As It Is, is the next single from Zhu’s highly anticipated Generation Series project. It will be premiered on Jamaican radio today, with an international release on iTunes and other media outlets on Friday.

Zhu’s rapid rise to fame came last year with his Grammy-nominated hit single, Faded, which peaked at No. three on the United Kingdom pop charts and was a smash worldwide.

Keznamdi was drafted for the Genesis Series project after Zhu attended a scintillating performance by the young Jamaican in Los Angeles on Chronixx’s Dread and Terrible West Coast Tour earlier this year.

A month after the show, Sony flew Keznamdi and his team to Los Angeles, where he recorded songs with Zhu. As Crazy As It Is, featuring Keznamdi, is the second release from the Genesis Series project, following last week’s release of Zhu’s Automatic, featuring UK powerhouse act AlunaGeorge. It had the EDM blogosphere in a frenzy and racked up nearly 200,000 Soundcloud plays in 24 hours.

“It was an honour to work with Zhu and Sony Columbia Records on this track,” said Keznamdi.

“The synergy and chemistry working with a musical genius like Zhu felt natural. I am all about fusing reggae with other genres and am looking forward to this track doing big things and opening more doors for myself and the reggae genre in general.”

Keznamdi made his debut in 2013 with his critically acclaimed Bridging the Gap EP, which held top positions on the Billboard and iTunes reggae-album charts. The artiste has had a breakout year with performances on the Dread and Terrible West Coast Tour, UCLA Jazz and Reggae Festival, Best of the Best, and Reggae Sumfest 2015.

Keznamdi will be promoting the track with Zhu, while gearing up for the release of his next single, Champion, co-written by Justin Beiber’s writing partner and multi-platinum Grammy award-winning songwriter Poo Bear.