From Mento to Lovers Rock: A BBC Documentary
This week, we’ve been very much enjoying a superb BBC Radio documentary about the history of reggae music. Hosted by Linton Kwesi Johnson, the extraordinary 10-part series starts at the very, very beginning: Episode one explores the earliest roots of reggae in slave culture and in the musics of Africa and Europe that traveled across to the Caribbean. From there, episode by episode, LKJ goes on to traverse mento, calypso, sound systems, ska, Rastafarianism, rocksteady, dub and more, with ample musical examples for each topic covered. Originally broadcast in 1983, these archived programs make for comprehensive (and delightful) listening.
The Sounds of Massive B
Since the 1980s, Brooklyn native Bobby Konders has been bringing Jamaican sounds to the mainstream airwaves (most notably on New York’s Hot 97), releasing records out of his Bedford-Stuyvesant apartment and touring the world with his Massive B Soundsystem. This week, he releases the first in a series of compilations that will highlight some of the greatest hits from Massive B’s 25+ year history. Bobby Konders Presents: Massive B Legacy Volume 1 features the likes of Sizzla, T.O.K. and Elephant Man, as well as Richie Spice’s mid-00s hit “Youths So Cold” (which some might recognize as the “Truth & Rights” riddim, originally made famous by Johnny Osbourne). Check out both tracks on our Spotify playlist.
A new(-ish) face on the scene who’s been in regular rotation here on the ATX Sound System over the past year, Shenseea is a burgeoning dancehall queen worth keeping an eye on. The Korean-Jamaican singer/rapper (real name Chinsea Lee) grew up in the island’s St. Elizabeth Parish and enjoyed her breakthrough in 2017 with the controversial Vybz Kartel collaboration “Loodi”. Since then, she’s appeared on tracks with Konshens, Sean Paul, Wayne Wonder and, most recently, Christina Aguilera. Wait, what? It’s true, the 23 year-old drops a verse on “Right Moves”, an easy skanking track on Aguilera’s latest Top 10 album. So maybe the word is already out. You can hear Shenseea’s latest single, “Trending Gyal”, on our Spotify playlist.