I have come to the shocking reality that many of the sound industry’s veteran players have lost their touch. I say this not to be mean or insensitive to the fact that they have aged. Rather, I mention this in defense of today’s generation of sounds/selectors, who are often criticized by those who were ‘Kings’ of their craft.
Our recent staging of REEEWIND was a huge eye opener for me. What I realized was sad! Some, not all, of the industry’s greats don’t have a clue of what it takes to entertain today’s dancehall audience. They seem to be lost in their greatness and the past. Many of them either don’t remember their craft or are simply trying to perform like they are young. REEEWIND is a vintage affair! It’s staging is centered on honoring the industry’s icons and educating the younger generation on the basic essentials of dancehall culture. The event’s purpose is for ALL artists and/or selectors to play and perform like in the days of old, a rule that was broken by both Danny Dread of King Addies and Ilawi of Jah Love.
Neither of these two icons made an impact at this year’s event. Danny Dread, one of the industry’s most achieved selectors, brought the young members of King Addies on stage to help him play! Why!!? How did that give the patrons an understanding of why he is so famous? SMH! Danny Dread is noted as the selector who invented the live mix. He used to use the volume control on a sound to mix down the bass line of the riddim while the artist performed live. It enhanced the performance and gave the crowd a huge vibe. The impact of what he created was so powerful that selectors/sound owners still do it today. Would you believe that Danny Dread did not mix down one artist at REEEWIND? “KING” Yellowman and Michigan and Smiley performed live on Addies and he did NOT mix down one person. Instead, Addies played new music, which should not have been featured at a REEEWIND event. Danny Dread also allowed the young members of Addies to talk on the mic. Why?! People came to see the legendary Danny Dread. And what he did was a disappointment.
Ilawi of Jah Love ..smh! I thought he would have been more prepared for the REEEWIND stage! He missed REEEWIND two years ago due to illness. So, I really thought he was going to come hard, especially when he called and requested a set of turntables. I thought for sure he was going to give the massive some real hardcore Jah Love selections. Ilawi ended up playing less than 10 records total. His selections were all over the place. In fact, he played Jah Love’s theme song (“Warning”) twice…once in the first round then again in the second round..SMH! Sister Nancy performed on Jah Love and trust me, at one point I felt sorry for her. You could clearly see the disconnect between her and Ilawi. If Briggy never walked out on the stage when he did, poor Sister Nancy would have flopped because of how Ilawi was playing.
Many of you maybe willing to give our veterans a pass, but not me! David Rodigan is 60+ years old and he can still deliver. URoy is 72 years old and he can still deliver. The fact of the matter is some of our icons are living on their name alone. They are not practicing! They are not taking their careers seriously. All they are doing is sitting and waiting for promoters to book them and to be praised for what they contributed years ago. Please don’t view what I am saying as disrespectful because I love and respect our icons and vintage dancehall contributers. Danny Dread, Ilawi and others MUST be respected for their work. Never-the-less, I still think that any veteran/icon that is NO longer interested in presenting their craft the proper way should just stop doing shows. In the long run, failure to deliver great performances will only decrease their due respect.